Thursday, November 14, 2013, 3pm
Location: Room 1110 of the Nguyen Engineering Building

Kirk Borne
School of Physics, Astronomy, and Computational Sciences
George Mason University

What is Data Science and Why is it Needed? 


I will discuss Data Science within the context of current trends in Big Data, which are often described by three major characteristics: the large volume, variety, and velocity of data. I will focus on a more accurate description of Big Data that I have recently developed, which makes more sense scientifically: "Everything, Quantified and Tracked." I will give examples from astronomy, earth science, education, social networks, law enforcement, and healthcare. I will also describe a few recent events that have placed Mason (particularly SPACS) at the center of national and international attention in some Big Data discussions, both in research and in education. Nevertheless, I will argue that more needs to be done at Mason to reap the benefits of this recognition. The primary goal of this presentation is to demonstrate why Data Science represents a new form of scientific inference and experimentation, and how Mason is contributing. Some scientists have labeled this the 4th Paradigm of Science, though some may object to this characterization. In either case, the fact is we are now engaged in an entirely new data-intensive approach to studying the cosmos, the Earth, and life on our planet.