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Noshir Contractor Noshir Contractor
From Disasters to WoW: Enabling Communities with Cyberinfrastructure 
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Building 3 Auditorium - 3:30 PM

(Refreshments at 3:00 PM)


Noshir Contractor, will talk about From Disasters to WoW: Enabling Communities with Cyberinfrastructure. Advances in digital technologies invite consideration of the way communities are organized as a process that is accomplished by global, flexible, adaptive, and ad hoc networks that can be created, maintained, dissolved, and reconstituted with remarkable speed.   This presentation will outline the major socio-technical advances and challenges for the successful development, deployment, and growth of cyberinfrastructure to support communities. Contractor will use examples from his ongoing research on communities involved in a wide range of activities such as disaster response, environmental engineering, public health, economic resilience, and gaming (WoW - the World of Warcraft).

Noshir Contractor is a Professor in the Department of Speech Communication, Department of Psychology, Graduate School of Library & Information Science, and the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  He is also a Research Affiliate of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, Director of the Science of Networks in Communities (SONIC) Group ( is external)) at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and Co-Director of the Age of Networks Initiative ( is external))  at the Center for Advanced Study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  His research interests include applications of systems theory to communication, the role of emergent communication and knowledge networks in organizations, and collaboration technologies in the work place. His research program, funded continuously for over a decade by major grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation, is investigating factors that lead to formation, maintenance, and dissolution of dynamically linked knowledge networks in 21st century organizational forms.

Professor Contractor has published or presented over 250 research papers dealing with communication.  Contractor's book titled "Theories of Communication Networks" (co-authored with Professor Peter Monge and published by Oxford University Press) received the 2003 Book of the Year award from the Organizational Communication Division of the National Communication Association.  He is the lead developer of IKNOW (Inquiring Knowledge Networks On the Web, a tool to discover, diagnose, and design social and knowledge networks within communities and Blanche, a computational modeling environment to simulate the dynamics of social networks.

IS&T Colloquium Committee Host: Walt Truszkowski