CFP Student Conference Complexity Science

March 13, 2014

artworkThink your spaghetti monster networks are complex? Think again! The student conference on complexity science promises to reveal complexity in the most diverse things: fish, ant hills, traffic, and of course networks of every conceivable type. The University of Southampton’s Institute for Complex Systems Simulation is organising this year’s student conference in complexity science held in Brighton, bringing together a multi-disciplinary bunch of UK-based students crossing the physical and social sciences, as well as the Humanities (Archaeology will definitely be represented). Keynotes include Mark Newman (reason enough for networky people to attend), Nigel Gilbert (editor of JASSS), and Eörs Szathmáry (theoretical evolutionary biology). The Call for papers is out now and will be open until 14 April.

Check out the conference website for more info.

The Student Conference on Complexity Science (SCCS) is the largest UK conference for early-career researchers working under the interdisciplinary framework of Complex Systems, with a particular focus on computational modelling, simulation and network analysis. Since 2010, this conference series has brought together PhD students and early career researchers from both the UK and overseas, whose interests span areas as diverse as quantum physics, ecological food webs or the economics of happiness. This interdisciplinary nature of the conference is reflected by the diversity of keynote speakers as well as practical, hands-on workshops.

The SCCS is the perfect forum in which to present your work, discuss your ideas and gain useful skills. If your work comes under the umbrella of complexity science, then we want to hear from you! Thanks to the generosity of the Institute for Complex Systems Simulation we will be able to offer a number of student travel bursaries. The deadline for the call for abstracts is 14th April 2014.


Student Conference Complexity Science

January 7, 2014

SCCSSouthampton has a great centre for Complexity Science, and this summer they will be hosting the ‘Student Conference on Complexity Science‘! This is the fourth edition of the conference (I think) but this is the very first time with an open call for papers and sessions! The conference is organised in turn by one of the UK Complexity Science Doctoral Training Centres, and it features an extremely eclectic mix of student papers and disciplines. Including archaeology of course. In fact, archaeologist Iza Romanowska is one of the co-ordinators of the event. The SCCS is all over the social-media channels, for more info you can check out their website, Facebook page, follow them on Twitter or Youtube channel. Keynotes include Nigel Gilbert (sociologist, editor of Journal of Social Systems Simulation) and Eörs Szathmáry (evolutionary biologist).

Dates for your calendar:
Call for Sessions: 12 p.m. (UTC) 27th Jan 2014
Call for Papers opens: 17th Feb 2014
Call for Papers: 12 p.m. (UTC) 26th May 2014
Papers announced: 16th Jun 2014

SCCS 2014: 19th-22nd Aug 2014


Videos Hestia2 seminar online

August 14, 2013

Hestia_logo_whtLast month we organised a seminar on linked data and spatial networks in Southampton and as you know I really enjoyed it. Videos and slides of presentations of the seminar are now available on The Connected Past website. There are hours of footage and books-worth of slides on there for you to enjoy! This was only the first in a series of Hestia2 events. More info on Hestia2, future seminars and online resources can be found on our new website. Looking forward to seeing you at one of our future seminars!

The Southampton Hestia2 seminar aimed to explore the potential of innovative spatial networks and linked data techniques for research and work in the higher education, public and cultural heritage sectors. It attracted an audience with diverse backgrounds and discussions really benefited from this. The seminar is part of Hestia2, a public engagement project aimed at introducing a series of conceptual and practical innovations to the spatial reading and visualisation of texts. Following on from the AHRC-funded initiative ‘Network, Relation, Flow: Imaginations of Space in Herodotus’s Histories’ (Hestia), Hestia2 represents a deliberate shift from experimenting with geospatial analysis of a single text to making Hestia’s outcomes available to new audiences and widely applicable to other texts through a seminar series, online platform, blog and learning materials with the purpose of fostering knowledge exchange between researchers and non-academics, and generating public interest and engagement in this field.


Mathematics of Networks meeting

June 14, 2013

graphSome might be interested to attend the 12th mathematics of networks meeting, held on 16 September 2013 at the University of Southampton (conveniently the day before The Connected Past workshop which we will announce next week :) All previous meetings have focused on applied examples of network science, so it should be a multi-disciplinary informal seminar with plenty of social science network studies and maybe even some from Humanities (send in your abstracts humanists!).

More info on the Mathematics of Networks website and below.

