Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Universe is in us!

I have been away from this blog for a while, and there are a number of reasons for that. Mostly I have been really really lazy with lots of work and sleep. The good news is that I am back and I have quite a few things to post about.

While reading this, you might be wondering what this post is about? Well its about surprising similarities between two totally different worlds. The first one involves the microscopic world of DNA. The data I used is specifically cancer mutated DNA I was provided when I went to a GameJam for Cancer Research UK. One of the problems we tried to address in this gamejam was to identify the regions in DNA with cancer mutations. Being a Computer Vision Engineer, I have been really interested on representing the data in a visual way. While I might not have succeeded in creating something useful, however what I found was quite interesting.

Displaying DNA data

I took each DNA value and mapped it onto a pixel in an RGB image. DNA values in the data ranged from 0 - 1. All I did was mapped these values to 0 - 255 in the H channel of and HSV image (having S and V channels assigned to a constant value). Converting this HSV image back to RGB, I got a pure RGB image, mapping DNA values to all colors.

When I first looked at the output, I was surprised to see a remarkable likeness of the image with some of the most dense galaxies in space. This bizzare similarity between microscopic and collosal scale of the universe, has no explaination to why it exists. Could it be that these both patterns are no more than a noise pattern? or is there a relation and some logical explanation behind it? These are just a few of the many questions that come to my mind, and that (most probably) might not be answered ever. Nevertheless, this is one of the most interesting things I have come across in the recent years.

Omega Centuari - Largest and Biggest Star Cluster [1] [2]
On an ending note, I will share a video where Neil deGrasse Tyson talks about universe and the amazing things which relate us to it.

 [1] Image taken from:
 [2] Read more about Omega Centuari:


  1. Hi Muhammad,
    This is a really interesting and exciting area. You are exploring complexity and that is always daring and difficult. In my work I want to help students understand the importance of being able to express their ideas visually, and to use this to communicate in a persuasive way. So I guess we have something in common.


    1. Hi Angela,
      Thanks for stopping by, that is really interesting to know. I will be reading your blog to get to know more about your work.