The collection and curation of data throughout the sciences is becoming increasingly automated. For example, a single high-throughput experiment in biology can easily generate more than a gigabyte of data per day, and in astronomy automatic data collection leads to more than a terabyte of data per night. Throughout the sciences the volumes of archived data are increasing exponentially, supported not only by low-cost digital storage but also by the growing efficiency of automated instrumentation. It is clear that the future of science involves the expansion of automation in all its aspects: data collection, storage of information, hypothesis formation and experimentation (see table). Future advances will have the ability to yield powerful new forms of science that could blur the boundaries between theory and experiment. However, to reap the full benefits it is essential that developments in high-speed automation are not introduced at the expense of human understanding and insight.
pubs.doc.ic.ac.uk: built & maintained by Ashok Argent-Katwala.