So, after a couple of years off, I’m back to writing a blog again :). After leaving the OpenSimulator project and the area of virtual worlds in general, I badly needed a break. In that period, we had some tremendous successes, not least running multiple conferences with 400+ attendees and coming up with the Hypergrid architecture for building a working Internet-scale distributed virtual world. But it was also tremendously draining, sometimes I felt I spent most of those many years in an endless grind of bug-fixing, and despite Gartner predicting that 80% of active Internet users would have an avatar in a virtual world by 2011, things didn’t quite pan out that way.
Of course, my idea of a break was to throw myself into another area :). I’ve always been interested in genomics and related topics; being a thorough-going materialist, biology was, in a sense, just another information system to me, albeit one which was vastly more complicated and less tweakable than software. So when a job came up on Stack Overflow working on open-source data integration in synthetic biology at the University of Cambridge in the UK with the InterMine project, I leapt at it and made the move.