Preface. Before I started my PhD in computational biology in 2005, I had never even heard of this term. Now, almost four years later, I think I have some idea of what is meant by it. One of the goals of my PhD was to explore different topics within computational biology and to see where the biggest opportunities for discrete/combinatorial mathematicians could be found. Roughly speaking, the first two years of my PhD I focussed mainly on problems related to haplotyping and genome rearrangements and the last two years on phylogenetic networks. I must say I really enjoyed learning so much about both mathematics and biology. It was especially amazing to learn how exact, theoretical mathematics can be used to solve complex, practical problems from biology. The topics I studied clearly show how extremely useful mathematics can be for biology. But I also learned that there are many more interesting topics in computational biology than the ones that I could study so far. The number of opportunities for discrete mathematicians is absolutely immense. I did not include my studies on genome rearrangements in this thesis, because my most interesting results [Hur07a; Hur07b] are not directly related to biology. This work is nevertheless interesting to mathematicians and I recommend them to read it. I can certainly conclude that also in this field there is a vast number of opportunities for mathematicians and that the topic genome rearrangements provides numerous beautiful mathematical problems. I could never have written this thesis without a great amount of help from many different people. I want to thank my supervisors Leen Stougie and Judith Keijsper for guiding me, for helping me, for correcting my mistakes, for supplying ideas and for the enjoyable time I had while working with them. I also want to thank the Dutch BSIK/BRICKS project for funding my research and Gerhard Woeginger for giving me the opportunity to work in his group and being my second promotor. I want to thank Jens Stoye and Julia Zakotnik for the work we did together and for the great time I had in Bielefeld. I want to thank Ferry Hagen and Teun Boekhout for helping me to make my work relevant for "real" biology. I also want to thank John Tromp, Rudi Cilibrasi, Cor Hurkens and all others I worked with during my PhD. I want to thank Erik de Vink and Mike Steel for reading and commenting my thesis. I want to thank my colleagues from the Combinatorial Optimisation group at the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven for the pleasant working conditions and the fun things we did besides work. I especially want to thank Matthias Mnich, not only a great colleague but also a good friend, for all his ideas, his humour and our good and fruitful cooperation. I also want to thank Steven Kelk. I must say that I was very lucky to work with Steven during my PhD. He introduced me to problems, had an enormous amount of ideas, found the critical mistakes in my proofs and made my PhD a success both in terms of results and in terms of enjoying work. Finally, I want to thank Conno Hendriksen and Bas Heideveld for assisting me during my PhD defence and I want to thank them and all my other friends and family for helping me with everything in my life but research.
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Award date||29 Jan 2009|
|Place of Publication||Eindhoven|
|Publication status||Published - 2009|