December 07, 2011
Look around and you'll notice data-collecting devices everywhere. From smartphones to thermostats, from car alarms to Twitter feeds, we're generating and collecting more data than ever before.
This is the case in science, too, where ever-more-powerful instruments—supercomputers, telescopes, gene sequencers—create more, and more detailed, data about our natural world.
This explosion of information has led some to announce the arrival of a new kind of science: driven by data, rather than theory or equations.
"The quest for knowledge used to begin with grand theories," Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired wrote in July 2008. "Now it begins with massive amounts of data. Welcome to the Petabyte Age."
Research centers like the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) now dedicate expert staff and systems to explore data-driven science with the goal of finding needles of insight in digital haystacks. In traditional computational fields like astrophysics, as well as in emerging applications like smart grids and genomics, early projects are showing the benefits of using advanced computing to find meaning in massive datasets.
For the full story with graphics, visit http://www.tacc.utexas.edu/news/feature-stories/2011/finding-meaning-in-massive-datasets.
Source: Texas Advanced Computing Center
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