Science can be thought of as an information processing system: much of "research" Involves collecting, integrating, analyzing, synthesizing, managing, and communicating information. But it is an extremely inefficient information processing system. JCR Licklider observed in 1960 that when he wanted to perform some research task, "About 85% of my 'thinking' time was spent getting into a position to think, to make a decision, to learn something I needed to know." It is hard to argue that researchers spend less time today in preparatory tasks: indeed, with the data deluge and powerful supercomputers, that number is surely far higher. We also face increased bureaucratic overheads, estimated in a recent survey as consuming 42% of research time. 

We will take a deep look at the scientific work life cycle, with the goal of identifying ways in which research productivity can be increased dramatically via automation and innovative applications of advanced computing methods and concepts. One might say that we want to revisit Licklider's concept of "man computer symbiosis," in which "men will set the goals, formulate the hypotheses, determine the criteria, and perform the evaluations … [while] computing machines will do the routinizable work that must be done to prepare the way for insights and decisions in technical and scientific thinking."--taking into account the dramatic changes in scientific practice and computing technology that have occurred over the past 50 years.

Topics of interest include:

  • Quantitative studies and models of the scientific work life cycle, within and across disciplines
  • Robot scientists and other approaches to experiment automation
  • Machine-augmented innovation: using technology to enhance creativity and collaboration
  • Computer-aided design
  • Simulating science and scientific processes
  • Alternatives to scientific publication
  • Incentivizing more efficient behaviors
  • Challenges and solutions of massive data
  • New infrastructure to support more efficient working

This workshop will be held July 24-30, 2011, in Park City, Utah, under the auspices of the Institute for Computing in Science

A few words about ICIS: An ICIS workshop is intended as an opportunity for intensive but relaxed brainstorming on topics that we do not normally have time to think about. It is not a place to come promote your latest research or to make the case for increased funding in some area. Come instead with questions and wild ideas. The workshop is a success if participants come away with new thoughts, collaborations, and projects. 

Logistics: Attendance at an ICIS workshop is capped at 30. Attendance for the whole week is strongly preferred. Funding from the US Department of Energy allows us to provide $2,400 per person to cover travel, accommodation, the workshop fee, and living expenses. Please see the workshop Web site for more details on accommodations. A registration form will soon be available.

Some relevant reading: