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ECS research features in new BBC SuperPower series

Published: 9 March 2010

Research on the development of the World Wide Web in the School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) is featured in a new BBC season of programmes, Superpower, which began on Monday 8 March and runs for two weeks.

The SuperPower season will feature programmes on radio, television and the Web, considering the impact of Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee's invention of the Web 20 years ago and the way it has transformed our lives.

In addition to the wide selection of programmes, there is also the opportunity to become part of the action and commentary on the development of the Web by contributing blogs and videos to the Superpower web site. Tim Berners-Lee, who is a Professor of Computer Science in ECS, recently appeared in Virtual Revolution, a four-part television series on the Web, shown on BBC2, which is part of the SuperPower series. Professor Nigel Shadbolt of ECS also appeared in the series and acted as Series Consultant.

Writing on the BBC web site, Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC Technology Correspondent, previews a specially-recorded episode of Discovery to be broadcast on Wednesday 10 March, which includes interviews with both Professor Shadbolt and Professor Dame Wendy Hall of ECS. In the programme Professor Shadbolt discusses his recent work with Tim Berners-Lee on providing access to public data, which can be used in new applications by developers enabling UK citizens to gain new information. The programme explores the success of the Web and its future development, with a warning from Professor Hall that we need to be vigilant about the way the Web develops: "There are no guarantees that it will carry on to evolve the way it is now - open, free and with universal standards," says Professor Wendy Hall. "If you lose that or the standards are taken over by a commercial concern, then the Web will change dramatically." Professor Hall is taking part in the next episode of The Forum, to be broadcast on Sunday 14 March, at 9.00 am GMT on the BBC's World Service. She will be discussing the future of the Web with Bruce Damer and Evgeny Morozov.

Professors Berners-Lee, Hall, and Shadbolt are all Directors of the Web Science Trust, which advances the discipline of Web Science, which can now be studied at PhD level in universities across the world. In London last night (Monday 8 March), the three professors took part in an event held at the Royal Society, entitled 'Why Study the Web: Social Machines and Virtual Revolution', which focused on the need for Web scientists, and the challenges facing the Web in the future. The event was chaired by Dr Aleks Krotoski, and included experts from business and academic research, including JP Rangaswami of BT, Professor Noshir Contractor of Northwestern University, and Professor Helen Margetts of the Oxford Internet Institute. A video of the live stream of the event will be available to download from the web site in a few days.

Further information about PhDs in Web Science at the University of Southampton.

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

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