To outer space and the deep ocean, add “beneath the ice” to the list of rarely charted frontiers of science exploration. There have been very few expeditions where robots dived beneath polar ice shelves to characterize and measure them. UC Davis engineering professor Alexander Forrest recently returned from one of them.
Of the vast wealth of information unlocked by the Internet, most is plain text. The data necessary to answer myriad questions – about, say, the correlations between the industrial use of certain chemicals and incidents of disease, or between patterns of news coverage and voter-poll results – may all be online. But extracting it from plain text and organizing it for quantitative analysis may be prohibitively time consuming.