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What Constitutes a Scientific Database?

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1 Author(s)
Pfaltz, J.L. ; Virginia Univ., Charlottesville

We propose that a scientific database should be inherently different from, say a business database. The difference is based on the nature of science itself, in which hypotheses, or logical implications, form an essential part of the discipline. Empirical observations give rise to tentative hypotheses. Individual hypotheses are then tested, refuted or refined, by further empirical observation. In the paper, we propose representing the observational data of science in a lattice format that also conveys all the logical implications that can be supported by those observations. We claim that such a structure can be incrementally created and that the hypotheses formed will adapt to new data. We demonstrate its practicality by presenting two real situations in which it has been used. Finally, we look at the rather considerable storage costs associated with this approach and discuss other limitations that are still unresolved in this new approach to the representation of scientific data.

Published in:

Scientific and Statistical Database Management, 2007. SSBDM '07. 19th International Conference on

Date of Conference:

9-11 July 2007

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