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“Opaque research” has some astronomers concerned.

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From Sarah Wild at Physics Today:

Irreproducibility and the black box nature of machine learning plague many fields of science, from Earth observation to drug discovery. But astronomy represents a notable case study because the quantity of data is burgeoning at an unprecedented rate. The installation of new data-churning telescopes, combined with marked improvements in pattern-finding algorithms, has led astronomers to turn to sophisticated software to do the data-crunching they can’t do manually. And with more powerful analyses comes less transparency as to how they were performed. More.

It could be a symptom of a much bigger problem.

See also: The multiverse is science’s assisted suicide

Very interesting, and I imagine that the issue applies to many fields with large data sets. I posted the original article on my Facebook page, and will be interested to see what, if anything, my science data friends say. (I have one friend, a former student, who was the data manager for the Maven flight to Mars.) jdk

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