Navigation Links
Information overload in the era of 'big data'
Date:8/20/2012

Botany is plagued by the same problem as the rest of science and society: our ability to generate data quickly and cheaply is surpassing our ability to access and analyze it. In this age of big data, scientists facing too much information rely on computers to search large data sets for patterns that are beyond the capability of humans to recognizebut computers can only interpret data based on the strict set of rules in their programming.

New tools called ontologies provide the rules computers need to transform information into knowledge, by attaching meaning to data, thereby making those data retrievable by computers and more understandable to human beings. Ontology, from the Greek word for the study of being or existence, traditionally falls within the purview of philosophy, but the term is now used by computer and information scientists to describe a strategy for representing knowledge in a consistent fashion. An ontology in this contemporary sense is a description of the types of entities within a given domain and the relationships among them.

A new article in this month's American Journal of Botany by Ramona Walls (New York Botanical Garden) and colleagues describes how scientists build ontologies such as the Plant Ontology (PO) and how these tools can transform plant science by facilitating new ways of gathering and exploring data.

When data from many divergent sources, such as data about some specific plant organ, are associated or "tagged" with particular terms from a single ontology or set of interrelated ontologies, the data become easier to find, and computers can use the logical relationships in the ontologies to correctly combine the information from the different databases. Moreover, computers can also use ontologies to aggregate data associated with the different subclasses or parts of entities.

For example, suppose a researcher is searching online for all examples of gene expression in a leaf. Any botanist performing this search would include experiments that described gene expression in petioles and midribs or in a frond. However, a search engine would not know that it needs to include these terms in its searchunless it was told that a frond is a type of leaf, and that every petiole and every midrib are parts of some leaf. It is this information that ontologies provide.

The article in the American Journal of Botany by Walls and colleagues describes what ontologies are, why they are relevant to plant science, and some of the basic principles of ontology development. It includes an overview of the ontologies that are relevant to botany, with a more detailed description of the PO and the challenges of building an ontology that covers all green plants. The article also describes four keys areas of plant science that could benefit from the use of ontologies: (1) comparative genetics, genomics, phenomics, and development; (2) taxonomy and systematics; (3) semantic applications; and (4) education. Although most of the examples in this article are drawn from plant science, the principles could apply to any group of organisms, and the article should be of interest to zoologists as well.

As genomic and phenomic data become available for more species, many different research groups are embarking on the annotation of their data and images with ontology terms. At the same time, cross-species queries are becoming more common, causing more researchers in plant science to turn to ontologies. Ontology developers are working with the scientists who generate data to make sure ontologies accurately reflect current science, and with database developers and publishers to find ways to make it easier for scientist to associate their data with ontologies.


'/>"/>

Contact: Richard Hund
rhund@botany.org
314-577-9557
American Journal of Botany
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. A foot in the door to genetic information
2. Expedition to undersea mountain yields new information about sub-seafloor structure
3. New databases harvest a rich bounty of information on crop plant metabolism
4. Global Information Inc. Announces Discounted Conference Registration For Bio-IT World Asia and Biodetection Technologies 2012
5. New genetic bar code technique establishes ability to derive DNA information from RNA
6. Geographic information systems demonstrate links between health and location
7. New Biotech and Pharmaceutical Market Research from Global Information Inc Forecasts Strong Growth Coming Out of Recession
8. Copernicus Award 2012 for German-Polish collaboration in business information systems
9. 2012 Forecast for US Molecular Diagnostics Market Now Available From Global Information Inc.
10. Doubling the information from the double helix
11. Early Bird Discounts Available on International Healthcare and Biotechnology Conferences, Save Up To $600 with Global Information
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Information overload in the era of 'big data'
(Date:6/30/2017)... June 30, 2017 Today, American Trucking ... supplier of face and eye tracking software, became ... provider program. "Artificial intelligence and ... to monitor a driver,s attentiveness levels while on ... able to detect fatigue and prevent potential accidents, ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... , June 15, 2017  IBM (NYSE: IBM ) ... international tech event dedicated to developing collaboration between startups and ... on June 15-17. During the event, nine startups will showcase ... value in various industries. France ... the international market, with a 30 percent increase in the ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... TEANECK, N.J. , May 16, 2017  Veratad ... leading provider of online age and identity verification solutions, ... the K(NO)W Identity Conference 2017, May 15 thru May ... Ronald Regan Building and International Trade Center. ... across the globe and in today,s quickly evolving digital ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/25/2017)... ... July 25, 2017 , ... Bactana ... improve efficiency of livestock farming while reducing the use of antibiotics and hormones ... property from Cornell University. , These new proprietary technologies expand the breadth ...
(Date:7/20/2017)... ... July 20, 2017 , ... The Arnold and Mabel ... Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ... award recognizes an individual who has made and is continuing to make significant ...
(Date:7/20/2017)... ... July 20, 2017 , ... Corista, a leader in ... intelligence Tuesday, July 25, during the Association of Pathology Chairs’ Jubilee Meeting in ... , Baras, Associate Director of Pathology Informatics, will present “The Digital Pathology Experience ...
(Date:7/18/2017)... ... July 18, 2017 , ... Sourcing custom glass or quartz parts can ... the capabilities to properly execute your job can take many hours of emails, phone ... sourcing portal designed to showcase the company’s capabilities and core custom categories, and enables ...
Breaking Biology Technology: