And eat it, too

July 28, 2011 in Data

Mark at Epic Graphic presents a metaphor for the data/knowledge process:

While I love the idea, I think it's missing the most important thing -- the recipe! I'm most interested in how we get from data (raw ingredients) to information (consumible product). Do we follow a specific process - taken straight from a cookbook, for example? Do we wing it, going off memory and experience alone? Are there different recipes that get us to the same end?

More importantly, can the same data produce vastly different information sets depending how it is combined and prepared? This, to me, is the most important question for any data scientist to answer. You mix your raw ingredients blindly and you'll get a trivial, uninteresting result. But depending how you apply your tools, you can explore vastly different aspects of the information set. In this metaphor, that would be cakes, bread, muffins, croissants, challah.... Is there a way to capture them all at once? I think so -- but more on that later. Right now, I'm starving.

(Previously and somewhat related: The data supply chain)

(via FlowingData)

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