According to the authors of a just-published book, Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics, while scientists have spent centuries studying space, time, energy, and mass, they have not spent much time studying how information is represented in nature, ubiquity, and potential.
Of course, the information revolution, despite its total domination of human society today, is relatively new. Information scientists are just beginning to hit their stride in creating complex models and theories of information. Digital technologies, biological systems, and matter can all be said to be made up of information, and if not for that information, would not exist in the form they do.
Today, ecological and evolutionary informatics is being used to study the environment and biological evolution. According to the University of Edinburg School of Informatics:
“Informatics studies the representation, processing, and communication of information in natural and engineered systems. The central notion is the transformation of information – whether by computation or communication, whether by organisms or artifacts.
Computational systems, whether natural or engineered, are distinguished by their great complexity, as regards both their internal structure and behaviour, and their rich interaction with the environment. Informatics seeks to understand and to construct (or reconstruct) such systems, using analytic, experimental and engineering methodologies.”
Informatics is being applied across a wide range of disciplines. For example, new studies in biomedical informatics are beginning to change the way doctors and medical researchers work in the real world. In medicine today, large numbers of new tools are being used to collect information on individuals and large groups. This has led to the creation of heterogeneous data sets, data integration, new types of knowledge modeling, and representation, and new methodologies in clinical, biological, and public health.
In the following TED Talk, Spencer Hall presents “Bioinformatics: Way to Decipher DNA and Cure Life’s Deadliest Diseases.”