About TWC

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Since its inception the World Wide Web has changed the ways people work, play, communicate, collaborate, and educate. There is, however, a growing realization among researchers across a number of disciplines that without new research aimed at understanding the current, evolving and potential Web, we may be missing or delaying opportunities for new and revolutionary capabilities. If we want to be able to model the Web, if we want to understand the architectural principles that have provided for its growth, and if we want to be sure that it supports the basic social values of trustworthiness, personal control over information, and respect for social boundaries, then we must pursue a research agenda that targets the Web and its use as a primary focus of attention.

The Tetherless World Constellation at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is addressing this emerging area of "Web Science," focusing on the World Wide Web and it's future use. Faculty in the constellation are exploring the research and engineering principles that underlie the Web, enhancing the Web's reach beyond the desktop and laptop computer, and developing new technologies and languages that expand the capabilities of the Web. We are using powerful scientific and mathematical techniques from many disciplines to explore the modeling of the Web from network- and information- centric views. Our goals include making the next generation web natural to use while being responsive to the growing variety of policy and social needs, whether in the area of privacy, intellectual property, general compliance, or provenance. The Tetherless World Constellation is designing new techniques to explore social, scientific, and legal impacts of the evolving technologies deployed on the Web.

Specific topics of research in the constellation include but are not limited to:
* Semantic Web Technology
* Knowledge Provenance and Explanation
* Privacy, Policy, and Workflow Transparency
* Tetherless and Mobile Web access
* Trust, Social networking and collaboration technologies for the Web
* Network-centric concepts for the defense, industrial and intelligence sectors
* Cyber-infrastructure in general with initial focus on eScience cyberinfrastructure
* Ontology management, evolution, and use in diverse disciplines
* Ethical, Policy and Social aspects of Web use and usability

TWC Venn Diagram

The Tetherless World is organized under the provost office at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. As such it benefits from the backing of a world class Research University, and the community it brings with it. The constellation is located in the Winslow building just off the main campus on 8th street. It is a part of the Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Application and the professors provide key leadership. It also contains the Web Science Research Center, which is one of the 10 founding international laboratories within the Web Science Trust Network.

Peter Fox

Peter Fox is a Tetherless World Constellation Chair and Professor of Earth and Environmental Science, Computer Science and Cognitive Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Fox also directs the Insitution-wide interdisciplinary Information Technology and Web Science program. Previously, he was Chief Computational Scientist at the High Altitude Observatory of the National Center for Atmospheric Research and before that a research scientist at Yale University. Fox has a B.Sc. (hons) and Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics (including physics and computer science) from Monash Univsersity. His research and education agenda covers the fields of data science and analytics, ocean and environmental informatics, computational logic, semantic Web, cognitive bias, semantic data frameworks, and solar and solar-terrestrial physics. The results are applied to large-scale distributed scientific repositories addressing the full life-cycle of data and information within specific science and engineering disciplines as well as among disciplines. Fox is President of the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP). Fox served as chair of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics Union Commission on Data and Information from 2007-2015, is past chair of the AGU Special Focus Group on Earth and Space Science Informatics, and associate editor for the Earth Science Informatics journal, editorial board member for Computers in Geosciences and Nature's Scientific Data. Fox served on the International Council for Science's Strategic Coordinating Committee for Information and Data. Fox was awarded the 2012 Martha Maiden Lifetime Achievement Award for service to the Earth Science Information community, and the 2012 European Geosciences Union Ian McHarg Medal for significant contributions to Earth and Space Science Informatics. In 2015, Fox was elected as the first Earth and Space Science Informatics fellow to the American Geophysical Union.

Jim Hendler

James Hendler is the Tetherless World Professor of Computer and Cognitive Science, and the Assistant Dean for Information Technology and Web Science, at Rensselaer. He is also a faculty affiliate of the Experimental Multimedia Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), serves as a Director of the UK's charitable Web Science Trust and is a visiting Professor at the Institute of Creative Technology at DeMontfort University in Leicester, UK. Hendler has authored about 200 technical papers in the areas of Semantic Web, artificial intelligence, agent-based computing and high performance processing. One of the inventors of the "Semantic Web," Hendler was the recipient of a 1995 Fulbright Foundation Fellowship, is a member of the US Air Force Science Advisory Board, and is a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, the British Computer Society, the IEEE and the AAAS. He is also the former Chief Scientist of the Information Systems Office at the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and was awarded a US Air Force Exceptional Civilian Service Medal in 2002. He is the Editor-in-Chief emeritus of IEEE Intelligent Systems and is the first computer scientist to serve on the Board of Reviewing Editors for Science. In 2010, Hendler was named one of the 20 most innovative professors in America by Playboy magazine and was selected as an "Internet Web Expert" by the US government.

Deborah L. McGuinness

Dr. Deborah McGuinness is a leading expert in knowledge representation and reasoning languages and systems and has worked in ontology creation and evolution environments for over 20 years. Most recently, Deborah is best known for her leadership role in semantic web research, and for her work on explanation, trust, and applications of semantic web technology, particularly for scientific applications. Deborah is co-editor of the Ontology Web Language which has emerged from web ontology working group of the World Wide Web (W3C) semantic web activity and has now achieved W3C Recommendation status. She helped start the web ontology working group out of work as a co-author of the DARPA Agent Markup Language program's DAML language. She helped form the Joint EU/US Agent Markup Language Committee which evolved the DAML language into the oil-reference DAML OIL description logic-based ontology language. She is a co-author of one of the more widely used long-lived description logic systems (CLASSIC) from Bell Laboratories. Her work on languages (including OWL, oil-reference.html DAML OIL, OIL, CLASSIC, etc.) is aimed at providing languages that enable the next generation of web applications moving from a web aimed at human consumption to the semantic web aimed at machine consumption in support of intelligent assistants and web agents. Deborah is a leader in ontology-based tools and applications. She is a co-author and technical leader of the Stanford KSL ontology evolution environment. She also consulted to help VerticalNet design and build its Ontobuilder/Ontoserver ontology evolution environment. She also provided technical leadership for the Stanford project to help Cisco systems form its ontology evolution plan for its meta data formation work.

Deborah's main research thrusts are in languages, tools, and environments for the semantic web. Deborah leads the Stanford Inference Web (IW) effort. IW provides a framework for increasing trust in answers from heterogeneous systems by explaining how the answers were derived and what they depended on. Inference Web supports this goal by providing infrastructure and an implemented web-based environment for storing, exchanging, combining, annotating, comparing, search for, validating, and rendering proofs and proof fragments provided by reasoners and query answering systems. Inference web is being used as an infrastructure for explanations in a number of DARPA, DTO, and NSF projects and in a few demonstration systems including the Explainable Semantic Discovery Service and the KSL wine agent. Deborah led the wine agent project as an early semantic web services demonstration system that integrates explanation (via Inference web), semantic web languages (via DAML OIL and OWL), semantic web query languages (via OWL-QL), and web services (via OWL-S).