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Minority Report-Style 'Data CAVE' Created By Purdue Researchers

Minority Report-Style 'Data CAVE' Created By Purdue Researchers
Purdue University graduate student Leif Delgass reviews chemical structures associated with points in a 3-D "scatter plot." The interactive graph is part of a system being developed at Purdue University that could dramatically speed up scientific discovery by enabling researchers to test hypotheses in real time using high-performance computing and artificial intelligence software. (Purdue News Service photo/David Umberger)

"I know what properties I want in order to get my job done, but I don't know what material, what molecular combinations, will give me that. It is a bit like 'Jeopardy.' You know the answer, but you are looking for the question."

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The new approach, called "discovery informatics," enables researchers to test out new theories and see how well their ideas work in real-time using a 3D display. Data is visualized on a 3D 12'x7' display. This allows scientists to see an entire problem, including chemical and atomic structures, graphs and charts. It will be tested in a new Center for Catalyst Design; catalysts account for billions of dollars in annual business revenues - even slight improvments can result in significant increases in profits.

For recent advances in computer-aided data mining techniques, see Data Mining In Three Dimensions. Read more about how discovery informatics goes beyond data-mining; learn more about CAVEs.

(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission from - where science meets fiction.)

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Bill Christensen catalogues the inventions, technology and ideas of science fiction writers at his website, Technovelgy. He is a contributor to Live Science and