Category Archives: Web Science Trust News

Professors Nigel Shadbolt and Sir Tim Berners-Lee named as co-directors of a new world-leading Open Data Institute

ECS Professors Nigel Shadbolt and Sir Tim Berners-Lee have been named as co-directors of a new world-leading Open Data Institute, established by the UK Government to innovate, exploit and research Open Data opportunities.

The new Institute will be based in Shoreditch, the newly designated ‘Tech City UK’ area of London, where there is a huge concentration of Web 2.0 start-ups, and it will involve business and academic institutions.

The Open Data Institute is intended to help demonstrate the commercial value of public data and the impact of open data policies on the realisation of this value. The Institute will also help develop the capability of UK businesses to exploit open data opportunities, with support from University researchers. It will help the public sector use its own data more effectively and it will engage with developers and the private and public sectors to build supply chains and commercial outlets for public data. The Government is to commit up to £10m over five years to support the Open Data Institute through the Technology Strategy Board – in a match-funded collaboration with industry and academic centres.

Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, Public Sector Transparency board member and new director of the ODI, said: “One of the reasons the Web worked was because people reused each other’s content in ways never imagined by those who created it. The same will be true of Open Data. The Institute will allow us to provide the tools, skills and methods to support the creation of new value using Open Government Data.”

Professor Nigel Shadbolt, Head of the Web and Internet Science Group at ECS-Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton, Public Sector Transparency board member and new director of the ODI said:

“Data is the new raw material of the 21st century and the UK is world-leading in the release of Open Government Data. Open Government Data not only increases transparency and accountability but also creates economic and social value. The Institute will help business to realise this value and foster a generation of open data entrepreneurs.”

The new Institute is one of a number of measures that the Government announced today as part of a larger initiative to boost UK economic growth.

Tim Berners-Lee and Martin Eakes join Ford Foundation Board

NEW YORK, Sept. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — The Ford Foundation Board of Trustees today announced the election of two new members, Martin Eakes and Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

“Martin is one of the most successful social entrepreneurs of his generation, having founded a series of national nonprofit organizations. Tim’s work in the early development of the World Wide Web makes him one of the great innovators of his generation. They have launched ideas and built institutions that have had enormous impact in the lives of people around the country and around the world,” said Luis Ubinas, president of the Ford Foundation. “Together they represent an extraordinary addition to the Ford Foundation’s board.”

Eakes co-founded and leads Self-Help, a community development lender, which has provided almost $6 billion in financing to more than 60,000 homebuyers, small businesses, and nonprofits. Mr. Eakes also founded the Center for Responsible Lending, a leading research and advocacy organization for equitable banking practices. Most recently, Eakes has built a network of credit unions in North Carolina and California with more than $900 million in assets.

Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989. He is currently a professor at MIT as the 3Com Founders Professor of Engineering in the School of Engineering with a joint appointment in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He is also a professor in the Electronics and Computer Science Department at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom.

Berners-Lee is director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web. He is director of the Web Science Trust, which supports the global development of Web science. He is also founder of the World Wide Web Foundation, launched in 2009 to fund and coordinate efforts to advance the potential of the Web to benefit humanity.

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The Second International Workshop on Web Science and Information Exchange in the Medical Web (MedEX 2011)

MedEX 2011 Workshop

The Second International Workshop on Web Science and Information Exchange in the Medical Web (MedEX 2011)

October 28, Glasgow, UK, co-located with the 20th ACM Conference on Information and Knowledge Management 2011

Visit MedEX 2011 Workshop

The amount of Social Media Data dealing with medical and health issues increased significantly in the last couple of years. Medical Social Media Data now provides a new source of information within information gain-ing contexts. Facts, experiences, opinions or information on behaviour can be found in the Medicine 2.0 and could support a broad range of applications. Health organizations monitor online news repositories and web pages for relevant data on epidemiological events. Physicians learn about the experiences of their colleagues provided through social media platforms: such as weblogs, or forums. Moreover, patients can search for information or experiences of others which can lead to patient empowerment.

This workshop is devoted to the technologies for dealing with social- and multi media for medical information gathering and exchange. This specific data and the processes of information gathering poses many chal-lenges given the increasing content on the Web and the trade off of filtering noise at the cost of losing information which is potentially relevant. These issues are compounded by their impact on both information producers and consumers in the health care community.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee inducted to IEEE Computer Society Artificial Intelligence ‘Hall of Fame’

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Professor of Computer Science in ECS-Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton, has been named as one of 10 trailblazers in artificial intelligence research and inducted into the inaugural IEEE Intelligent Systems Hall of Fame. In addition to Sir Tim, inventor of the World Wide Web, the list includes world-leading AI pioneers Noam Chomsky, Douglas Engelbart, and Marvin Minsky

The IEEE Intelligent Systems editorial and advisory boards launched the annual Hall of Fame contest to express appreciation and respect for the pioneers who have made significant contributions to the field of AI and intelligent systems and to honour them for their notable impact and influence on the field and society.

