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What did they just say? Building a Rosetta stone for geoscience and machine learning

August 31, 2022

Modern advancements in science and engineering are built upon multidisciplinary projects that bring experts together from different fields. Within their respective disciplines, researchers rely on precise terminology for specific ideas, principles, methods, and theories. Hence, the potential for miscommunication is substantial, especially when common words have been adopted by one (or both) group(s) to represent very specific, precise, but, perhaps, different concepts. Under the best circumstances, misunderstanding key terms will lead toward a breakdown of efficiency. Under less optimal conditions, miscommunication will sow frustration, lead to errors, and inhibit scientific breakthroughs. Here, our research group of geoscientists and machine learning experts presents a process to help geoscientists understand the fundamentals of supervised learning by describing the general workflow (i.e., a conceptual pipeline) for supervised learning that must be understood by all the parties involved in a geoscience-machine learning endeavor. Terms critical for machine learning are introduced, defined, and used within the context of an overly simplified mock hydrological study to illustrate their appropriate usage, and then used again in the context of a published geothermal-machine learning study. These key terms are divided into two groups, which are 1) essential to the field of machine learning but are predominantly absent in geoscience or 2) homonyms (i.e., words with the same spelling or pronunciation but with different meanings) between the fields. Lastly, we discuss a few other important homonyms that were not introduced in the general workflow but arise regularly in machine learning applications

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title What did they just say? Building a Rosetta stone for geoscience and machine learning
Authors Stanley Paul Mordensky, John Lipor, Erick Burns, Cary Ruth Lindsey
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70236602
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center