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iSchool project aims to train future scientists on new discovery methods
iSchool project aims to train future scientists on new discovery methodsNovember 16, 2007Margaret Costello Spillettmcostell@syr.edu
Advances in computing and information technology, such as high-powered microscopes, telescopes and sensors, have created a new method of scientific discovery — one that involves huge sets of data that exist in collections on the Web. The National Science Foundation is funding the Science Data Literacy project at the School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Syracuse University to ensure that there are educated and trained people ready to work with the latest computer and technical infrastructure to maximize scientific progress.
The project has two components: a panel discussion that was held this fall and a new course beginning in the spring semester.
Scientific data can take the form of trillions of bits of information about collisions in another galaxy, the entire genetic sequence of a mustard plant, or the billions of credit card transactions conducted by Americans each year.
The new course “Science Data Management” (IST 400) is open to all students across campus. The course will cover three major areas: the fundamentals of scientific data, including the kinds of data, formats and databases used to store, retrieve and manage data; data management methods, including a step-by-step guide students will apply in a case study; and tools used to evaluate data quality.
“By the end of the course, students should have a solid understanding of the core concepts and characteristics of scientific data and the tools used to manage this data,” says iSchool professor Jian Qin, who developed the course. “While this course is being taught in the School of Information Studies, we expect that it will be of interest and very useful for students in the sciences and engineering as well as others from across a range of disciplines.”