02 April 2012

An Idea for the EOL Phylogenetic Tree Challenge

Earlier this year, the Encyclopedia of Life announced the EOL Phylogenetic Tree Challenge. The goal: to produce "a very large, phylogenetically-organized set of scientific names suitable for ingestion into the Encyclopedia of Life as an alternate browsing hierarchy". The prize: an all-expenses-paid trip to iEvoBio 2012 in Ottawa!

This interested me greatly, because:

  1. It's exactly the sort of thing I'm working on for PhyloPic.
  2. I can't really justify paying for a trip to iEvoBio this year. (Phyloinformatics is my hobby, not my profession!)
After reading Rod Page's thoughts on the challenge, I came up with a basic idea, and started to implement it. Unfortunately, now that we're two weeks from the deadline, I'm realizing that:
  1. I do not have the time to complete it.
  2. Even if it were paid for, I can't justify a trip on my own out of town right now.
Why not? Simply put, this.

So, instead, I'm going to outline the general approach I was going to take, and if someone else wants to run with it, knock yourself out. (Just give me partial credit.)