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Justin Beyer :: Blog

June 25, 2008

I work at the Nexus 2 building at BSC, I cannot upload pictures to the blog for some reason so HERE is where you can go to find the pictures of Spain and the last 4 in the album are of where I work and the people who work around me.  I do not work with anyone in particular, the office is filled with people working with DNA and protein strains in graphical programs.  I will try to post a few more tomorrow of my professor and the outside of the building.

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June 23, 2008

We decided to make the most of our free time and travel to places that would be almost intangible otherwise.  This weekend we went to Italy and walked the streets of Rome, Pompei, and Naples.  Rome is fascinating and seeing sites like the colliseum up close is truly larger than life.  Pompei is a city that was leveled in 79 AD and accidently discovered in the 18th century.   It was a hike and with many hours of walking we scoured every inch of the ruins and found some of the most intriguing corridors and homes of old.  Naples left much to be desired, we walked for about 3-4 hours and found only beaches with no sand but boulders 1-2 meters in diameter.  There was some 2000 year old castles but we could not enter them.  THe pictures are HERE on my web album if you would like to take a peak.  Included are pictures of the colliseum, ruins of Rome, the ruins of Pompei, and some pictures of the beaches in Naples.



Keywords: Barcelona, Beyer, Italy, Justin

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June 10, 2008

Sorry I haven't been updating lately, I have been feeling a little under the weather. Marlon and I made it to the bullfight last week, it is something that I am glad I saw but after seeing it, I do not think I will go back.  If you are not familiar with bullfighting, they kill the bull after the match.  It seems quite cruel, but after seeing so many people coming together, men, women, old and young, I realized this has been a tradition and part of Spain’s culture for hundreds of years.  I have opened a separate web album here, please note that there is some gore and do not open if you may be offended by it,  parental discretion is advised.

 My project has slowed to a crawl, I am learning so much but being able to apply it has become a much more difficult task.  My spirits are high and I love living here, the culture is so respectable, and family oriented.  I have seen countless times a daughter with mother in hand walking down the street; the mothers must have been 80-90 years of age.  They would laugh and point at the interesting sites; it is very heartwarming and should be seen more throughout the world.

For activities, I have found going to local pubs and places for tapas, or appetizers to be very rewarding.  It is intimidating to go by yourself to these places given the language barrier, but you soon learn to appreciate the people and cultural differences that are all around you.

One note for future travels through this program, I know we are the first group and are proverbial guinea pigs, but some issues and pointer I think should be addressed.  The apartment is very nice and we were fortunate enough to have a lot of the basic necessities such as silver and dining ware, bedding, and a washing machine.  My bed is in very poor shape, and has not allowed me to sleep well since I have been here.  I also purchased a fan which is a good idea if the weather or your room is stuffy.  Towels are not to be assumed to be included in the apartment.  If you have a favorite pack it, if not you can buy it here of course.  Also, pay attention to the dialects of the country you will be visiting.  Here in Barcelona, they speak Catalan, a variation of Spanish with many different words and enunciations.  Finally, do some research on your project before you leave, I cannot stress this enough.  I find the others moving along at a great pace and I applaud them for it, but for me I made the mistake of waiting until I got here to find out what I needed to know.

That is all for now, I hope future travelers can learn from us trailblazers and have a productive and safe trip, not to mention have the time of your life doing so.


Keywords: barcelona, beyer, justin, spain

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May 25, 2008

Lots of stormy days, not much rain but clouds and sprinkles.  We went to Montjuic which is a very impressive fortress on the coast of Barcelona.  I have updated my web album so please go HERE to see the pictures.  The fortress is huge and the views are nothing short of incredible.  The museum inside is littered with every type of military memoribilia imaginable.  We also went to the Olympic stadium, Barcelona hosted the Olympics in 92'.  It was very well kept and the stadium looked Roman in many ways. 

 Today we tried to go see a bullfight but it was canceled, they wouldn't tell me why but another day maybe.  I have been trying to save my money and go to the market whenever possible, outside of going to a nice resturant on the weekends.  

 My project has been going well, I have had some troubles learning this new type of programming but I am picking up on it, I think.

 This trip is absolutely amazing, and there is so much more to come.

 Till next time.


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May 21, 2008



This is where all my photos will be for the trip, upload speeds are quite slow for our flat, so please check here for pics of spain.

 Sorry for the big post, without the internet and troubles connecting at teh university, I had a little saved up.  I will keep it shorter from here on out.



Day 1-We arrived with a lot of turbulence due to the foggy weather but after running on no sleep for 24hrs it was kind of relaxing. He were met by a nice gentleman named Ivan, he showed us around and circled many areas on the map of Barcelona that proved to be quite useful.  He marked places to avoid, the nightlife, the beaches, and the tourist spots.  After Ivan said farewell, we walked to the metro with him and after he departed found ourselves in a flurry of Barcelona activity. Pubs or cervzerias on most every corner were temping but sleep for tonight.