“When we began our search for candidates, it quickly became clear that there was an immense number of amazing, talented individuals conducting relevant and innovative research in the AI and intelligent systems field across the globe. The task of selecting from such an accomplished list was an extremely difficult process,” said IEEE Intelligent Systems Editor in Chief Fei-Yue Wang.

Launched more than 25 years ago, IEEE Intelligent Systems was one of the first technical magazines that emerged to cover the then-new field of AI, which explores the design and development of intelligent machines. Today, AI techniques are used for data mining, medical diagnosis, and logistics; however, chess-playing computers, autonomous vehicles, and computer game-show contestants such as IBM’s Watson are more successful at captivating the popular imagination.

“It is always exciting to see that there are people with such passion in a field, and we hope that our Hall of Fame will be a way to recognize and promote creative work and progress in AI and intelligent systems,” Wang said.

Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee accepted a Chair in Computer Science at Southampton in 2005. He is also a Founder Director of the Web Science Trust, which is based at the University of Southampton.
The inaugural members of the Hall of Fame are:

·        Tim Berners-Lee, the 3Com Founders Professor of Engineering and head of the Decentralized Information Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology;  a professor at the University of Southampton; director of the World Wide Web Consortium; and a founding director of the Web Science Trust;

·        Noam Chomsky, linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and MIT professor noted for his theory of generative grammar that revolutionized the scientific study of language;
·        Douglas Engelbart, head of a Stanford Research Institute group that developed the first computer mouse, hypertext, networked computers, and precursors to GUIs;

·        Edward Albert Feigenbaum, a Stanford University professor emeritus of computer science and cofounder of applied AI startup firms IntelliCorp, Teknowledge, and Design Power;

·        John McCarthy, a Stanford and MIT professor who proposed Lisp, time-sharing computer systems, and program correctness proofs; credited with coining the term “AI”;

·        Marvin Minsky, professor at MIT who developed the Society of Mind theory with Seymour Papert and many other advances in cognitive theory;

·        Nils J. Nilsson, professor of engineering emeritus at Stanford, who while at SRI International developed statistical and neural-network approaches to pattern recognition;

·        Judea Pearl, a professor of computer science and statistics at University of California Los Angeles and director of its Cognitive Systems Laboratory;  best known for introducing the probabilistic approach to AI and developing Bayesian networks as  inference tools;

·        Raj Reddy, the Mozah Bint Nasser University Professor of Computer Science and Robotics in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University; and

·        Lotfi Zadeh, a University of California, Berkeley computer science professor known for his work on soft computing, fuzzy logic, and neural-net theory.

Web Science Doctoral Summer School at DERI

On July 6-13, the second Web Science Doctoral Summer School was held in Galway, Ireland, drawing over 50 attendees from across Europe, as well as from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the USA. Hosted by the National University of Ireland’s Digital Enterprise Research Institute, the summer school included lectures and tutorials from a number of eminent scholars as well as group mini-projects and a student poster session.


The school opened with a keynote from Wendy Hall, discussing how the social links that make us human are key to understanding “social machines” like the Web. She touched also on challenges — both for studying Web Science (like the fast-moving nature of the Web and the need to bridge technologists and social scientists) and for the continued success of the Web itself (such as net neutrality, freedom from paywalls, and the need for failure tolerance).

Talks were multidisciplinary: for instance, graph and network analysis were discussed from the perspectives of sociology and computer science, using communications networks, online social networks, and internet infrastructure as examples.

Social web topics were particularly prominent, with talks on mining and monitoring social media, analyzing the dynamics and structure of online social networks, and privacy and data portability in online and mobile social networking. Theoretical perspectives on social computational systems and the Web of human experience also contributed to this thread.  The Semantic Web and Linked Data were also discussed in several presentations, especially in the context of open government data and social web vocabulary SIOC.

The social highlight of the summer school was a day trip to the Aran Islands, the westernmost point of Europe, where wonderful sunny weather resulted in quite a few unexpected sunburns, as well as a human hashtag spelling out #webscience2011

The best miniproject went to Afnan Al-Subaihin, Hugo Hromic, and Natalia Pobedina for their experiments with Twitter bots to help encourage newcomers to integrate into communities. Other group projects involved analyzing existing webscience research to improve the WebScience butterfly, analyzing the online Web science community, understanding the social network of the summer school using nodeXL and a participant survey, and building a semantic web application using the Sindice API.

The best poster went to Ioana Hulpus for her “Bridging the gap between document hierarchical clustering and human knowledge”. Selected poster proceedings are at

PDFs of all the presentations can be downloaded from:

Video lectures, which were live streamed during the summer school, are now available online via Vimeo:

Mark your calendar: The next Web Science Doctoral Summer School will be held in Leiden, The Netherlands, 9-13 July 2012.

Reported by Jodi Schneider