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.

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.

Daniel Weitzner to be named as new Deputy CTO for Internet Policy at the White House

Daniel Weitzner, a Commerce Department official, is expected to be named deputy chief technology officer for Internet policy, a spot previously held by Andrew McLaughlin.

GovFresh reported last week an OSTP representative had confirmed the pick, but it has not yet been formally announced.

At OSTP, Weitzner will join two other deputy CTOs, recently appointed Chris Vein, who focuses on innovation and Scott Deutchman, who focuses on telecommunications policy. All three will work under federal CTO Aneesh Chopra.

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