Day 2- Lots of exercise, we took the metro to the university polytechnic studies and were soon acquainted to where and with whom we will be working with.  I was invited to lunch by Dmitry, a soon to be friend of mine from Russia.  It is great to experience simple pleasures, just listening to the conversations and see what you can interpret from them, trying new foods and using sparse phrases to be self-sufficient.   The university is very modern, we each received keycards for access to select rooms and only those rooms.  Security is very high and to even see the supercomputer, Norestrom, you need written and confirmed approval.  Afterwards we went to Colon, and saw the statue of Columbus.  Walked around a lot and strolled Las Ramblas, the go to place in Barcelona which leads up to the center of the city. I am very happy here and seem to be adapting well, I find that in life to be happy and encounter many different situations will make you and those around you feel right at home.

Day 3- Slept till 5pm, still getting adjusted and since it is Friday, many were up and making a lot of noise.  I took a walk by myself to get acquainted with the surrounding and nearby cafes, streets, and cervezerias.  We went back to Las Ramblas and tried to find a Bar that some American girls mentioned, Bar Crawl, well their directions, or our path finding skills were not very good and we never found it.  Back home for some sleep and planning.

Day 4- We hit a lot of the tourist hotspots today; first up was La Sagrada de Familia, truly a masterpiece in the making.  The first brick was laid in 1882, it is still very much under construction today.  Cranes and scaffolding are plentiful but the stained glass and large tree like arches are amazing. After that we walked to La Padrera, the first house Gaudi built. Everything in his work is related to nature, the curves and mosaic at La Padrera easily reminded me of the waves and the sea, the house was also meant to be an apartment complex, with many early twentieth century furnishings throughout.  The view from the rooftop let you see La Segrada Familia, and realize how gigantic it is to the surrounding buildings.  Last up was the Park Guell, I think this will be hard to top as far as architecture and views go.  The walk up to the hill was long and arduous, but once on top the breeze and view were breathtaking.  The pathways were a maze between the almost secret areas open to anyone who can find them.  The famed benches were quite comfortable and the whole place was beaming with young and old alike.  Street performers were welcomed for me as they played the trumpet and violin to create an ambience for the architecture.  One performer after I gave him a euro, let me play his trumpet, I WAS HORRIBLE, I couldn’t stop laughing and people were looking to see where this hideous sound was coming from, but it was fun and I will never forget it.  There are stone archways often depicted in postcards and on the internet if you look up Guell, they were gothic in design and you were allowed to walk through and on them.  It was a big day today, back to school tomorrow. 

Day 5-6 Not much for the past few days, I went to the University Wed. and Thurs. to work on the project, we have finally had the internet installed and are able to check email and keep up with the blog.  I wont bore you with the plain stuff, trips to the supermercado or grocery store, metro to and from the university the usual and almost passive activities already for me.  I wnet to some of pubs/ coffee houses yesterday, they are very quaint and the people are very accomidating.


Keywords: barcelona, beyer, justin, pire, spain

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March 20, 2008

Student Name: Justin Beyer


Supervisor’s Name and Title at FIU/FAU: Xingquan Zhu


Name of the PIRE International Partner’s Institution: BSC


Supervisor’s Name and Title at the PIRE International Partner’s Institution:

Dr. Josep Lluis Gelpi @ Barcelona Supercomputing Center


Project Title: Gene Selection for Cancer Classification


Problem Statement: The purpose of this project is to use data mining tools to select a set of important genes for cancer classification.


Motivation and Impact: Gene expression data provides important information for scientists to study cancer tissues and classify important genes associated to different types of cancers. Because micro-array experiments usually produce a large number of genes (e.g., more than 10,000 genes) based on a very limited number of tissue samples (e.g., less than 100 samples), screening genes and finding important ones associated to the diseases becomes a huge burden for the scientists. This research intends to use a set of data mining tools to discover a small subset of genes related to the disease tissues, and further uses of the selected genes to build machine learning classifiers to automatically predict whether an input tissue is diseased or not, as well as the likelihood of the tissue belonging to a certain type of cancer.      


Current Status: We are currently using existing data mining tools to investigate a set of collected gene expression data, which include samples from breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer. We will identify a set of genes associated to each particular cancer and further combine domain knowledge to refine the gene selection process.


Research Roadmap:

Week 1-2: Using existing data mining tools and feature selection methods to select a number of genes for each particular caner.

Week 3-4: Determining the most effective tools for gene selection, and further validating the effectiveness of the selected genes in supporting cancer classification.

Week 5-6: Combining domain knowledge to refine the gene selection results

Week 7-8: Comparatively study the improvement of the gene selection for cancer classification, and investigate the gene interactions related to different types of cancers.

Week 9-12: Technical report.


Relation to PIRE Core Research Projects: One important goal of the PIRE project is to leverage the computing resources (e.g. LA grid) and boost international cooperation for Bioinformatics related research activities. This research will bring experts from FAU and Barcelona Supercomputing Center to carry out research collaboration on molecular biology and bioinformatics related research topics.


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