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My career began in the early 1990s, when computers were just a convenience in the biological sciences. Now, they’re an indispensable tool of discovery. The final year of my PhD in plant genetics, in 2000, saw the publication of the first complete plant genome, and the sudden availability of a trove of information that could be accessed only through a computer terminal. I wasn’t familiar with the term ‘bioinformatics’ at the time, but the idea that computers were essential for extracting useful information from large data sets was taking hold.