The latest NeSC newsletter http://www.nesc.ac.uk/news/newsletter/November07.pdf features a report on the Chris Date Lecture last month. Highlights:
"Bill Pike (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory), in his presentation on integrating knowledge models into the scientific analysis process [...] described the challenge of trying to capture scientific knowledge as it is created, with workflow models that describe the process of discovery. In this way, the knowledge of what was discovered can be connected with
the knowledge of how the discovery was made."
"If future generations of scientists are to understand the work of the present, we have to make sure they have access to the processes by which our knowledge is being formed. The big problem is that, if you include all the information about all the people, organisations, tools, resources and situations that feed into a particular piece of knowledge, the sheer quantity of data will rapidly become overwhelming. We need to find ways to filter this knowledge to create sensible structures... "
"One method for explicitly representing knowledge was presented by Alberto Canas (Institute for Human and Machine Cognition). The concept maps that he discussed are less ambiguous than natural language, but not as formal as symbolic logic. Designed to be read by humans, not machines, they have proved useful for finding holes and misconceptions in knowledge, and for understanding how an expert thinks. These maps are composed of concepts joined up by linking phrases to form propositions: the logical structure expressed in these linking phrases is what distinguishes concept maps from similar-looking, but less structured descriptions such as "mind maps". "