Monday, November 05, 2007

WSA 07 Awards in Venice (2)

The World Summit Award (WSA) Winners’ Conference is over. We have had an intensive two days of presentations in the Palazzo Franchetti. I will later on go into the categories and their projects. But the presentations brought up some interesting projects. In the e-business category, there was a fine presentation about the project by David Chung (see photograph) of Cyberport in Hong-Kong. I was at that amazing place with offices, college rooms, shopping centre, movie theatres and apartment area in 2004. The project has developed a digital copyright system for schools with regard to music and movies. It is rather unique in the world. In the e-Science I heard an enthusiastic presentation of the Geneious Pro project from New Zealand. This project visualises genomes and DNA helixes beautifully. Of course you have to be a bio-molecular scientist or at least a student in order to use the visualisation system. But it has come a long way of drawings of the DNA helixes published in the early sixties. In the same category I saw a beautiful presentation of the Metopes of the temple of Selinunte in Italy. In the category e-health I saw a medical network which is not organised around the patient’s health file, but around databases and a search engine. The producers of this network, active in six Venetian hospitals, claim that this approach will be have less constraints than the patient’s medical files. The systems does not only contain digital input from medicine men, but also straight from blood analysing machines; there is also analogue input as handwritten or typed documents converted to searchable PDFs. It is a challenging project in a rather conservative world of doctors and nurses.

The WSA has teamed up in Venice with the Global Forum. They opened their conference last night in the Palazzo Pisani Moretta along the Canal Grande, a beautiful historical palace, with a reception. The best way to get there was by boat as the way over land is a puzzle of narrow streets. The Global Forum is a group of policy makers. It is a complete different audience than I usually meet. At lunch I talked to the French senator Pierre Lafitte, the president and founder (40 years ago) of the French science park Sophia Antipolis in the South of France. Later on I had a discussion with the first Deputy to the Minister of Communications and Information Technology from Egypt.

Very interesting was my talk with a representative of the Digital Hub, the International Digital Enterprise Area in Dublin, Ireland. Since its foundation in 2003 the Digital Hub has assisted 90 companies. Its credo is four Cs: connectivity, content, capability and community. He also mentioned The National Digital Research Centre (NDRC), an independent company. The NDRC was developed by a consortium of third level institutions including Dublin City University (DCU), Trinity College Dublin (TCD), University College Dublin (UCD), Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) and the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) with the support of the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources. NDRC will create value by translating innovative research into commercial potential. With a strong mix of public and private partners, the NDRC will adopt a highly practical and collaborative approach to drive the value of research and its commercial applications, all “under one roof”. The talk triggered a reminiscence of the European branch of MIT’s Media Lab. This branch was set up some years ago much to the dismay of the Irish universities and research institutes. To their dislike MIT’s Media Lab got money that they wanted to have. The European Media Lab however was unable to settle a solid institute in Dublin organisationally and financially. It had aimed at receiving sponsorships from other European countries, but these did not come, partly due to the low economic tide, but also because of the fragmentation in Europe. Now the finances are no longer derailed for the Irish universities and the research institutes. And one of their own development projects is being a success.

Blog Posting Number: 914


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