University of Southampton and MIT launch WWW research collaboration (fwd)

Stevan Harnad harnad at ECS.SOTON.AC.UK
Fri Nov 3 07:12:32 EST 2006

    ** Apologies for Cross-Posting **

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 2 Nov 2006 15:40:02 -0000
From: Joyce Lewis <jkl2 at>
Subject: University of Southampton and MIT launch WWW research             

University of Southampton and MIT launch World Wide Web research
Joint initiative will analyse and shape Web's evolution
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 2-The University of Southampton and the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology today announced the launch of a
long-term research collaboration that aims to produce the fundamental
scientific advances necessary to guide the future design and use of the
World Wide Web.
The Web Science Research Initiative (WSRI) will generate a research
agenda for understanding the scientific, technical and social challenges
underlying the growth of the Web. Of particular interest is the volume
of information on the Web that documents more and more aspects of human
activity and knowledge. WSRI research projects will weigh such questions
as, how do we access information and assess its reliability?  By what
means may we assure its use complies with social and legal rules?  How
will we preserve the Web over time? 
Commenting on the new initiative, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World
Wide Web and a founding director of WSRI, said, "As the Web celebrates
its first decade of widespread use, we still know surprisingly little
about how it evolved, and we have only scratched the surface of what
could be realized with deeper scientific investigation into its design,
operation and impact on society.
"The Web Science Research Initiative will allow researchers to take the
Web seriously as an object of scientific inquiry, with the goal of
helping to foster the Web's growth and fulfill its great potential as a
powerful tool for humanity."
The joint MIT-Southampton initiative will provide a global forum for
scientists and scholars to collaborate on the first multidisciplinary
scientific research effort specifically designed to study the Web at all
scales of size and complexity, and to develop a new discipline of Web
science for future generations of researchers.
Professor Wendy Hall, head of school at Southampton University School of
Electronics and Computer Science and also, along with Professor Nigel
Shadbolt of ECS, a founding director of WSRI, said: "As the Web
continues to evolve, it is becoming increasingly clear that a new type
of graduate will be required to meet the needs of science and industry.
Already we are seeing evidence of this, with major Internet companies
and research institutions lamenting the fact that there are simply not
enough people with the right mix of skills to meet current and future
employment demands.  In launching WSRI, one of our ultimate aims is to
address this issue."

WSRI will be headquartered at the Computer Science and Artificial
Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT and at the School of Electronics
and Computer Science (ECS) at the University of Southampton. Initial
plans call for joint research projects, workshops and student/faculty
exchanges between the two institutions. 
The initiative will have four founding directors: Tim Berners-Lee,
director of the World Wide Web Consortium, senior research scientist at
MIT and professor at the University of Southampton; Wendy Hall,
professor of computer science and head of the School of Electronics and
Computer Science at the University of Southampton; Nigel Shadbolt,
professor of artificial intelligence at the University of Southampton
and director of the Advanced Knowledge Technologies Interdisciplinary
Research Collaboration;  and Daniel J. Weitzner, Technology and Society
Domain leader of the World Wide Web Consortium and principal research
scientist at MIT. 

About MIT
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is dedicated to advancing
knowledge and educating students in science, technology, and other areas
of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st
century. The Institute has more than 900 faculty and 10,000
undergraduate and graduate students. It is organized into five Schools
-- Architecture and Urban Planning; Engineering; Humanities, Arts, and
Social Sciences; Sloan School of Management; and Science.Current areas
of research and education include neuroscience and the study of the
brain and mind, bioengineering, the environment and sustainable
development, information sciences and technology, new media, financial
technology, and entrepreneurship. 
About the University of Southampton
The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research
institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and
scholarship.  It is one of the UK's top 10 research universities,
offering first-rate opportunities and facilities for study and research
across a wide range of subjects in humanities, health, science and
engineering.  The University has around 20,000 students and over 5000
staff.  Its annual turnover is in the region of ?310 million. With
around 500 researchers, and 900 undergraduate students, the School of
Electronics and Computer Science at Southampton is one of the world's
largest and most successful integrated research groupings, covering
Computer Science, Software Engineering, Electronics, and Electrical
Engineering. ECS has unrivalled depth and breadth of expertise in
world-leading research, new developments and their applications.
Joyce Lewis
Marketing and Communications Manager
School of Electronics and Computer Science
University of Southampton
Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
T +44(0)23 8059 5453
E j.k.lewis at <mailto:j.k.lewis at> 

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