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Virtual Astronomy, Information Technology, and the New Scientific Methodology

Djorgovski, S. G. (2005) Virtual Astronomy, Information Technology, and the New Scientific Methodology. . (Unpublished)

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All sciences, including astronomy, are now entering the era of information abundance. The exponentially increasing volume and complexity of modern data sets promises to transform the scientific practice, but also poses a number of common technological challenges. The Virtual Observatory concept is the astronomical community's response to these challenges: it aims to harness the progress in information technology in the service of astronomy, and at the same time provide a valuable testbed for information technology and applied computer science. Challenges broadly fall into two categories: data handling (or "data farming"), including issues such as archives, intelligent storage, databases, interoperability, fast networks, etc., and data mining, data understanding, and knowledge discovery, which include issues such as automated clustering and classification, multivariate correlation searches, pattern recognition, visualization in highly hyperdimensional parameter spaces, etc., as well as various applications of machine learning in these contexts. Such techniques are forming a methodological foundation for science with massive and complex data sets in general, and are likely to have a much broather impact on the modern society, commerce, information economy, security, etc. There is a powerful emerging synergy between the computationally enabled science and the science-driven computing, which will drive the progress in science, scholarship, and many other venues in the 21st century.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Technical Report)
Additional Information:The author thanks numerous colleagues who helped develop the Virtual Observatory concept, and many of the ideas described in this paper. In particular, special thanks are due to Alex Szalay, Roy Williams, Ashish Mahabal, Matthew Graham, Robert Brunner, Jim Gray, Tom Prince, Roy Gal, Reinaldo de Carvalho, Nick Weir, Usama Fayyad, Joe Jacob, Bob Hanisch, Dave De Young, and many others. Joe Bredekamp of NASA provided an essential early support and encouragement. Some of the ideas described here were developed while the author was enjoying the stimulating intellectual environment of the Aspen Center for Physics.
Group:Center for Advanced Computing Research
Subject Keywords:Astronomy; Data management; Information technology; Knowledge acquisition; Knowledge representation; Scientific visualization
Record Number:CaltechCACR:2005.115
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Usage Policy:You are granted permission for individual, educational, research and non-commercial reproduction, distribution, display and performance of this work in any format.
ID Code:28225
Deposited By: Imported from CaltechCACR
Deposited On:15 Feb 2006
Last Modified:13 Apr 2016 22:34

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