Science 4.0 is a movement resulting from the formation and use of the World Wide Web. Scientists are using the World Wide Web to collaborate and do science in new ways with significant implications. The term Science 4.0 is a special case of the World Wide Web and enhanced by an understanding of Web 2.0. Therefore it is helpful to understand what the Web 2.0 is in order to better understand Science 4.0. The term Web 2.0 was first used at the O’Reilly Media conference and implies a development in the use of the Web. This has been covered in an earlier article in the series (see Appendix). The Web 2.0 had several characteristics according to this definition including software above the level of a single device. In the definition, this aspect of the description is brief. iTunes is given as an example of software that operates across mobile phones, desktop computers and business servers in order to deliver an effective service.
Applying these principles to Science, a simple example is BOINC which provides analytical software for use on desktop PC’s. The end-user downloads the software and installs this onto their desktop computer. Data is provided by the server, downloaded and analysed by the software on the desktop. This has also been covered under harnessing collective intelligence (see Appendix). There are two immediate principles that arise from application of this aspect of the Web 2.0 definition to science
1. For tasks that require large computational resources, software operating over multiple devices increases the computing resources available and would be expected the time taken to solve computational problems.
2. If software operates on mobile devices and desktops or servers this can transform workflow for scientists. Mobile devices typically have reduced memory and processing resources compared to servers and desktops. Functionality would need to be tailored to the available resources. Examples of work which would be facilitated by this approach include
a. Data collection in the field and transfer to a database as well as remote initiation of analysis on the data on the server/desktop.
b. Analysis of data on the go. The mobile applications would enable the scientist to instruct the server or remote desktop to undertake analytical tasks and return the results in a format which can be viewed on the mobile application. This would enable flexibility in workflow and potentially improve efficiency.
This approach opens up many possibilities.
Appendix – Science 4.0 Articles on the TAWOP Site
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