The University of Southampton

Ted Nelson to call for a 'completely different computer world'

Published: 
14 September 2011
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Professor Ted Nelson, who coined the term "hypertext" in the 1960s, will address students and staff at the University of Southampton TODAY (Monday 26 September) as part of the Faculty of Physical and Applied Sciences Distinguished Lecture series.

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This lecture will be streamed live on the Web at: Ted Nelson Live Webstream ____________________________________________________________________________________

In a talk entitled 'Reaching Out of the Paperdigm', Professor Nelson will elaborate on where he believes computer science has taken wrong turns over the past 50 years and highlight changes that need to take place if the discipline is to make "deeper connections".

"The computer world pretends to be finished, but never will be,” he will say.

“In fact it simulates the past: computers for secretaries, as designed by Xerox in the 1970s, have become our working world. Today's ’computer documents’ (.doc and .pdf) simulate paper and the fancy printing of long ago. The Web added trivial one-way jumps, allowing pogo-stick travel between pages. But what of deeper connection?" - he will ask.

Professor Nelson will go on to call for a different infrastructure for computer science.

“We need deep, live documents of a very different kind for the interactive screen, as foreseen by Bush and Engelbart and others, for annotation and detailed discussion and scholarship, for organising and decision-making, for law-making and litigation, and for entirely new forms of writing. Such profusely connected, living documents are still possible, but require a wholly different infrastructure. We will show some of these alternatives.”

'Reaching out of the Paperdigm' takes place in the lecture theatre, Building 32, University Road, Highfield Campus, at 6 pm, on Monday 26 September. No tickets are required and all are welcome.

The Faculty of Physical and Applied Sciences comprises ECS-Electronics and Computer Science, the Optoelectronics Research Centre, and Physics and Astronomy.

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For further information about this event contact Joyce Lewis; tel.+44(0)23 8059 5453.

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