Erik Garrison is a computational biologist working as an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. Although his research journey began in the social sciences, for most of his career he worked in bioinformatics, a field where clear ideas and their implementation in open code can move the world. He studies genome evolution, or how nature implements its learning algorithm in code. He creates methods to read genomes and understand their variation. These approaches are pangenomic, looking at all scales, from small point mutations to chromosome-scale rearrangements, and working both on single genomes and collections of tens to thousands. As we have developed improved methods to sequence DNA, bioinformatics’ importance has expanded and now most areas of biology can be interpreted digitally. Inspired by this progression, his ongoing research envisions a future in which we can synthesize DNA as easily as we can now read it.