The Alliance will be a catalyst for transdisciplinary dialogue and research on evolving issues related to the role of information in our lives. By identifying shared challenges and encouraging innovative solutions, the Alliance seeks to facilitate a future in which information in all its forms can be an effective resource for everyone.

Priorities for the
Future of Information

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The Future of Information Alliance @ the University of Maryland

Launch Week:

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This program cast a wide net -- from performance to art to entrepreneurship -- in considering the information-seeking and sharing activities involved in creative endeavors. A panel of innovative faculty members made presentations about what they saw as the role of information in creativity, and talked with our "Visiting Future-ists" -- leading innovators from Google, Microsoft and Twitter -- about the challenges and opportunities ahead at the intersection of information, creativity and culture.

The faculty panelists were:

  • Leigh Wilson Smiley, Associate Professor, Theatre Performance, and Head of MFA in Performance;
  • Hasan Elahi, Associate Professor, Art, and Director of Digital Cultures and Creativity, Honors College;
  • Asher Epstein, Managing Director, Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, Robert H. Smith School of Business.

The "Visiting Future-ists" were:

  • Dan Russell, Google's "director of user happiness," who leads efforts to improve the effectiveness of web searching;
  • Mary Czerwinski, who manages the research on human-computer interaction at Microsoft and focuses on information visualization, group awareness and lifelogging;
  • Abdur Chowdhury, former chief scientist at Twitter, who has been working toward improving the ability to separate "signal" from "noise" in the explosion of information on the Web.

Linda Mabbs, Professor of Music, served as the panel’s moderator.

This program was open to University of Maryland faculty, staff and students, who were encouraged to ask questions, offer ideas, and take part in brainstorming around the challenges raised by the panel and the "Visiting Future-ists."