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Plain Talk on Complexity

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of World Wide Web, and other experts to speak at conference

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February 28, 2011 | by Megan Fellman

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The inventor of the World Wide Web, a leader at Yahoo! Research and a former U.S. deputy chief technology officer are among the many experts in the hot interdisciplinary field of complex systems who will speak at a conference March 6 and 7 at Northwestern University.

The annual “Complexity Conference” will feature speakers from a variety of disciplines, including law, computer science, sociology, physics and statistics, who will use plain English to deliver an overview of a complexity problem.

The conference is open to the public and will be held at the James L. Allen Center, 2169 Campus Drive. Registration is required, and there is a fee for non-Northwestern people.

Of particular note is the line-up of speakers the afternoon of Monday, March 7:

1:30 to 2:20 p.m. -- Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, will speak on “The Web as a Decentralized System.” In 1989, while working at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory, he proposed a global hypertext project, which came to be known as the World Wide Web.

2:20 to 3:10 p.m. -- Beth Simone Noveck, who recently served in the White House as U.S. deputy chief technology officer, will speak on “Networked Governance” and touch on recent events in the Middle East and the role of social networks.

3:40 to 4:30 p.m. -- Luis Amaral, professor of chemical and biological engineering, Northwestern University, will speak on “Network Cartography as a Tool for Hypothesis Generation.”

4:30 to 5:20 p.m. -- Duncan J. Watts, head of the human social dynamics group at Yahoo! Research will speak on “Using the Web to Do Social Science.” He is the author of the books “Small Worlds: The Dynamics of Networks between Order and Randomness” and “Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age.”

The conference is organized by the Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems (NICO) and the Science of Networks in Communities (SONIC) research group at Northwestern.

For more information, including a schedule, go to http://www.northwestern.edu/nico/complexity-conference11/index.html.