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Evolution of Sciences: New Data Science Era

  • Before 1600: Empirical science
  • 1600-1950s: Theoretical science
    • Each discipline has grown a theoretical component. Theoretical models often motivate experiments and generalize our understanding.
  • 1950s-1990s: Computational science
    • Over the last 50 years, most disciplines have grown a third, computational branch (e.g. empirical, theoretical, and computational ecology, or physics, or linguistics.)
    • Computational Science traditionally meant simulation. It grew out of our inability to find closed-form solutions for complex mathematical models.
  • 1990-now: Data science
    • The flood of data from new scientific instruments and simulations
    • The ability to economically store and manage petabytes of data online
    • The Internet and computing Grid that makes all these archives universally accessible
    • Scientific info. management, acquisition, organization, query, and visualization tasks scale almost linearly with data volumes
    • Data mining is a major new challenge!
  • Jim Gray and Alex Szalay, The World Wide Telescope: An Archetype for Online Science, Comm. ACM, 45(11): 50-54, Nov. 2002

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