Many software libraries for using Hidden Markov Models in bioinformatics focus on inference tasks, such as likelihood calculation, parameter-fitting and alignment. However, construction of the state machines can be a laborious task, automation of which would be time-saving and less error-prone.


We present Machine Boss, a software tool implementing not just inference and parameter-fitting algorithms, but also a set of operations for manipulating and combining automata. The aim is to make prototyping of bioinformatics HMMs as quick and easy as the construction of regular expressions, with one-line ‘recipes’ for many common applications. We report data from several illustrative examples involving protein-to-DNA alignment, DNA data storage and nanopore sequence analysis.

Availability and implementation

Machine Boss is released under the BSD-3 open source license and is available from

Supplementary information

Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

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