Monday, September 19, 2005

Real scientists in the real-world

Distinguished scientists know that the real path to knowledge is by observing interactions in the real world. Whether you are researching drug interactions or software behavior, the only way to get valid results is by eschewing artificial experiments.

Janet and I combine our varied backgrounds in scientific animal research and real-world experience in our Guide Horse experiment, as noted by these great cartoons in “Non Sequitur” by our favorite cartoonist, Wiley Miller:

We also greaty admire empirical researcher Jane Goodall, who believes that the best way to understand social systems is to observe them in the real world. Eschewing contrived experiments with artificial populations, Dr. Goodall performs her research by observing interactions in the real-world and publishes her experiences and observations.

In her book “The chimpanzee: a model for the behaviour of early man?”, Dr. Goodall generalizes her real-world observations and suggests how early man may have shared some of the rules of social behavior that she notes with Chimpanzees. Dr. Goodall's observations provide important rules-of-thumb for understanding complex systems of social interaction.

Jane Goodall with Janet Burleson and Don Burleson

Other Oracle database researchers are using Oracle tools to help save lives, such as Tim Wu, MD OCP, a good friend and a brilliant Oracle scientist who is using Oracle tools to help save lives.

Using tools such as Oracle Discoverer and Oracle Data Mining, scientists like Dr. Wu are observing the real-world as captured inside Oracle databases and using Oracle’s powerful tools to perform heuristic modeling. With tools such as Oracle Data Mining, heuristic techniques can reveal hidden patterns that are impossible to simulate in labs.

More than ever before, Oracle scientists believe that there is very little to gain from lab testing and that valid research is experiential, not experimental.

In this tip titled “Oracle Software Saving Lives” we see the limitations of clinical trials and the valuable research being conducted by Oracle scientists to improve the quality of health care for millions of people worldwide.

In an era marked by selfish corporations, it’s pleasing to see companies like Oracle Corporation who are dedicated to making tools that have a direct impact on improving people’s lives. I’m proud to be an Oracle stockholder and to have a part, however miniscule, in helping Oracle develop these powerful tools that improve that quality of our lives.