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R-Lab#6: Personalized medicine and TFD

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• What we'll do
Hello, R-users!
Here we are with our next R-Lab! As you may remember, our last R-Lab focused on the creation of an app that we left unfinished. In this R-Lab#6 we will bring that app to a conclusion!

For those of you who don’t remember, the app was about “personalized medicine” - which is to say, the automatic calculation of the risks of some illnesses using personal data. All of the theoretical part was explained by Riccardo Rossi, a computational biologist and bioinformatics facility manager at INGM (Istituto Nazionale Genetica Molecolare) in Milan. The algorithms that we based our work on are already used by the World Health Organization; our job was to turn them into an easy and handy web-app.

This time, we thought of continuing the work while learning something new: I’m talking about Test First Development! Which is to say, how to use tests to improve our coding skills.
The Test First Development (TFD) is a programming technique that involves writing the test first and then the implementation. The development through tests is a well-established methodology in the field of software engineering because it allows:

1. code validation: simple working examples validate the real functionality of the code;
2. avoid regressions in the code functionality: the automatic tests are run frequently and always check all the tested features of the code;
3. refactoring: modifying the working code to improve its readability. This is possible because the code can be changed with the peace of mind that it still gives the right output. This provides the reusability of the that code;
4. working documentation: tests are example of the usage of functions, so that they are a working documentation of the low-level functionalities of the code.

In this R-Lab we will use an introductory version in order to allow groups to develop independently and to write code that works when merged.

So we will use these tests for the development of the algorithms and the shiny app itself. The algorithms were focused on risks of obesity, type two diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular health, so after turning them into functions with the help of Andrea Melloncelli we divided into five groups: one for each algorithms and a special one working with the Shiny app.

What we need now is the finalization of the app! If you took part in the R-lab#5, you’re welcome to join! If you didn’t… you’re welcome too! You can give a hand even if you didn’t work in this app before, and it could be a good occasion to learn about Test First Development. We need all the help we can get! Remember that the event will be in Italian.

* Agenda
19:00 Meeting at Mikamai
- how to use TFD into R coding
- working in team
- pizza and coding
22:00 Bye bye and see you soon

* Goals:
- Discovering more about TFD
- Creating a shiny app that shows the risks of some illness in an interactive way
- Having fun!

• What to bring
Be sure to bring your own computer, possibly with the latest version of R and RStudio.

• Important to know
The whole event will be in Italian. No need to be an R expert to participate; everyone is welcome to join!
Via Giulio e Corrado Venini, 42 · Milano, MI
Come trovarci

The doorbell is Mikamai: when you enter, go straight, cross the inner courtyard of the building, you will face a metal door with a sheet with Mikamai written. The office is the last (and only) floor.

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