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Automated diagnosis of data-model conflicts using metadata

, : Automated diagnosis of data-model conflicts using metadata. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association 6(5): 374-392

The authors describe a methodology for helping computational biologists diagnose discrepancies they encounter between experimental data and the predictions of scientific models. The authors call these discrepancies data-model conflicts. They have built a prototype system to help scientists resolve these conflicts in a more systematic, evidence-based manner. In computational biology, data-model conflicts are the result of complex computations in which data and models are transformed and evaluated. Increasingly, the data, models, and tools employed in these computations come from diverse and distributed resources, contributing to a widening gap between the scientist and the original context in which these resources were produced. This contextual rift can contribute to the misuse of scientific data or tools and amplifies the problem of diagnosing data-model conflicts. The authors' hypothesis is that systematic collection of metadata about a computational process can help bridge the contextual rift and provide information for supporting automated diagnosis of these conflicts. The methodology involves three major steps. First, the authors decompose the data-model evaluation process into abstract functional components. Next, they use this process decomposition to enumerate the possible causes of the data-model conflict and direct the acquisition of diagnostically relevant metadata. Finally, they use evidence statically and dynamically generated from the metadata collected to identify the most likely causes of the given conflict. They describe how these methods are implemented in a knowledge-based system called GRENDEL and show how GRENDEL can be used to help diagnose conflicts between experimental data and computationally built structural models of the 30S ribosomal subunit.


PMID: 10495098

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