“The 4th Paradigm: Data-Intensive Scientific Discovery”

This collection of essays from leading computer scientists and researchers discusses how the torrent of data flooding from instrumentation changes the practice of science. In the past, scientific data were painstaking and costly to generate, but now we have more data than anyone can digest. For example, when the projected cost of sequencing one person’s three-billion base pair genome costs less than $100, what can we discover if we cross-reference six billion individual genomes?

From Jay Collins’s review “Sailing on an Ocean of 0s and 1s”, Science 19 March 2010: Vol. 327. no. 5972, pp. 1455 – 1456

When the development of theory outpaces data, scientists often find that new ideas cannot be tested for lack of tools or technology. Researchers in genomics, astronomy, and many other active areas of science face a different challenge: Gathering data is so easy and quick that it exceeds our capacity to validate, analyze, visualize, store, and curate the information. The Fourth Paradigm addresses this challenge—and the opportunity it presents.

The book is on sale at Amazon or available online in low and high-resolution PDF formats at Microsoft Research.

Tom Hey, Stewart Tensley, and Kristin Tolle, editors.  The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Scientific Discovery,  Microsoft Research, Redmond WA, 2009.  286 pages. Paper cover, $46.  ISBN 978098204420-4.

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