A feeling for the algorithm: Working knowledge and big data in biology

Stevens, Hallam (2017) A feeling for the algorithm: Working knowledge and big data in biology. Osiris, 32 (1). pp. 151-174.

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Abstract

The term “Big Data” may serve as a useful marker for particular kinds of questions, practices, and relationships for collecting and using data. Some of the ways of talking about Big Data suggest that there might be something, if not entirely new, then at least importantly different at work in Big Data practices and problem-solving approaches. By using three examples taken from the biomedical sciences—artificial neural networks, the construction of reference genomes, and the usage of the Ensembl database—this essay shows how Big Data practices cannot be understood as mere scaling up of pen-and-paper methods but constitute qualitatively different kinds of knowledge-making practices. These practices are characterized particularly by types of human-computer interaction that are labeled “a feeling for the algorithm.”

Item ID: 73183
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1933-8287
Copyright Information: © 2017 by The History of Science Society. All rights reserved.
Funders: Ministry of Education, Singapore (ME)
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2022 02:10
FoR Codes: 43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4303 Historical studies > 430399 Historical studies not elsewhere classified @ 50%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4410 Sociology > 441007 Sociology and social studies of science and technology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1399 Other culture and society > 139999 Other culture and society not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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