Virtual Seminar on How Computers Have Changed Science and Predictions on How That Will Continue

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Dr Joanna Leng

Our  LIV.DAT Virtual Seminar Series – Spring 2022 will continue on Tuesday 10th May 2022 at 14:00 BST. The seminar will be given by Dr Joanna Leng, Senior Research Software Engineer at the University of Leeds who will present “How computers have changed science and predictions on how that will continue”, a personal talk about her career and the computing techniques and technologies she has used and seen being developed. The focus is on the impact of these on the scientific process and its practices.

Seminars in this series cover R&D outside of the LIV.DAT centre’s core research areas and give an insight into cutting edge research in this area. At the end of the talk there will be a Q&A session with the speaker.


About the talk

In the middle of the last century, the first computers were designed and built. At that time researchers thought that the only contribution computers and their related technologies could have to research was through the development of mathematical models that could be turned into computer simulations. Simulation and the computational method became known as the third and newest pillar of science, complementing and adding to the other modes which are experimentation and/or observation and theory. Traditionally it takes advantage of advanced computing including HPC (High Performance Computing) and visualization however this now includes but is not limited to cloud, data/video streaming and computer interactivity.

More recently data science and in particular AI/ML have become increasingly popular research methods that extract value from data. These methods are based on deeply statistical methods and have a distinctly different meaning for hypothesis to that used in the scientific method. There is an ongoing discussion on whether this is the fourth pillar of science.

Both computational science and data science have led to difficulties in reproducibility which is critical when validating the results of a scientific project. This has led to the open data and open research initiatives. As time passes it seems likely increasing more changes will be needed to the scientific method and the research environment to accommodate the use and need for computers in research.

The combination of new computing technologies and the resulting tools and practices required to make use of them, new materials and new physics mean more changes are to come


About the speaker

Dr Joanna Leng is a Senior Research Software Engineer at The University of Leeds. Her focus is on Research Computing and Imaging and she has experience in both visualization of simulation data and observational data. She graduated from The University of Leeds with a BSc in Biophysics followed by both an MSc and PhD in Computer Science from the University of Manchester. She has worked on both academic visualization services and a national flagship HPC service as well as local and regional HPC services and is currently developing software in partnerships with Diamond Light Source, SuperSTEM and the SCI Institute in Utah.


How to attend

Participation is free, but you need to register to attend this and other webinars in the series. For more information and how to register please follow this link. Once registered, you will receive the Zoom connection details in the morning of the online seminar.


The seminar details

Speaker: Dr Joanna Leng (Senior Research Software Engineer, University of Leeds)

Seminar title: “How computers have changed science and predictions on how that will continue”

Date/Time: Tuesday 10 May at 14:00 BST