The Status of Simulations

Most of what would ordinarily be blogging time this morning got used up writing a response to a question at the
Physics Stack Exchange. But having put all that effort in over there, I might as well put it to use here, too…

The question comes from a person who did a poster on terminology at the recently concluded American Geophysical Union meeting, offering the following definition of “data”:

Values collected as part of a scientific investigation; may be qualified as ‘science data’. This includes uncalibrated values (raw data), derived values (calibrated data), and other transformations of the values (processed data).

In response, he got a note saying:

You have a bias here towards observational data. Need to recognize that a lot of data comes from models and analyses.

The question is phrased as, basically, “What constitutes ‘data?'” but really it’s about the status given to simulation results within science.

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