22 May 2012
From NOOTROPIA to NOOWIT: how a model became a product.
KMi Podium - Berrill Building
12:30pm - 13:45pm
NOOWIT is an online magazine that adapts to a user's personal interests, the social trends and even to the browser's window. It is the result of more than ten years of research and development in the domain of Information Filtering, that started here, at the Open University, with Nikolaos Nanas' PhD work. NOOWIT is based on NOOTROPIA, a biologically-inspired model that can represent a user's (or a group's) multiple interests, it can continuously adapt to changes in them over time and can evaluate any type of information accordingly. It is NOOTROPIA's innovative and advantageous characteristics, including its ability to incorporate a large number of features, its efficiency, its distributed nature and its unique adaptive capabilities, which allowed its practical application for the creation of NOOWIT. However, turning NOOTROPIA into a full fledged web application, ready to serve hundred of thousands of users, has been a long process that involved many years of team work. The talk will focus on the lessons learned and the engineering and design innovations achieved to create a publication platform, with the ambition to have a fundamental impact on the transition from mass media to really personalized, social media. The talk coincides with the second release of NOOWIT, which is still in private beta. This is also the first public presentation of NOOWIT and is rightly taking place at the University where it all started.
Nikolaos Nanas is an ex civil engineer who got an MSc in Intelligent Systems from the University of Sussex in 2000. He then moved to the Knowledge Media Institute (KMi) of the Open University (OU) for a PhD in Artificial Intelligence. His PhD thesis was entitled: "Towards Nootropia: a Non-linear Approach to Adaptive Document Filtering" and was submitted in 2004. Nikolaos stayed for another year and a half at the Computing Department of the OU, as a postdoc researcher, before returning back to Greece, but remains a visiting research fellow for the same department since then. For the last six years, he is a research fellow at the Center for Research and Technology of Thessaly (CERETETH) in Greece and occasionally an associate lecturer at the University of Thessaly, where he teaches the courses "Artificial Intelligence" and "Web Technologies". His research work focuses on the application of Biologically-Inspired Computing, with a particular emphasis on Artificial Immune Systems, for Adaptive Information Filtering. He is interested in Complex Adaptive Systems and the Web, especially regarding the Information Dissemination Models adopted by Social Media. N. Nanas shifted his focus from purely academic research to the actual development of a real-world product in June 2010. In September 2011, he partnered with Christos Spiliopoulos, a great young scientist, engineer and programmer and for the last nine months they have been developing what today is called NOOWIT.
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