Frequently Asked Questions

What is Computational Biology?

It is the field of studying biology by using computers. It involves, for example, computer simulation of biological systems, involved computer processing of biological data (images, sequences, …), and other problems motivated by biology.

It is not computation inspired by biological models or computation by means of biological systems (DNA-based computation). Those are both separate fields.

Is Pedro Your Middle Name or Part of Your Surname?

Neither, it is part of my given name. “Luis Pedro” is my given name and “Coelho” is my last name.

In some online applications which do not allow spaces in First Names, I just hyphenate: Luis-Pedro Coelho, but it is not the natural way to write it. Last time I was in Canada, the custom’s form had two fields: First Given Name and Second Given Name. This is probably because many French names are similar (Jean-Paul, Jean-Pierre,…).

What Does Your Mother Call You?

It’s none of your business.

This is a too frequently asked question and I find it a somewhat personal question that people feel free to ask even when they are not on very close terms with me.

I’m Going to Lisbon. What should I see?

From Chiado, theres’s a trolley, the 28, which goes down into downtown, then back up to the castle area, and across to Graça. This is definitely worth doing, either on the trolley, on foot following the trolley route, or any combination of both.

The trolley goes through the castle area, but you have to get off and walk a couple of minutes to the actual castle (which you don’t see from the trolley—most trolley drivers will shout out “Castle” at the appropriate stop, but not all of them do this). This is very much a ride of city vistas (Lisbon is very much a city of having coffee/beer overlooking the city and the river, particularly in Spring and Fall—when it’s nice, but not yet too hot).

Do be careful, the 28 is notorious for pick-pockets (I used to ride it all the time as I lived in Graça and never had any problems, but I don’t really looked like a tourist either).

If you want to do a day outside the city, you can go to Sintra. That is the typical day-trip from Lisbon. I personally prefer Évora as Sintra comes across to me as too much as Disneyland. You’ll need to rent a car, but then you can drive to Évora, see the city, including the Capela dos Ossos, eat at some of the nice restaurants (you can’t really get decent traditional Portuguese food in Lisbon anymore, it’s either not great or too modern [which is fine, but if you want to try the more traditional stuff, get outside the city]). Then the whole region is a wine region , so you can drive around, see the vineyards, the small towns, &c. It’s a lovely part of Europe. I recommend you take the highway from Lisbon to Évora without stopping on the way there and, then, if you feel like it you can drive back through the smaller roads. If you have more time, and want to spend a night in the middle of Alentejo, you can drive diagonally down to Sines and then back up to Lisbon, stopping at places like Reguengos de Monsaraz, Aljustrel, Aljezur, Sesimbra… In the summer, expect heat (as high as 40~43°C).

How do you have the time to do all this stuff?

I do not own a television. Never have.