The University of Southampton

Towards the Semantic Web: the Power of Networks

Published: 3 May 2005

Professor Wendy Hall CBE, FREng, Head of the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton, will give the sixth annual Athena Lecture at Imperial College London, on Wednesday 4 May. In her lecture, Professor Hall will draw on her own experience and her personal research journey, to emphasize the powerful role that networks can play, both in computing, but also in tackling issues and problems in research and academic life more generally. Professor Hall comments: ‘The Semantic Web is Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of the next generation of the Web. In this talk I plan to describe my personal research journey, from my early days of hypermedia and multimedia research, through Web-based link services, to the Semantic Web technologies we are building today, in the context of my career as a woman in engineering. ‘As we design and build complex knowledge-based systems to help us make sense of the vast amounts of information available to us on an everyday basis via the WWW, I am constantly aware of how we increasingly use networks of machines, systems and people to solve the research problems that face us. ‘I have found in my career that the power of networks is the best way to overcome some of the issues that arise from the still overwhelming gender imbalance in SET. I will conclude the lecture with a look to the future, using my current research interests at the interface of computer science and the life sciences to paint a picture of a world in which there are as many women computer scientists as there are men.’ Professor Wendy Hall is one of the world’s leading computer scientists. She is a member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology, immediate Past President of the British Computer Society, and the only UK council member of the US Association for Computing Machinery.

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