Networks and History – New class Fall 2013

Course information can be found at
To sign-up please contact ATEC graduate advisor Chip Wood <> or ATEC Ph.D. advisor Christine Messik <>. Please cc the instructor <> for speedy approval.

General course information
Semester Fall 2013
Date & Time Thursdays 4:00–6:45pm
Location Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building (TBA)
Course website

Course summary
This research course aims for lab-style collaboration in the area of Networks and History. Students can bring in their existing expertise and build new skills by taking an iterative “small steps” approach. Retracing and extending over existing work by the instructor and his collaborators, the course aims to transcend the disciplinary boundaries of (art) history, digital humanities, information design, computer science, and physics.
We will start from and extend over a particular example: The growing interrelation of cultural centers in the Western World over two millennia, based on large datasets of noted people and artists. Intellectual challenges include the combination of the qualitative and quantitative, the integration of humanistic inquiry & data visualization & scientific modeling, apparent (super)exponential growth of knowledge, vast heterogeneity of data density, and the communication of results to different constituencies. Practical issues include acquiring data from public and proprietary sources, cleaning and geolocating data, finding a worthwhile question to answer, (dynamic) visualization of historic growth and wild spatial heterogeneity, the characterization of large complex networks, and last not least separating facts from bias.
The Networks and History course extends over two years of ArtsScience collaboration initiated by the instructor with a number of world-class physicists and information designers. The respective paper, along with extensive supporting material and video visualizations is currently in review. Results of the course can lead to further co-authored publications that students can add to their CVs.

Course requirements
The course is open as an elective with 3 hours credit to UTD grad-students in A&H, CS, EMAC, and of course ATEC. NS&M grad-students are welcome to participate without credit.
You should be interested in multidisciplinary research and collaboration.
The academic calendar, project assignments, readings, and presentation requirements
will be discussed and defined together in the first course session.

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