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16 Mar / 2014
Author: Alberto Cottica Tags: , , , Comments: 0

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Designing for emergent effects in social dynamics may seem a contradiction in terms, and – if left unqualified – it is. And yet it is a very tempting goal for INSITErs, as we progress on our quest to imbuing innovation activities with social values that would make any changes resulting from such activities “good”, for some value of good. Just one year ago, by initiative of the University of Alicante group, we gathered an unusual bunch of policy makers and network scientists to look at public policy issues – and the data trail they leave to look at this very question. We called this gathering Masters of Networks.

I like to think of MoN as a success. I enjoyed it immensely; more importantly, it spawned a collaboration between the University of Bordeaux group (Benjamin Renoust in particular) and the World Bank, brokered by UNDP’s Millie Begovic. Millie also came up with a precious testimony of just how fruitful such diverse collaboration can be. Granted, dialog across our different languages was not always easy, but this is part and parcel of interdisciplinarity.

Since this approach seems to have worked, we are doing the obvious thing: iterating. Masters of Networks 2 takes place in Rome, at The Hub Roma, on April 9th and 10th 2014. Think of it as an interdisciplinary hackathon around network science, with policy makers to ask relevant question, network scientists to help model it, data scientists to crunch the data and policy makers again to interpret the results. We will be working on two issues, in parallel:

  • one group will be looking at the network of conversation of an online community called Edgeryders. The idea is test if the notion of network entanglement (recently proposed by a MoN1 protagonist, Benjamin Renoust) can be used to detect emerging specialization in an online conversation. If so, it would be extremely useful for people interested in collective intelligence; all other things being equal, specialization allows online conversations to scale without becoming overwhelming, and online communities to tackle more problems in parallel.
  • the other group will be looking at some subset of the OpenCoesione dataset (massive: it maps 700,000 projects funded by cohesion funds), looking for regularities much in the same way of the exercise run on World Bank procurement data mentioned above.

For now, we have confirmed the presence of:

  • Luca Mearelli, Wikitalia
  • Guy Melançon, INRIA
  • Raffaele Miniaci
  • Giovanni Ponti, University of Alicante
  • Benjamin Renoust, University of Bordeaux
  • Khatuna Sandroshvili, UNDP Georgia
  • myself, University of Alicante and Edgeryders
  • Aline Pennisi, Italy’s State accounting service
  • Fabrizio Cobis, Nicola Bianchi and Roberto Pagnani, Italy’s Education ministry
  • Gaia Marcus, Royal Society of Arts.
  • Federico Bo, Cineama
  • Mathieu Ferry, Sciences Po
  • Tito Bianchi, DPS-UVAL
  • Carlotta Mismetti-Capua,  D di Repubblica
  • Jonne Catshoek, Elva
  • Matteo Fortini, University of Bologna
  • Paolo Gurisatti, ECLT

More invitations are in the loop; more importantly, everyone is welcome: the event is completely open. If you are interested in public policies, networks science, data science; if you think you would enjoy an interdisciplinary public policy hackathon-ish, Masters of Networks is the place for you. It is also free of charge, though we will have to cap the number of attendees to about 20 people. If you want to attend, just drop me a line of email at alberto [at] cottica [dot] net. We might even be able to help you if you  wish to attend and need support! How cool is that? More detailed information to be released as they come. Are you ready?

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