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The construction of meaning in computational integrative biology

, : The construction of meaning in computational integrative biology. Omics 8(2): 95-105

It is the contention of this paper that current data mining work in bioinformatics tends to emphasize data representation to the neglect of another essential aspect of biological systems, namely dynamics. This results in a divorce of both the enterprise and the teaching of bioinformatics from its central aim of meaning-construction. The paper argues that this neglect of dynamics is rooted in an information-processing view of cognitive psychology, and needs to be complemented by a more narrative perspective which emphasizes the explanation, rather than the mere description, of observed patterns in data. This increased emphasis on explanatory narrative in the form of dynamical modeling leads to both a deeper understanding of biological information and a more invigorating approach to the teaching of bioinformatics. The paper presents a cross-curricular teaching framework for a first-year undergraduate course in bioinformatic dynamical modeling which is based around the use of narrative plots.


PMID: 15268769

DOI: 10.1089/1536231041388357

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