Serious Fun With Scala





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Published on Jan 4, 2016

The power of Scala keeps showing up in expected--and unexpected--places. In this talk, I will share how I used Scala in bioinformatics, neuroscience, online games, mobile applications, and desktop applications.
In bioinformatics, the beauty of Scala really shines. Thanks to the abstraction in the Scala collection framework, creating collection types for DNA, RNA, and Protein Chains is super easy. With the proper collections at my disposal, I was able to implement algorithms such as Sequence Alignment, Genome Assembly, and Gibbs Sampling by focusing on the core ideas of the algorithm and not on the nitty-gritty details. On the top of it, Scala makes dynamic programming, which is fundamental in many bioinformatics algorithms, easy to implement and understand.
Last year, I talked about using brainwaves to play games. Since then, I have taken things up a notch and started working to solve more practical problems such as maintaining attention while performing tasks (something that my age group suffers from a lot). This exposed me to a whole new and exciting world of Digital Signal Processing. This project benefited a lot from Reactive programming techniques in cleaning my code and making it more reliable.
Not to be outdone by the serious work of algorithms, I took the desktop version of Collidium and converted it to an online HTML5 Game using Scala.js. I have also improved my Android game, Wordsteal. I even used Scala with Swing to save a few bucks for our budget-starved Student Store by creating a simple cash register application.
In this talk, I will share many interesting techniques I learned and convey why I continue to be a huge fan of Scala. See you there!

Shadaj Laddad
Shadaj loves to program. He has programmed in Ruby, Python, C, Java, Javascript, and Scala—his favorite. Shadaj hosts his projects on GitHub, and has a channel on Youtube. He has presented at OSCON 2014, Scala Days (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015), and the Bay Area Scala Enthusiast group showing his Scala projects. Besides programming, he likes Math and Science. He has interned at Coursera working with technologies such as Play! Framework and Scala.js. In addition, he is also an active member of his school community and has been Student Body President. Shadaj loves spreading his love of technology and started TechTalks—a program that brings guest speakers to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with students at his school. When not doing his school work or programming, he plays the sitar, and games, some of which he created.


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