Skip to main content


CSC8321 : Computing for Digital Biology

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Pawel Widera
  • Owning School: Computing
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System


The module provides an elementary introduction to important topics in computing science that are relevant for biological data analysis and software development, including: Computer Architecture, Data Representation and Storage, Operating Systems and VIrtual Machines, Command Line and REPL Environment.

Outline Of Syllabus

Relationship between Biology and Computing,
Introduction to computer architecture and CPU/memory/disk/network bounds on computation,
Structured and unstructured data storage formats and databases
GNU/Linux operating system,
Bash shell and scripting,
Virtual machines and containers,
Scientific writing with LaTeX.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials81:3012:00Asynchronous online materials
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture81:008:00Synchronous present-in-person sessions.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion124:0024:00Assessment preparation and completion
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion46:0024:00Lecture follow-up, including time for practical exercises
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery42:008:00Synchronous present-in-person sessions.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study46:0024:00Background reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will be used to introduce the learning material and for demonstrating the key concepts by example. Students are expected to prepare for lectures using asynchronous online material and to follow-up lectures within a few days by re-reading and annotating lecture notes to aid deep learning.

Students are expected to spend time on coursework outside timetabled practical classes.

Students aiming for 1st class marks are expected to widen their knowledge beyond the content of lecture notes through background reading.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M100A written report demonstrating understanding of the theory and computational technologies behind biological data organization.
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Prob solv exercises1MA short piece of writing on biological data organisation. Equivalent to 500 words.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Assessment consists of a single piece of academic writing. The written report assesses the student’s understanding of the theory of computational technologies for digital biology, as delivered in the lecture material of the module. A formative writing exercise is provided to help students gauge their performance against teaching expectations.

Reading Lists