As Brian Hayes points out in "Cultures of Code" (Computing Science, January–February), there is more to studying the interaction of humans with computers than the algorithm-oriented computer science that one learns in an introductory undergraduate course. Nevertheless, despite all the diverse computer-related cultures mentioned in the piece, Hayes failed to mention the emerging field of data science. In this discipline, unlike the other computer-related disciplines discussed, the computation is focused on the structure and sometimes-subtle statistical relationships within large data sets. Moreover, data science is further differentiated from other computer-related disciplines in its emphasis on visualization to help tease out subtle but important patterns. With this new field of data science becoming popular in data-rich areas, such as the biological sciences and various branches of finance, perhaps it should be added as a fourth culture to Hayes’s canon.
Dov Greenbaum & Mark Gerstein
Above is a published letter, with the following citation:
D Greenbaum & M Gerstein (2015). "An Emerging Field", American Scientist (May-Jun., vol. 103, pg. 164)
Published letter in response to:
Cultures of Code
Three communities in the world of computation are bound together by common interests but set apart by distinctly different aims and agendas.
Specifically, from Issue:
January-February 2015, Volume 103, Number 1, Page: 10