meta-searching; phylogenetic analysis; scripting languages
Due to the immensity of phylogenetic tree space for large data sets, researches must rely on heuristic searches to infer reasonable phylogenies. By designing meta-searches which appropriately combine a variety of heuristics and parameter settings, researchers can significantly improve the performance of heuristic searches. Advanced language constructs in the open-source PSODA project—including variables, mathematical and logical expressions, conditional statements, and user-defined commands—give researchers a better framework for the exploration and exploitation of phylogenetic meta-search algorithms. PSODA’s approach to scripting meta-search algorithms is unique among open-source packages and addresses several limitations of other phylogenetic applications.