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[ontolog-forum] Looking to the Future of Data Science - NYTimes.com - 20

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2014 13:23:15 -0400
Message-id: <5400B703.6080101@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Ed,    (01)

I'm moving this thread to Ontolog Forum, since it addresses a broad
issue:  How do we recognize legitimate subtopics, avoid endless
fragmentation and duplication of effort, promote interdisciplinary
collaboration, and help search engines find related documents?    (02)

NY Times
> The Association for Computing Machinery, a leading professional
> association in computer science, is this week holding its annual
> conference focused on what we're now calling data science - though
> the ACM still clings to the label adopted when the yearly gatherings
> began in 1998, Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining.    (03)

> That's the fundamental principle for creating the illusion of progress:
> Change the name of the field every decade.    (04)

> I don't think that is fair.  Anyone I know or knew in the field has long
> thought that "data science" is the term for the computer science associated
> with information management.    (05)

If everyone knew that, why did they need another name?  For that matter,
note that the NYT reporter thought that 'data science' was a new name.    (06)

> Into the early 1980s, the problem was always in getting the 'computer
> science' gang (ACM in particular) to recognize that there was a computer
> science aspect to information management systems    (07)

ACM started TODS (Transactions on Data Systems) in 1976.  In 1980,
Ted Codd, Pat Hayes, John McCarthy, and other AI & DB people
(including me) participated in an ACM-sponsored workshop that
tried to promote more collaboration.  Unfortunately, it tended
to sound like separate conferences with interleaved talks.    (08)

> I owe my respect for the data sciences to Stanley Y.W. Su at U. Florida
> and Gio Wiederhold at Stanford.    (09)

In the 1980s, I participated in IFIP WG 2.6 on database, along with Gio.
The chair was Robert Meersman, who was trying to promoting collaboration
among the DB and KB researchers.  I helped organize some conferences on
Data Semantics (which was treated as a topic, not a field).    (010)

Among the speakers I invited were John McCarthy, Ray Reiter, and
Roger Schank.  One logician type turned down the invitation because
it was "too applied".  So we replaced him with Dana Scott.    (011)

> This is not about renaming the field every 5 years; it is about
> realizing  that the field has a name.    (012)

I have no objection to any term used as a title of an article, a book,
or a conference.  But when it is called a *field*, it tends to promote
fragmentation rather than collaboration.    (013)

> Unfortunately, beginning about 15 years ago, the real illusion of
> progress -- XML and RDF data stores -- grew hundreds of would-be
> computer scientists building "new" information stores and database
> systems, with no knowledge of the data sciences, and therefore
> reinventing good and bad ideas from a 30-year literature they didn't read.    (014)

I'm happy to end on a point I can strongly agree with.    (015)

John    (016)

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