Dr. Wing has argued that ideas like recursion, parallelism and abstraction taken from computer science will redefine modern science. Implicit in the idea of a fourth paradigm is the ability, and the need, to share data. In sciences like physics and astronomy, the instruments are so expensive that data must be shared. Now the data explosion and the falling cost of computing and communications are creating pressure to share all scientific data.
Similar digital instruments are emerging in other fields. In one chapter, “Toward a Computational Microscope for Neurobiology,” Eric Horvitz, an artificial intelligence researcher for Microsoft, and William Kristan, a neurobiologist at the University of California, San Diego, chart the development of a tool they say is intended to help understand the communications among neurons.