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NewsData science in the natural sciences PinstaffTerrence Dorsey12-Nov-12 9:46 
Research in which data vastly outstrip our ability to posit models is qualitatively different. Much of science for the last three centuries advanced by deriving simple models from first principles — models whose predictions could then be compared with novel experiments. In modeling complex systems for which the underlying model is not yet known but for which data are abundant, however, as in systems biology or social network analysis, one may turn this process on its head by using the data to learn not only parameters of a single model but to select which among many or an infinite number of competing models is favored by the data.
A “fourth paradigm” of science, after experimental, theoretical, and computational paradigms.

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