Data science to help move natural science out of the ‘Stone Age’

Although some natural scientists do use statistical analysis when doing research, there’s much more opportunity to apply new and advanced techniques for making discoveries.

This is what Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte from the University of Sydney discussed at the 21st ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining in Sydney on Wednesday.

Durrant-Whyte, also former CEO of NICTA, said: “The science community is in the Stone Age. It would be progress if they moved on to using a database.

“There is an enormous amount that this [data science] community could do to simply help scientists access and visualise and use data.

“I’ve decided to make the rest of my career about using data science to progress science in general; to try and change the way they do discovery.”

One challenge that natural science faces is the scarcity of data, as it’s not always easy to physically collect samples or measurements from deep within the Earth, nor oceans or other almost out-of-reach places.