Abduction, of inference to the best explanation, is a form of inference that goes from data describing something to a hypothesis that best explains or accounts for the data.
D is a collection of data (facts, observations, givens).
H explains D (would, if true, explain D).
No other hypothesis can explain D as well as H does.
... Therefore, H is probably true.
– Josephson & Josephson, Abductive Inference
The speed at which any given scientific discipline advances will depend on how well its researchers collaborate with one another, and with technologists, in areas of eScience such as databases, workflow management, visualization, and cloud computing technologies. In The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Scientific Discovery, the collection of essays expands on the vision of pioneering computer scientist Jim Gray for a new, fourth paradigm of discovery based on data-intensive science and offers insights into how it can be fully realized. "The impact of Jim Gray's thinking is continuing to get people to think in a new way about how data and software are redefining what it means to do science." "I often tell people working in eScience that they aren't in this field because they are visionaries or super-intelligent--it's because they care about science and they are alive now.
Today in Entertainment: Seth Meyers finds a new law of Trump physics; Jonathan Demme brought out performers' best Here's what's new and interesting in entertainment and the arts: The science on the Trump administration is a little closer to settled. "Late Night with Seth Meyers" offered a deep dive Wednesday night into the administration's apparent fondness for executive orders -- the president has signed 30 so far -- and highlighted how Trump the candidate was less enamored of the practice than Trump the president appears to be. "It is at this point like a law of physics," Meyers said at the beginning of one of his "A Closer Look" segments. Putting the comedy in some context: Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama averaged 45.5, 36.4 and 34.5 executive orders per year, respectively, over their eight years each in office, according to the American Presidency Project at UCSB.
Last year, there were more than 1.2 million new papers published in the biomedical sciences alone, bringing the total number of peer-reviewed biomedical papers to over 26 million. Some recent studies found that the majority of biomedical papers were irreproducible. Automation of the scientific process could greatly increase the rate of discovery. That huge possibility hinges on an equally huge question: Can scientific discovery really be automated?
Several institutions are embroiled in a legal dispute over the foundational patent rights to CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology, and it may take years for their competing claims to be resolved (1–4). But even before ownership of the patents is finalized, the institutions behind CRISPR have wasted no time capitalizing on the huge market for this groundbreaking technology by entering into a series of license agreements with commercial enterprises (see the figure). With respect to the potentially lucrative market for human therapeutics and treatments, each of the key CRISPR patent holders has granted exclusive rights to a spinoff or "surrogate" company formed by the institution and one of its principal researchers (5, 6). Although this model, in which a university effectively outsources the licensing and commercialization of a valuable patent portfolio to a private company, is not uncommon in the world of university technology transfer, we suggest it could rapidly bottleneck the use of CRISPR technology to discover and develop useful human therapeutics.
A more historical-cognitive approach was the aim of the work on BACON, which rediscovered various scientific laws by finding patterns in numerical data (Langley, Simon, Bradshaw & Zytkow, 1987). Simon's early work on finding patterns in sequences (Simon & Kotovsky, 1963) was extended in BACON to heuristic search for patterns in numerical data. The most creative of BACON's abilities was the decomposition of relational data to conjecture intrinsic properties in one or more of the objects engaging in the relations. This step went beyond curve-fitting and was based on the metaphysical assumption that an entity's relational properties are caused by its intrinsic properties. In addition to the data-driven tasks modeled in BACON, the group also investigated theory-driven discovery in STAHL.
This volume explores abduction (inference to explanatory hypotheses), an important but neglected topic in scientific reasoning. My aim is to inte grate philosophical, cognitive, and computational issues, while also discuss ing some cases of reasoning in science and medicine. The main thesis is that abduction is a significant kind of scientific reasoning, helpful in delineating the first principles of a new theory of science. The status of abduction is very controversial. When dealing with abduc tive reasoning misinterpretations and equivocations are common.
Bacteria have developed a defense system based on DNA sequences known as CRISPR (Clustered regularly-interspaced short palindromic repeats – thank God for acronyms). The Cas protein envelopes the bacteriophage and unzips its DNA, the CRISPR RNA attaches to its matching DNA segment in the phage and the Cas protein cuts the DNA at that location. It can remove precisely defined gene segments or replace genes that cause problems with genes that don't. The most important consequence of the discovery of these anti-CRISPR proteins is that they provide a security system that allows research into genetic engineering using CRISPR-Cas9 to proceed with less chance of a mistake causing harm.
A number of the notable science stories of the past year are, quite literally, out of this world. For me, the story of the year has to be the August discovery of an Earth-like planet orbiting the closest star to our own. The star, Proxima Centauri, is just 4.2 light-years from Earth. The planet circling that star has been named Proxima Centauri b. Proxima Centauri b was discovered by astronomers working on a project called Pale Red Dot, who reported that the planet lies in the star's habitable zone, meaning that it could possess water and, maybe, life.