Biomedical Engineering pres.
BME 500: Jun Li, Ph.D.
“Pointillism and Big Data: the misguided quest for multi-scale laws in biology”
I will use this talk to share some thoughts on the emerging appreciation that, in biomedical data science, perhaps the best one can learn is not widely generalizable Mechanisms, but different laws for different scales of organization. There may not be a good chance, and perhaps no need, to "know" a system by brute force accumulation of larger and larger data at the bottom level. Acknowledging the irreducibility of highly-level phenomena in biology and medicine can help us appreciate the distinct methods, norms, and compromises in traditional disciplines, and steer the society's investment towards balanced collection of good data on all levels. By giving up the blind celebration of sample size, we give more attention to new technologies that can measure what was previously inaccessible, and to the next-generation of information science that embraces messy, context-specific models.
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