The Jacques Loeb Centre for the History and the Philosophy of the Life Sciences
cordially invites you to its 10th International Workshop
Data, Knowledge, and Genomic Causality: Philosophy and Scientific Practice in Informational Biology
in the era of 'Big Data' Technology and Computation
The increasingly powerful sequencing techniques of the Human Genome Project and its successors, as well as computing tools and high-throughput technology, have pushed biological research forward in a number of ways. They have made systems approaches possible, drastically increased the efficiency of research, and transformed many fields of biology, such as genomics, developmental systems biology, cytology, and microbiology. The fact that the NSF has recognized computational and data-enabled science as a new fundamental "pillar" of science, supplementing theory and experimentation, shows the increasing importance of 'big data' technology in science.
'Big data' technology has been fruitfully integrated into causal-mechanistic research at a systems level, but has also led to data-driven research that does not reach beyond correlation and has been used to support a new "philosophy" that runs counter to conventional epistemologies. While it is true that developments in computer science and engineering have indeed pushed pattern recognition in many fields of science far beyond the ability of humans, science is not confined to pattern recognition. Biology asks causal questions, e.g. about genomic causality of development, and looks for mechanisms needed to understand how intervention, perturbation (or disease) affect a system.
The planned workshop will address the topic from the perspectives of different scientific as well as humanistic specialties. It aims at generating an intellectual discussion about the changing methodology and its implication for scientific knowledge in 21st-century informational biology.
Full Program »
Registration is free but required for planning purposes »