Humanists, Artists, Scientists Form Consortium Focused on the Human Dimensions of Emerging Science and Technology

7.31.2003 -- More than 55 scholars, practitioners, and industry representatives participated in the first meeting of the group at the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI), UC Irvine, on June 5-6, 2003. The resulting action plan calls for research, development, assessment, and application of emerging science and technology solutions. HASTAC representatives participated in the recent Global Grid Forum in Seattle, Washington, to discuss strategic alliances within the Grid community and take part in the development of the Global Grid Forum Humanities and Social Science Grid Research Group.

Topics for the June meeting at UC Irvine included collaboration in high-performance computing, biotechnologies, digital libraries, multimedia, archiving and search technologies, interoperable standards, and systems for virtual communications environments such as visualization caves. Issues of transformation, animation, preservation, and conservation came to the forefront along with the group's vision to create, implement, distribute, and analyze new knowledge and discovery spaces.

"The humanities, arts, and social sciences have a very important role at the conceptual, research, and development stage of today's science and technology discovery," said David Theo Goldberg, director of UCHRI. "Bringing together the expertise and experience found within HASTAC is critical to the future development of science and technology, and to the engagement of a much broader community."

Dan Reed, the director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and Fran Berman, the director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center, both have noted the importance of including the humanities, arts, and social sciences in their centers' high-performance computing research, and sent representatives to participate in the June meeting.

In addition to Calit², the founding HASTAC members include the University of California Humanities Research Institute; Duke University's John Hope Franklin Center and Humanities Institute, Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH); Stanford Humanities Lab; Virginia Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities; San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego; National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois; Minority Serving Institutions High-performance Computing Working Group; Creative Commons (an advocacy group supporting flexible intellectual property licensing applications); California Digital Library; and several other major digital archiving and exhibition centers, along with groups with overlapping concerns such as the Coalition for Networked Information, the National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage, and industry partners.

The group is developing a white paper for the National Science Foundation's cyberinfrastructure initiative. Upcoming HASTAC meetings will be held at the University of Illinois, Duke University, the University of Maryland, and Stanford University. HASTAC welcomes participation from a broad community of individuals and organizations with interests in the interface between science, technology, humanities, arts, and social sciences.

Kevin D. Franklin , National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research, 949.395.4858