Kia Ora, mates!
Welcome to the Knowledge Computation space at the University of Auckland. The pages and information herein has been created by the Knowledge Computation Group, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of anyone, even its authors.
If you are completely lost, please go here for help. If you require more information about our research areas, current projects, or publications, you are pretty much S.O.L. Most of those pages are now under construction... and no one wants to be the inaugural content unveiler because we are a collection of hypercritical hypocrites.
If you happen to be one of the three people we talk to outside of our office, and you have purposefully (and successfully) arrived at this page, the navigation page may be of use to you. Here, you will find a hierarchy of our wikipages, links to recently created and updated information, as well as a mechanism to help you find that one thing we told you was here*.
For more information about our neuroses the Knowledge Computation group, please keep reading this page. We attempt to provide answers to the basic questions posed to the group. As you peruse the information, feel free to explore the links to our personal pages several blank pages, which are suitable for testing your screen brightness. Very soon we hope these pages will have actual text, some of which may even form words, and if we're lucky, phrases.
(below is from the aptly named 'about us' page)
Knowledge Computing? Is that just a clever name?
So, here's the thing. Computers are really efficient at organising, sorting, viewing, and passing data around, but they have no way to understand things like context, sense, and meaning. In general, our group are interested in semantics; i.e., meaning (as opposed to raw data, or information). Collectively, our main goal is to find ways to encode semantics in the raw information we, as humans, read, synthesise and categorise with ease all the time.
So, why 'Knowledge Computing' you ask? Well, in the early days we thought of ourselves as being primarily interested in finding ways to preserve the semantics associated with (though usually implicit) raw information. This group of budding semantic information scientists got together regularly to discuss new methods and tools, as well as throw old Dell laptops out the 5th floor window. It was fun. We had whiteboards full on nonsense and ethernet cables running all over the show. We even had and a secret knock. And there were no girls allowed! Well that didn't last long I can tell you. It was really frustrating trying to explain to everyone what a semantic information scientist studies. It probably didn't help that we usually started with, "Well, back in the days of Aristotle...". It's pretty difficult to try and explain 2500 years of western philosophy to someone during the course of a single coffee drinking session (or one beer... unless you are at the Yardhouse, then you have a fighting chance). So we decided to give ourselves an acronym. We decided on SISc, for Semantic Information Scientist. It was a dope move at first. We sounded like we were totally on to it.
But then one day the Vice Dean of Thought Extinction stopped by and told us we were too focused on our own little, little world. We needed to expand our circle. He reminded us several times that we were not funny, and was borderline obsessed with the fact that our entire office smelled of feet and week old pizza. So, we begrudgingly put up signs around campus as an open call for all in the land who had interest in being a part of the SISc group. Of course, when people started showing up and asking us why they should join the "group of sissys" it became apparent that we needed to go back to the drawing board (not the whiteboards though, they were still full) and reassess what being a semantic information scientist means.
After weeks and weeks of arguments about who we were and where we were going, the final vote was cast, and immediately seconded. We finally had a name! We would hence forth be referred to as the 'Knowledge Computation Group'!! It really makes no difference that the name was decided while everyone in the office was at the NZ eResearch Conference except me and the evening security guard. (Seriously, if you were that concerned about it then why did you leave?) So, we are Knowledge Compute...ers. No. That doesn't... We are Knowledge Computing Engineers!! Wait. I don't like that either. I told myself a long, long time ago that I would never become and engineer because I don't want to sit around all day making spreadsheets of costing estimates for different thicknesses of PVC... this isn't really important. What is important is...
We are the Knowledge Computation Group! We compute with knowledge!!
Well, some of us do. Others just click on stuff until we find something we can use. We often refer to this as the applied abduction method (because it sounds better than GIS or intelliguessing). This fantastical method has been stolen modelled after Charles Sanders Peirce***.
Technologically, we support free and open software, as long as we can get it to run on our Macs.
who are we?
Mark Gahegan is the head herder. He often leads discussions which tend to focus on the process of processing processes, and the theory of strings.
Ben Adams is a brand new post doctoral fellow. He is currently interested in housing and public transportation in and around Auckland.
Brandon Whitehead is a PhD student clawing for the finish line. He actively avoids mirrors.
Cameron McLean is another PhD student investigating the upper boundary of the poster competition space, as it pertains to a narrative of patterns that describe patterns of patterns.
Prashant Gupta is YAPS (Yet Another PhD Student) interested in structuring the provenance of knowledge in such a way that every single person willfully changes their mind about how they know what they know about what they knew they knew.
Sina Masoud-Ansari is a recent Computer Science honours graduate interested in creating surprisingly small shell scripts to replace people. He works for the Centre for eResearch when he isn't sculpting his guns at the gym.
Tawan Banchuen is a programmer and former lecturer at the School of Environment. He has made a small fortune abroad teaching quantum scooter safety.
Will Smart is a former post doctoral fellow who successfully developed an entire visualisation framework using a single line of code.
* If any of us verbally told you to find something here, you are probably not going to find whatever it was we were talking about. We are all quite convincing compulsive liars**.
** This is not even remotely true.
*** Charles Sanders Peirce (commonly referred to as C.S. Peirce, Peirce, and is often signified visually via the facepalm) was a brilliant polymath (and that is probably the biggest understatement of the century). However, his writings are a bit of a good news, bad news situation. The good news is, there is tons of material (literally, there are 8 volumes of his collected works and there has been speculation that another volume may need to be added). The bad news is, it's the densest text dump in the history of mankind. Thus, only about 4 people on the planet have been able to actually understand what in the H-E-double-hockey-sticks he was writing about. Hopefully this will all change once our petition to make Peircian a language is accepted so Google Translator can turn that massive dump into something cognisable by human beings.
Keywords: Knowledge, Computing, Visualization, Ontology, Tool, Software, bite me NSA!!