Stephen Baker

The Numerati
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Tim Berners-Lee: Linked data

February 7, 2009Science

World Wide Web founder Tim Berners-Lee spoke at the TED conference about the Linked Web. This from GigaOm:

Berners-Lee wants raw data to come online so that it can be related to each other and applied together for multidisciplinary purposes, like combining genomics data and protein data to try to cure Alzheimer’s. He urged “raw data now,” and an end to “hugging your data” — i.e. keeping it private — until you can make a beautiful web site for it.

This is the key to turning the cloud computers that house the Internet into a vast laboratory for science and discovery. One way or another, it's going to happen, I predict, because even what used to be single disciplines are now multidisciplinary. Oceanography, just to name one. What happens in the oceans is intimately related to biology, weather, agriculture, oil exploration, plate tectonics, military affairs... I could go on and on.

And so, when the ocean is wired with sensors and data is pouring in about that hidden universe that covers two-thirds of our planet, researchers will be able to make sense of it all only if they can mix and match from these various fields.

... On the subject of mixing and matching data, I just gave Apple permission to comb through my iTunes library with its Genius program, so that their machine can recommend playlists for me. What else will they learn about me from my playlists? Maybe I'll write a post on that tomorrow.

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