Dear Commons Community,
Microsoft Research has just published a new book that contains essays on “The Fourth Paradigm” described as the new generation of science research. The new paradigm assumes that computing has fundamentally transformed the practice of science.
The first three paradigms were experimental, theoretical and, more recently, computational science. The book describes the fourth paradigm as an evolving era in which an “exaflood” of observational data was threatening to overwhelm scientists. The only way to cope with it is a new generation of scientific computing tools to manage, visualize and analyze the data flood. Implicit in the idea of a fourth paradigm is the ability, and the need, to share data. In sciences like physics and astronomy, the instruments are so expensive that data must be shared. Now the data explosion and the falling cost of computing and communications are creating pressure to share all scientific data. This resonates well with the emerging computing trend known as “the cloud,” an approach being driven by Microsoft, Google, IBM and other companies that believe that, fueled by the Internet, the shift is toward centralization of computing facilities.
See Article in NY Times on this Topic