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laboratory informatics

currently performing at the level of a trained chemist, and is ‘tantalisingly close’ to having routine applications evaluating large quantities of data that labs simply do not have the capacity to handle. Deployment of such ‘silent automation’ gives scientists more time to focus on complex problems.

Both personal and professional Access to information has changed dramatically with our ability to instantly ‘Google’ any question we can think up. In the chemistry world, we need similar expectations as to how our scientists access information, data, and knowledge. I can find out what Churchill wrote to Stalin in the 1940s, in 0.43 seconds, but have to work harder and wait longer to find what my colleagues are doing. Chemists get enormous volumes of data

from instrumentation and IT systems. But, can they find what they need quickly? To me, the problem is not in too much data, but the lack of specialised data organisation, clever access, and intelligent comprehension. Tis is where technology should and will go in the future. Tere is a lot of talk about Big Data concepts,

and the benefits of cloud technologies. Ten years from now there will be different concepts

offering new benefits; however, the fundamental challenges worth solving are: organisation and access to relevant data (‘small data’, sitting in silos all over the globe, begging to be used productively); and speed and readiness of access, retrieval, and reuse.




Many chemistry organisations are working

to define which data is needed, and how to normalise, structure, and standardise it to the degree needed. An example of a ‘small data silo’ is interpreted

spectral characterisation knowledge. Gaining seamless access to it can result in notable ROI. A renowned spectroscopist recently told us about a request he received for several impurities to

be re-characterised urgently under pressure of FDA data submission. Te work had originally been done by a CRO partner, but no analytical data and knowledge had been transferred between parties. It required extraordinary effort from skilled scientists, compounded by extra expenditure, to respond to the inquiry. A spectral knowledge management and collaboration network focused on impurity resolution would have enabled timely reporting with little effort. As we work on bringing this spectral access to servers and clouds, instant view into joint studies is a reality. Chemistry-driven industries use

sophisticated instrumentation to provide more and more data, and they are increasingly global in nature. Te next decade will be about helping chemists create knowledge-rich value from that data, and about intelligent reuse of the knowledge. It is about a finely designed data architecture that understands the needs, specific objects, and intellectual ways of a chemist user, to enhance their creative abilities by delivering all the required information and computer assisted suggestions through their future device.

Daria Thorp is president of ACD/Labs

Make the Connection…From Data to Intelligence

Unify Analytical and Chemical Data for Greater Efficiency and Productivity

Generate Knowledge from Analytical Information for Faster Decision-Making

Create Intelligence to Gain Insights, and Share Knowledge for Collaborative R&D

Integrate with Existing LIMS, ELNs, and Other Informatics Systems ACD/Spectrus Platform Making Unified Laboratory Intelligence a Reality

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