4D Workshop: Deep-time Data Driven Discovery and the Evolution of Earth

The 4D Workshop was convened from June 4-6, 2018 to explore ways to advance our understanding of Earth’s complex co-evolving geosphere and biosphere through the collection, analysis, and visualization of large and growing data resources.

4D Workshop Report
4D Workshop
Each day’s collaborative, interdisciplinary program included a small number of plenary talks followed by a series of breakout groups. Credit: Jenn Mays.

The 4D Workshop: Deep-time Data Driven Discovery and the Evolution of Earth brought together 150 participants and observers from a variety of fields, including geology, biology, data science, modeling & visualization, and science administration, to explore the evolution of our planet and ourselves. The workshop was convened from 4-6 June 2018 at the historic Carnegie Institution for Science Headquarters in downtown Washington, DC and focused on the application of data-driven discovery techniques to important “big questions” in the earth and life sciences:

  • What was the geological and geochemical context for life’s origins?

  • Did biological catalysis follow from the chemistry of rocks and minerals?

  • How did Earth’s earliest microbial life interact with and influence the geosphere?

  • How did plate tectonics begin and to what extent are Earth’s surface and deep interior linked?

  • When, and at what rate, did photosynthesis modify our planet’s near-surface environment?

  • How did life’s subsequent complexification and migration to land alter geological and geochemical processes?

4D Workshop Poster Session and Reception
One of the two poster session receptions. Credit: Jenn Mays.

Each day’s collaborative, interdisciplinary program included a small number of plenary talks followed by a series of breakout groups. The breakout groups targeted particular subjects in data-driven discovery, and together the participants of each group assembled a set of PowerPoint slides summarizing their discussion. Workshop organizers are using these slides, along with other input gathered at the workshop, to compose a white paper outlining needs and opportunities in data-driven discovery.

Recordings of the workshop’s plenary talks, as well as breakout group PowerPoint slides, are available on the workshop website’s archive page.

The workshop was led by an Organizing Committee, chaired by Yana Bromberg (Rutgers University) and Robert Hazen (Carnegie Institution for Science), and a Senior Advisory Council, chaired by Marcia McNutt (National Academy of Sciences).

Top photo credit John Strom.

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