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No field of study can advance significantly unless it incorporates knowledge and experience from outside that field.

ForGG's picture

I complete agree with the assertions that the advancement of any field of study depends on the incorporation of the knowledge and experience from outside that field. The challenge we are facing right now are becoming more and more complicated so it cannot be understood without the knowledge from different areas. For any field of study, it can benefit a lot from the interaction and insight from outside.

One example is the adaptation of the machine learning to the study of the biology research. In the past, the researcher was trying to classify different types of birds in the by looking into the pictures. It was a quite time consuming and labor intensive work. The researcher needed to go through thousands of pictures of different birds and identify the type for each of them. To accomplish this, they also developed a complex system for the classification, consisting of large amount of criterion and matrices. However, the classification rate was still desperately low even with this system. The introduction of the machine learning can free the researcher from this classification work. You only have to feed the algorithm with enough data and the algorithm will come up with the mathematical model for the classification. The derived system can usually achieve higher classification rate without any human intervenes.

Given the benefit one can get from outside, it is important to develop a systematic and consistent way to incorporate the outside knowledge into our own field. A simple borrow-and-use may be useful sometimes. A more comprehensive incorporation is also needed, which can also be an opportunity to build a robust knowledge structure for this field. For example, the incorporation of the new computational method including machine learning to the biology lead to the creation of a new sub-field called computational biology, which has proved to be a huge success.

To deal with the problems which are becoming more and more complicated, the knowledge from outside the field is usually helpful, sometimes essential. Even for the problems originating within the field, the help from outside can provide some insight and another perspective to think about it.

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