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Section: Application Domains

Exploratory analysis of scientific data

Many scientific disciplines are increasingly data-driven, including astronomy, molecular biology, particle physics, or neuroanatomy. While making the right decision under time pressure is often less of critical issue when analyzing scientific data, at least not on the same temporal scale as truly time-critical systems, scientists are still faced with large-to-huge amounts of data. No matter their origin (experiments, remote observations, large-scale simulations), these data are difficult to understand and analyze in depth because of their sheer size and complexity. Challenges include how to help scientists freely-yet-efficiently explore their data, keep a trace of the multiple data processing paths they considered to verify their hypotheses and make it easy to backtrack, and how to relate observations made on different parts of the data and insights gained at different moments during the exploration process. With this application area, our goal is to investigate how data-centric interactive systems can improve collaborative scientific data exploration, where users' goals are more open-ended, and where roles, collaboration and coordination patterns [40] differ from those observed in mission-critical contexts of work.