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Chow-White P.A.,Simon Fraser University | Garcia-Sancho M.,Spanish National Research Council CSIC
Science Technology and Human Values

This article proposes a new bi-directional way of understanding the convergence of biology and computing. It argues for a reciprocal interaction in which biology and computing have shaped and are currently reshaping each other. In so doing, we qualify both the view of a natural marriage and of a digital shaping of biology, which are common in the literature written by scientists, STS, and communication scholars. The DNA database is at the center of this interaction. We argue that DNA databases are spaces of convergence for computing and biology that change in form, meaning, and function from the 1960s to the 2000s. The first part of the article shows how, in the 1980s, DNA sequencing shifted from passively incorporating computers to be increasingly modeled in digital coding and decoding. Information retrieval algorithms, reciprocally, were altered according to the peculiarities of DNA in the first sequence-storage databases. The second part of the article investigates the impact of these reciprocal interactions and globalization on the organization of research centers, ways of conducting big science, and scientific values. Through convergence and new technologies such as data mining, biology and computing were transformed technologically, institutionally, and culturally into a new bio-data enterprise called genomics. © SAGE Publications 2012. Source

Garcia-Sancho M.,Spanish National Research Council CSIC
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C :Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences

This paper explores the different identities adopted by connective tissue research at the University of Manchester during the second half of the 20th century. By looking at the long-term redefinition of a research programme, it sheds new light on the interactions between different and conflicting levels in the study of biomedicine, such as the local and the global, or the medical and the biological. It also addresses the gap in the literature between the first biomedical complexes after World War II and the emergence of biotechnology. Connective tissue research in Manchester emerged as a field focused on new treatments for rheumatic diseases. During the 1950s and 60s, it absorbed a number of laboratory techniques from biology, namely cell culture and electron microscopy. The transformations in scientific policy during the late 70s and the migration of Manchester researchers to the US led them to adopt recombinant DNA methods, which were borrowed from human genetics. This resulted in the emergence of cell matrix biology, a new field which had one of its reference centres in Manchester. The Manchester story shows the potential of detailed and chronologically wide local studies of patterns of work to understand the mechanisms by which new biomedical tools and institutions interact with long-standing problems and existing affiliations. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Ortega J.L.,Spanish National Research Council CSIC
Online Information Review

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to detect and describe disciplinary differences in the users and use of several social networking sites by scientists. Design/methodology/approach Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientficas (CSIC) (Spanish National Research Council) researchers registered in the most currently relevant academic social network sites (Google Scholar Citations, Academia.edu, ResearchGate (RG) and Mendeley) were analysed. In total, 6,132 profiles were classified according the eight research areas of the CSIC. Findings Results show that Academia.edu is massively populated by humanists and social scientists, while RG is popular among biologists. Disciplinary differences are observed across every platform. Thus, scientists from the humanities and social sciences and natural resources show a significant activity contacting other members. On the contrary, biologists are more passive using social tools. Originality/value This is the first study that analyses the disciplinary performance of a same sample of researchers on a varied number of academic social sites, comparing their numbers across web sites. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Source

San Emeterio J.L.,Spanish National Research Council CSIC | Rodriguez-Hernandez M.A.,Polytechnic University of Valencia
2012 19th International Conference on Systems, Signals and Image Processing, IWSSIP 2012

Results on the use of stationary wavelets for the removal of noise from ultrasonic A-scans, with very low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), are presented. Both synthetic and experimental ultrasonic A-scans have been used. Synthetic ultrasonic traces have been generated using an approximate speckle model which includes frequency dependent attenuation and scattering. Ultrasonic signals acquired from a test block made of austenitic steel have also been denoised. Results obtained using a Cycle-Spinning (CS) implementation of the stationary wavelet transform are compared with those obtained using with the Discrete Wavelet Transform (DWT), using soft thresholding and two decomposition level dependent threshold selection rules (Universal and SURE). It is shown that both DWT and CS denoising procedures yield very bad results when using Universal thresholds. It is also shown that CS denoising using SURE thresholds is an effective approach to denoise ultrasonic signals with low initial SNR, providing very good results for both synthetic and experimental A-scans. © 2012 Institute of Telecommunica. Source

Garcia-Sancho M.,Spanish National Research Council CSIC
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C :Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences

This paper argues that the history of the computer, of the practice of computation and of the notions of 'data' and 'programme' are essential for a critical account of the emergence and implications of data-driven research. In order to show this, I focus on the transition that the investigations on the worm C. elegans experienced in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology of Cambridge (UK). Throughout the 1980s, this research programme evolved from a study of the genetic basis of the worm's development and behaviour to a DNA mapping and sequencing initiative. By examining the changing computing technologies which were used at the Laboratory, I demonstrate that by the time of this transition researchers shifted from modelling the worm's genetic programme on a mainframe apparatus to writing minicomputer programs aimed at providing map and sequence data which was then circulated to other groups working on the genetics of C. elegans. The shift in the worm research should thus not be simply explained in the application of computers which transformed the project from hypothesis-driven to a data-intensive endeavour. The key factor was rather a historically specific technology-in-house and easy programmable minicomputers-which redefined the way of achieving the project's long-standing goal, leading the genetic programme to co-evolve with the practices of data production and distribution. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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