Software Tree organizes programs and documents into an information
infrastructure. By opening the branches of this tree to the
forth level, GO buttons appear. When clicked, they run the
selected programs. An information infrastructure serves several
functions. It simplifies complexity, offers access to published data
in digital form, integrates data, finds patterns, provides a
quantitative foundation for biology, and actively
supports discovery and innovation. In short, itís a productivity
machine for the biology enterprise.
Letís look at an example of the infrastructure at work. Throughout
the biology enterprise, everything ultimately depends on a single
factor Ė the quality of our data. By simplifying complexity, an
information infrastructure routinely improves the quality of
research data by removing unnecessary baggage.
Recall that most data
in biology come in two parts, a number and a unit. When a change
occurs, both the number and the unit can change. Therefore, both
represent variables. This can be a difficult concept to grasp
because it presents a paradox. To wit, two units - control and
experimental - can be the same
and different at the same time. Although the dimensions of a unit
remain constant, whatís inside the unit can change. Such is the
nature of units operating inside a complex biological system, as readily demonstrated with
stereological data. Units tend to be troublemakers because much of
the methodological bias and animal variation exist therein. By
removing units to form proportions and connections, an information
infrastructure improves both the quality and the effectiveness of
our data. Engineering solutions, for example, can operate smoothly with
proportions and connections, but not often with concentrations and
A Software Tree containing roughly 40 programs
that make up the infrastructure.
Brief descriptions of the programs.