Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Phylogenetic Tree Challenge in Encyclopedia Of Life

 The Encyclopedia of Life initiative aims at providing an open, digital resource providing comprehensive information about the diversity of life. It has recently opened a call for teams that can provide a phylogeny-aware organization of as many scientific names as possible. This text is from the call:

A prize is offered to the individual or team that can provide a very large, phylogenetically-organized set(s) of scientific names suitable for ingestion into the Encyclopedia of Life as an alternate browsing hierarchy.  


Among other factors, the total number of uniquely named nodes, node/leaf ratios and tree height may be used to compare entries so contestants should consider how they wish to trade off strict consensus versus other methods of reflecting the state of phylogenetic knowledge.
Problems to solve include 1) how to assign labels to unnamed nodes, 2) how to fill in gaps so that the set of taxa included is as comprehensive as possible, even if trees are not fully resolved or all taxa have not been analyzed, 3) how to handle competing hypotheses, 4) how to update the hierarchy at least annually.  
The winning submission must be available to EOL and others under an acceptable CC license if it is under copyright.  The tree need not be previously published in peer-reviewed form.
 and more information is available here.


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