That data management has become integral to scientific discovery is inescapable. But as petabytes began to supplant terabytes in the lexicon of drug discoverers, companies like Google and IBM are wondering whether students will be able to break out of the PC- and cluster-scale mindset in which they learn.
"Imprinting" on such small systems makes them a frame of reference, driving the way they think, according to a New York Times article. The search and computer giants arranged for student access to some of the largest of computers available, outfitted with high-end data analysis software. And the National Science Foundation recently funded 14 universities to help teach students to think Internet scale.
Purdue, for example, is taking cues from social networking interactions to map the intricate links between chemical reactions within cells. Meanwhile, at the University of California, Santa Barbara, work is underway on a simplified software interface for use in analyzing huge biological data sets.
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