Small code scrubs big database

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Joe Flannery Sutherland is the winner of the 2020 Open Research Challenge. photo: Joe Flannery Sutherland

The winning entry in the 2020 Open Research Challenge provides a method to clean up paleontological datasets

How did organisms respond to climatic changes in the past? Why did some species survive mass extinctions? There are many unanswered questions in paleontology that can only be answered through the use of Big Data. – And only if the databases are well sorted.

One problem with the databases is the assignment to classes, the taxonomy, because this changes with new findings. Documenting the changes is difficult, and often corrections are not incorporated into existing data stores. Consequently, researchers are forced to ensure that their data is up to date before they can pursue their real questions. Researchers at FAU, who work with databases very often, asked young scientists for a solution to this problem. Read more…