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Carbon Emissions Reporting in Galaxy

11 July 2023

I recently wrote a blog post about a carbon emissions reporting feature I built for Galaxy which can be found over here.

Galaxy is basically an open-source web-based platform for bio-informatic research. It gives users easy access to all sorts of bio-informatic tools and allows them to run custom computational workflows in the cloud such as RNA sequencing and metagenomic analysis. I’m no biologist myself, so a basic crash course was necessary. Thankfully there’s a bunch of learning material which gives a pretty awesome introduction to Galaxy.

I’m really happy about how this was this was my first ever open-source contribution of this scale. This whole thing was actually for a university project, but I pretty much ignored that and focussed on building out the best feature I could. As of today (11 July 2023), Galaxy is a 17 year old monolith code base, which is something I’ve never worked on before. I enjoyed learning about how such a large system works by breaking and eventually extending it.

Green computing is something I never really thought about until working on this feature and is something I’ll definitely take into consideration for the future. When reading up about Bitcoin’s energy usage, you get a real sense of how much energy the Internet uses - the cloud isn’t free! Please feel free to experiment with Galaxy and test out the feature for yourself.