The Twelfth Mathematics of Networks meeting will be held at the University of Southampton on 16th September 2013. The conference brings together people from many research backgrounds who have a common interest in using mathematical tools for problems in the study of networks. The theme of this meeting is the mathematics of Social Networks. While any presentations related to mathematics and networking will be considered, those on Social Networks will be given preference. Thanks to Ben Parker for organising this Mathematics of Networks meeting.

This meeting is sponsored and hosted by the Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute and the Southampton Initiative in Mathematical Modelling.


Hestia2 seminar: registration open

May 23, 2013

hestiaThe Hestia project is pleased to announce “HESTIA2: Exploring spatial networks through ancient sources”, a one-day seminar on spatial network analysis and linked data in Classical studies, archaeology and cultural heritage.

The seminar will be held at The University of Southampton on 18 July. Registration for this event is free, but we do recommend registering as early as possible since the number of available places is limited. More information, including abstracts and registration, can be found on The Connected Past website.

We are looking forward to welcoming you to Southampton!

Elton Barker, Stefan Bouzarovski, Leif Isaksen and Tom Brughmans

HESTIA2: Exploring spatial networks through ancient sources

University of Southampton 18th July 2013
Organisers: Elton Barker, Stefan Bouzarovski, Leif Isaksen and Tom Brughmans
In collaboration with The Connected Past

A free one-day seminar on spatial network analysis in archaeology, history, classics, teaching and commercial archaeology.

Spatial relationships appear throughout our sources about the past: from the ancient roads that connect cities, or ancient authors mentioning political alliances between places, to the stratigraphic contexts archaeologists deal with in their fieldwork. However, as datasets about the past become increasingly large, spatial relationships become ever more difficult to disentangle. Network visualization and analysis allow us to address such spatial relationships explicitly and directly. This seminar aims to explore the potential of these innovative techniques for research in the higher education, public and cultural heritage sectors.

The seminar is part of Hestia2, a public engagement project aimed at introducing a series of conceptual and practical innovations to the spatial reading and visualisation of texts. Following on from the AHRC-funded initiative ‘Network, Relation, Flow: Imaginations of Space in Herodotus’s Histories’ (Hestia), Hestia2 represents a deliberate shift from experimenting with geospatial analysis of a single text to making Hestia’s outcomes available to new audiences and widely applicable to other texts through a seminar series, online platform, blog and learning materials with the purpose of fostering knowledge exchange between researchers and non-academics, and generating public interest and engagement in this field.

Registration

Registration for this event is now open. Please follow the instructions on the HESTIA2 Eventbrite page to obtain your ticket (no payment card needed).

The HESTIA2 seminar is free to attend but registration is required. Since places are limited we suggest you register as soon as possible.

Programme

11:00 Registration and coffee

11:30 HESTIA-team

  • Welcome and introduction to HESTIA and HESTIA2

12:00 Maximilian Schich (The University of Texas at Dallas)

12:25 Alex Godden (Hampshire County Council)

12:50 John Goodwin (Ordnance Survey)

13:15 Discussion

13:35 Tea and coffee break

13:55 Terhi Nurmikko (University of Southampton)

14:20 Kate Byrne (University of Edinburgh)

14:45 Giorgio Uboldi (Politecnico di Milano)

15:10 Discussion

15:35 Tea and coffee break

16:00 Keith May (English Heritage)

16:25 Paul Cripps (University of South Wales)


Archaeology in the scanner

February 7, 2013

Screen shot 2013-02-03 at 14.06.17Southampton made the news last week with some of our scanning work. It turns out we have a massive room-sized scanner (misleadingly called a MICRO-CT scanner) at our imaging centre. It is capable of scanning stuff with a resolution of less than 0.1mm and given its size it can do this for quite big objects. Our Archaeological Computing Research Group could not wait to get their hands on this new toy, and collaborated with the British Museum to scan a large cauldron excavated at Chiseldon. The cauldron itself is actually not excavated since it is too fragile. Instead, the archaeologists lifted the big find encased in its soil matrix to preserve it until technologies come along that can tell us more about this fragile find. It seems that this time has now come! With this scanner the archaeologists were able to explore the cauldron by looking through the earth layers without excavating it.

Have a look at the video and read the article on the BBC website.


Portus and ACRG work on BBC 1

December 11, 2012

Visualisation of Harbour produced by BBC for Rome’s Lost Empire in collaboration with Portus Project

Visualisation of Harbour produced by BBC for Rome’s Lost Empire in collaboration with Portus Project

On Sunday a show called Rome’s Lost Empire featured loads of great work by Southampton archaeologists. Since 2007 a team led by Prof. Simon Keay and Dr. Graeme Earl has been excavating at Portus, the port of the city of ancient Rome. The BBC 1 show reveals some of their latest findings, as well as the 3D modelling work of our Archaeological Computing Research Group team.

You can watch the show on BBC iPlayer.

Read more about the computer models that were created for this show on the Portus blog. There you can also read a message by Prof. Simon Keay about the show.


CT and animation of coin hoard

August 2, 2012

My colleagues Grant Cox and James Miles have been doing some amazing computerised magic with a coin hoard, and I thought it was time I wrote about their work. Both of them work with me at the Archaeological Computing Research Group at the University of Southampton. The Selby coin hoard consists of a bunch of coins still in their original container. The thing was submitted to a CT scan produced and processed by Richard Boardman and Mark Mavrogordato (mu-Vis CT centre). The results of this were then arranged into a sequence of animation by James Miles while Grant Cox made an accompanying animation in 3DS Max of coins raining down on the container. The video is now on show in the British Museum as part of the permanent Citi money exhibition. Worth a visit!


SMiLE: But who is going to read 12,000 tweets?!

July 9, 2012

A second blogpost about the SMiLE project I am involved in appeared recently on the London School of Economics website. I wrote about the project’s aims before as Nicole Beale and Lisa Harris explained it on the LSE website earlier. This second blog post introduces a first glimpse at the results including a short discussion of Twitter network visualization and analysis. Exciting!

In fact, this second blog post reveals some of the really cool work the project members have been up to. MSc students here in Southampton have been busy using the collected social media data in creative ways for their projects. The project is also working with the Oxford e-research centre on a guide for best practice for using social media at conferences. But that’s not all! We are also working on depositing the entire social media archive with the Archaeology Data Service in York, and publishing some of the results in Internet Archaeology.

The rest of the blog post goes on to discuss some of the issues surrounding all this. How does one go about depositing an electronic social media archive? Lisa and Nicole looked into some of the comments of the conference delegates, provided in feedback forms, to get a more qualified picture of the issue and how to proceed. The blog also discusses the issue of developing an interface through which this dataset can be explored. Mark Borkum and I are looking at using network analysis tools for this. More on the network side of things will be revealed in later posts.

Have a look at the original article, definitely worth a read!


An overview of The Connected Past

April 5, 2012

Over the weekend of 24-25 March 2012 a group of 150 archaeologists, historians, mathematicians, computer scientists, physicists and others from 19 different countries met at The University of Southampton. Their objective: to discuss the critical application of network and complexity perspectives to archaeology and history. The result: a stimulating and friendly gathering of academics from very diverse backgrounds who collectively created the exciting discussion platform the organisers believe is crucial to the development of future critical applications in our disciplines.

The last few weeks were hectic for Anna Collar, Fiona Coward and myself. There were many last-minute decisions to be made and problems to be solved. But in the end everything and everyone arrived on time to kick-start the symposium. Most delegates arrived from all over Europe and North America, and some joined us from as far as Australia and Japan. We were happy to welcome delegates from over 60 different universities. The most important work during the symposium took place behind the scenes by Lucie Bolton and her great team of volunteers who were there to welcome all delegates at 8am and make sure they were fuelled with lunch, coffee and cakes throughout the day. The Connected Past would not have been possible without them.

Jon Adams, head of the Department of Archaeology here in Southampton, opened the symposium and introduced our first keynote speaker Alex Bentley. Alex discussed in what cases certain types of network approaches are useful when exploring complex social systems. His paper provided a great start of the conference by setting out a framework for complex systems simulation and identifying the role networks could play within this. A first session of the symposium followed with a very diverse group of papers discussing a range of theoretical and methodological issues. Tom Brughmans explored the evolution of formal archaeological network analysis through a citation network analysis. Johannes Preiser-Kapeller argued for the incorporation of Luhmann’s systems theory in historical network approaches. Andy Bevan explored the issues involved in tracing ancient networks in geographical space. After a coffee break Astrid Van Oyen presented us with the Actor-Network-Theory perspective and how this might be usefully applied in an archaeological context. Søren Sindbæk made some very critical remarks concerning a direct mapping of exchange networks from distributions of archaeological data. Finally, Marten Düring presented a particularly fascinating approach of support networks for persecuted Jews in World War II and compared the usefulness of different centrality measures on it.

After lunch we reconvened for a session called ‘Big data and archaeology’, which included presentations of big datasets that showed particular potential to explore using networks on the one hand and archaeological applications of network analysis on the other. The session was opened by Barbara Mills who presented the work of her team on exploring distribution networks of a large archaeological dataset from the US southwest. Caroline Waerzeggers presented a dataset of tens of thousands of cuneiform tablets which hold a large variety of past relationships that can be usefully explore with network techniques. Mark Depauw and Bart Van Beek similarly presented an impressive dataset which includes references to almost half a million people living in Graeco-Roman Egypt. After tea Eivind Heldaas Seland introduced us to a highly qualified view of networks of travel and religion in late antiquity. Alessandro Quercia and Lin Foxhall presented their networks of loom weights, which is part of the wider Tracing Networks project. Angus Mol took us to the Caribbean with his network approach of a rather small but fascinating lithic assemblage. Finally, Craig Alexander discussed his study of visibility networks in Iron Age Valcamonica.

At the end of the day we had the pleasure of listening to Carl Knappett live from Toronto via a Skype call. We decided to go for this low-tech option because sadly we could not guarantee tech-support during the weekend and wanted to avoid complications. I am sure this is the first time Carl had a Skype meeting with 150 people at the same time. Carl Knappett suggested that in order for network approaches to be usefully applied in archaeology we need be aware of the diversity of available approaches and preferably work in collaboration with network specialists. In some cases, however, networks are not the best perspective to approach our archaeological questions. In his recently published ‘An archaeology of interaction’ Carl points to a wide range of theories and methods that may or may not work within the same framework, but knowledge of this diversity might lead to their more critical and useful applications. This second keynote presentation was followed by a wine reception and a visit to our local pub The Crown.

After a long night out and a nights-sleep further shortened by daylight savings time we were surprised to see almost all delegates appear at 9am to listen to our third keynote Irad Malkin. Irad recently published ‘A small Greek world’ in which he sees the emergence of Greek identity through network goggles by using a vocabulary adopted from complex network analysis to describe the processes he identified in ancient sources. Irad’s keynote address stressed how a networks approach allows us to revisit old questions and how it allows for spatial structure to be compared with other types of relationships. The subsequent session titled ‘Dynamic networks and modelling’ began with a great presentation by Ray Rivers stressing that archaeologists need to be aware of the implications of decisions made when modelling the past and selecting ‘Goldilocks’ networks that seem just right. Next, Anne Kandler presented her network model for exploring the transmission of ideas, which shows how the structure of complex networks influences cultural change. Caitlin Buck presented the work by her team on a new (and very robust looking) model for the spread of agriculture in Britain and Europe at large. After the break Tim Evans presented a much needed paper comparing different network models and their potential uses. The discussions after this paper revealed that such a comparison along with archaeological case studies would be a very welcome resource to archaeologists interested in networks. Juan Barceló presented a Bayesian network approach to explore causal factors determining the emergence and the effects of restricted cooperation among hunter-gatherer societies. Marco Büchler presented his fascinating work on text re-use graphs he and his team in of the eTraces project in the Leipzig centre for eHumanities are working on.

After lunch we had the pleasure of listening to papers in our last session ‘Personal, political and migration networks’. Wilko Schroeter presented on marriage networks of Europe’s ruling families from 1600-1900. Ekaterini Mitsiou moved our attention to the Eastern Mediterranean in her discussion of aristocratic networks in the 13th century. Evi Gorogianni made us look at dowry in a new way by stressing the relationships they establish and express. After tea Elena Isayev made us explore the early 3rd century BC networks of Italy outside the Italian peninsula. Claire Lemercier provided us with some critical comments on the historical use of formal network techniques and illustrated this through a case study on migration in northern France. Amara Thornton traced networks of individuals linked to the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem. Finally, Katherine Larson showed us a particularly creative way of seeing networks in the archaeological record by linking sculptors’ signatures on ancient statues.

In our eyes The Connected Past was a great success. We enjoyed the experience of organising the event and were delighted with the overwhelming response to our call for papers and registration. We received some great reviews from Tim Evans and Matteo Romanello. In the end, however, it was the delegates themselves who seized the opportunity to engage in multi-disciplinary discussions and to consider future collaborations in innovative research directions.

The Connected Past does not end here! In some time we will make some of the recorded talks available online, we will publish the proceedings and we have plans for future meetings. All to be revealed in time. For now all we want to say is: thank you for a fascinating weekend and keep up the multi-disciplinary discussions!


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