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Innovation at the Verge: Computational Models of Physical/Virtual Space Interaction
The aim of the workshop was to look forward to the fusion of physical and online spaces by focusing on the impact that this integration will have on innovation and creativity. Additional questions involved the effect that online technologies might have on the way the design of buildings and cities need to change to respond to the availability of social media and how new technologies can make best use of physical and spatial contexts.
The workshop was truly interdisciplinary and brought together a variety of junior and senior researchers including computer scientists, architects, language technologists, artists and innovators. Most of the participants didnít know each other before but they all had an interest in common, which is the understanding of the interaction between physical and virtual spaces and its impact on innovation.
The workshop comprised two lectures per day from experts in the field that tackled the main themes from an interdisciplinary perspective. They include: the interactions between physical and online spaces, social media and physical spaces, communication and knowledge in physical and online spaces, as well as the impact of physical and online spaces in fostering innovation. The last day focused on applications. The aim of the talks was to set the basis for the working group discussions, which were very lively. Given the different background of the researchers, they had the purpose to establish common ground and terminology, as well as to explore the potential for follow up activities. Social media researchers discovered that space syntax, a theory for the analysis of physical space, could be used also for the analysis of online space. On the other hand, architects realized that the linked open data initiative and the social web offer invaluable data about users that can be further explored in the design of buildings and cities.
One group of participants focused on theoretical discussions until the end of the workshop while another one actively worked on a concrete task in the last two days. This was the design of a new Lorentz center that could maximally exploit the interaction between physical and online spaces by taking into account some of the criteria explored during the first days. We are considering the possibility of publishing the results of the workshop either in a book format since Ashgate Publisher is interested in it or to explore the format of an e-book. We have decided to maintain the contacts among the participants through the creation of a LinkedIn group and through the possibility to reflect further on the themes of our event with a blog that should trigger all participants to post their ideas. Three of the participants submitted a European project proposal on the themes of the workshop, as result of their interaction.
The Lorentz Center has been a very appropriate setting for the workshop. The atmosphere was friendly and allowed for extensive networking, the financial support was generous and the organization was very efficient and consolidated. International guests very much appreciated the availability of individual rooms where they could meet and work. It might be helpful to have a wiki and a more interactive website that could facilitate content exchange and preparation before and after the workshop.