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2011 Annual Science Report

University of Hawaii, Manoa Reporting  |  SEP 2010 – AUG 2011

AIRFrame Technical Infrastructure and Visualization Software Evaluation

Project Summary

We have analyzed over four thousand astrobiology articles from the scientific press, published over ten years to search for clues about their underlying connections. This information can be used to build tools and technologies that guide scientists quickly across vast, interdisciplinary libraries towards the diverse works of most relevance to them.

4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

AIRFrame analyzes published and unpublished documents to identify and visualize implicit relationships between astrobiology’s diverse constituent fields. The main goal of the AIRFrame project is to allow researchers and the public to discover related information from different disciplines.

During the reporting period, AIRFrame researchers harvested and analyzed over four thousand astrobiology publications and cited works over ten years, and compared the results of several bibliometric and computational document clustering methods to provide a measurement of the interdisciplinarity of astrobiology researchers, teams and papers, to reveal implicit connections between them, and to problematize the assignment of papers to rigid topical categories in scientific databases. By analyzing not just the text of astrobiology papers but also the abstracts of the papers they cite, we hope to transcend some of the semantic barriers between researchers from different fields, and develop a robust method to reveal implicit connections across all NAI teams, and interdisciplinary scientific collaborations more generally. We are also developing a new algorithm for selecting which words in a corpus of astrobiology documents contribute the most to the mutual information between the words and the documents, to generate data-driven topic labels for astrobiology document subsets, and evaluate the extent to which NAI goals and subgoals are being addressed by NAI research output.

Figure 1: Gazan presents the AIRFRAME concept to a summer workshop of young scientists.. ​During the reporting period 2010-2011, UHNAI Co-I Rich Gazan has been active in recruiting undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral help for his project to measure the interdisciplinarity of astrobiology.

    Rich Gazan
    Mike Gowanlock
    Graduate Student

    Lisa Miller
    Graduate Student

    Objective 1.1
    Formation and evolution of habitable planets.

    Objective 1.2
    Indirect and direct astronomical observations of extrasolar habitable planets.

    Objective 2.1
    Mars exploration.

    Objective 2.2
    Outer Solar System exploration

    Objective 3.1
    Sources of prebiotic materials and catalysts

    Objective 3.2
    Origins and evolution of functional biomolecules

    Objective 3.3
    Origins of energy transduction

    Objective 3.4
    Origins of cellularity and protobiological systems

    Objective 4.1
    Earth's early biosphere.

    Objective 4.2
    Production of complex life.

    Objective 4.3
    Effects of extraterrestrial events upon the biosphere

    Objective 5.1
    Environment-dependent, molecular evolution in microorganisms

    Objective 5.2
    Co-evolution of microbial communities

    Objective 5.3
    Biochemical adaptation to extreme environments

    Objective 6.1
    Effects of environmental changes on microbial ecosystems

    Objective 6.2
    Adaptation and evolution of life beyond Earth

    Objective 7.1
    Biosignatures to be sought in Solar System materials

    Objective 7.2
    Biosignatures to be sought in nearby planetary systems