BIRCH - A portable and comprehensive bioinformatics platform

Brian Fristensky1, University of Manitoba

BIRCH is a platform for bioinformatics designed for a network-centric computing environment. The core distribution of BIRCH includes software for analysis of DNA, protein, and molecular marker data. Most applications are accessible throughout the GDE graphic interface. At the same time, BIRCH is a general purpose framework into which almost any applications or databases can be integrated. Although originally created for the molecular biology community at the University of Manitoba, BIRCH has been reorganized for easy installation on other institutional Unix systems. Important features include:

Ideally, BIRCH is installed on a system with comprehensive desktop and office applications. The result is a seamless integration of specialized bioinformatics capabilities with routine office tasks on a single desktop. In contrast, Web-based applications are comparatively awkward to use and are intractable to the automation needed in large genomics projects. Because BIRCH is network-centric, any user can do any task from anywhere on the Internet. The network-centric model drastically simplifies system administration and lowers costs, compared to comparable systems using personal computers.

BIRCH Web site: