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Debate on the challenges of a data-driven world


Scientists face the ethical challenges of computational science

The 3rd Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF), from August 23-28, hosts a multi-faceted discussion riveted on Big Data and resolving challenges produced by computational science on Tuesday, August 25.

The Hot Topic at the this year’s Forum, ‘Brave New Data World’, broken down into presentations from leading authorities, moderated workshops and an open debate among the participants. The Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation (HLFF) strives to create the opportunity for progressive discourse to flourish, which is most effectively championed by the conglomeration of diverse mindsets.

The Hot Topic at the 3rd HLF dives into enigmatic questions that are woven throughout computational science. How secure is our data? How is intellectual property evolving? Should we blindly accept massive data mining? How is computational science most effectively used for good?

How should we regulate this ‘brave new data world’? Set to address these issues are: Alessandro Acquisti of Carnegie Mellon University, Kristin Tolle of Microsoft Research and Jeremy Gillula of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Four workshops for the participants are moderated by: Ciro Cattuto of the ISI Foundation, Megan Price of Human Rights Data Analysis Group, Peter Ryan of the University of Luxembourg and Frank Rieger of Chaos Computer Club.

Divergent backgrounds are fundamental to achieving a well-balanced and progressive dissection of any issue. This is precisely why the panel selections emanating from varied professions, from elite academia to powerhouse companies to progressive research centers. There are three substantial key-note speakers scheduled to prelude the four workshops tackling consequential current issues. Following the workshops, which are led by experts who are assisted by selected young researchers, the session culminates with an unbarred debate.

Speakers and subjects:

Alessandro Acquisti (Carnegie Mellon University) – “Privacy in the Age of Augmented Reality”
As a Professor of Information Technology and Public Policy at the Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), Alessandro Acquisti is to say the least, versed in privacy. He is the director of the Peex (Privacy Economics Experiments) lab and the co-director CBDR (Center for Behavioral and Decision Research), both at CMU, producing fascinating studies in privacy protection. Acquisti will present his research and experiments on the inadequacy of the online "notice and consent" mechanisms for privacy protection.

Kristin Tolle (Microsoft Research) – “Using Big Data, Cloud Computing and Interoperability to Save Lives”
In addition to her illustrious career at Microsoft Research Outreach as the Director of the Data Science Initiative, Kristin Tolle is one of the editors and authors of one of the earliest books on data science, The Fourth Paradigm: Data Intensive Scientific Discovery. She is currently concentrating on developing a program using data to improve user experiences across the board. Tolle will discuss the challenges to privacy of combining multiple datasets, as well as the crucial utility of this procedure in reacting to natural disasters.

Jeremy Gillula (Electronic Fronteer Foundation) – “Big Data and the Surveillance-Industrial Complex”
Jeremy Gillula’s work as a Staff Scientists for civil society organization Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has enabled him to cover a broad range of issues. Though he acknowledges the benefits of autonomous technologies, he is simultaneously aware of the threats they pose to our civil liberties. Gillula will discuss the misuse of online tracking for advertisement and spying and what computer scientists can do to get better results without sacrificing privacy.

Ciro Cattuto (ISI Foundation) – “From the Black Box in Your Car, to the Black Box Society”
He is the Scientific Director and leader of the Data Science Laboratory at the ISI Foundation. Ciro Cattuto’s focuses include behavioral social networks, digital epidemiology, online social networks and web science. His interests have led to him founding SocioPatterns, which measures and maps human spatial behavior. Cattuto will start with the example of black boxes insurances put in cars to tackle the broader issue of scoring and the potential of a black box society.

Megan Price (Human Rights Data Analysis Center) – “Big Data Promises and Pitfalls: Examples from Syria”
Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) uses statistical and scientific methods to find the most accurate truth which paves the way to accountability. Megan Price is the director of research as HRDAG and was the lead statistician in both Guatemala and Syria. She will explain her work in using data to estimate the number of war victims in Syria.

Peter Ryan (University of Luxembourg) – “Back Doors, Trap Doors, and Crypto Wars”
Peter Ryan has been a Professor of Applied Security at the University of Luxembourg for over six years. As a pioneer in applying algebras to modeling and analysis of secure systems, he has over two decades experience in cryptography and information assurance. Ryan will discuss the attempts to introduce government-controlled backdoors in encryption algorithms and the pitfalls of this strategy.

Frank Rieger (Chaos Computer Club) – pending
The Chaos Computer Club (CCC), based in Germany, has been the largest hacker association in Europe for over thirty years. CCC is a series of decentralized clubs whose focuses range from technical research to anonymity services. Frank Rieger has held the status as one of the honorary speakers of the CCC for several years. – subject pending.

The Hot Topic has been coordinated by Michele Catanzaro, author of “Networks: A Very Short Introduction” and a highly accomplished freelance science journalist. Catanzaro, who will moderate the debate, sees the 3rd HLF as an ideal environment and “fertile ground for making scientists provocative and constructive allies to the public”.
The Hot Topic will be held in the New Auditorium of Heidelberg University, Grabengasse , 69117 Heidelberg.

The Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation (HLFF) annually organizes the Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF), which is a networking event for mathematicians and computer scientists from all over the world. The 3rd Heidelberg Laureate Forum will take place from August 23 to 28, 2015, with the dates alternating each year between August and September. The HLF was initiated by the German foundation Klaus Tschira Stiftung (KTS), which promotes natural sciences, mathematics and computer science, and the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS). The Forum is organized by the HLFF along with the KTS and HITS. It is strongly supported by the award-granting institutions, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM: ACM A.M. Turing Award), the International Mathematical Union (IMU: Fields Medal, Nevanlinna Prize), and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (DNVA: Abel Prize).

To the Editors
With this press release, we would like to extend an invitation to attend the Forum as well as to report on the event. Journalists that wish to cover the 3rd HLF can use the following link:

Registration and Press Inquiries
Wylder Green
Christiane Schirok
Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation
Schloss-Wolfsbrunnenweg 33, 69118 Heidelberg, Germany
Telephone: +49-6221-533-384

Science Blog:

Wylder Green | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

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