Fionn Murtagh’s Blog

Themes: information economy, intellectual property, research

Archive for December 2009

CSI TV Drama and the Nature of Scientific Discovery

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Some of the work that I have been doing on the CSI television series, and on film and drama, includes how one understands the semantics of the narrative, what makes for a great drama, and how one can predict that the outcome will be really successful based on the inputs, especially the filmscript. This work is interdisciplinary, involving computing and media arts.

Not only has this work been described in media around the world, but it is being used now to show prospective students just what mathematical algorithms are capable of.

The scope of this work is to understand drama, narrative and text. But we are aiming too at using drama and narrative to understand problem solving in our daily lives. The CSI series are great starting points for this.

Here are descriptions of our work.

Guest on the Colin McEnroe Show on WNPR – Connecticut Public Radio, 20 January 2010.

The secret of ratings success. Why are academics applying algorithms to episodes of the TV drama CSI Las Vegas?
, The Guardian, 1 December 2009.

L’algoritmo del serial perfetto, C’è une formula matematica alla base del successo di “Lost” e “Csi”, La Stampa, 15 December 2009.

La sceneggiaure perfetta
, Corriere Della Sera, 1 December 2009.

TV Listings 03/12/09, Academics probe TV ratings success
, p. 6, Gulf Times, Qatar, 3 December 2009.

Such den Blockbuster, such!, Stern, 11 June 2008.

Wie man Blockbuster vorhersagt. Software soll erfolgreiche Filme anhand des Drehbuchs identifizieren
, Bild der Wissenschaft, 6 June 2008.

Software dla scenarzystów
,, 13 June 2008.

Here’s looking at you, kid. Software promises to identify blockbuster scripts
, Nature, vol. 453, p. 708, 4 June 2008.


Written by Fionn Murtagh

2009/12/18 at 00:28

Industry-University Research Collaboration: Do We Have It (Mostly) Wrong?

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Interesting analysis by Loet Leydesdorff, “The university-industry knowledge relationship: analyzing patents and the science base of technologies”, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 55 (11), 991-1001, September 2004 or see preprint. From the conclusions:

“The science-based model of university-industry collaborations was shaped in the 1980s with biotechnology as the prime example … Our data for 2002 suggest that this pattern has now been established as a dominant pattern … Information and communication technologies, for example, have not led to similar patterns of formalized exchanges …

These results suggest that one should be aware that policy-makers tend to think about university-industry relations in general terminologies, but that these relations are mainly shaped in the knowledge base of the bio-medical sector. Other sectors may contain mechanisms for integration and knowledge-transfer that are completely different from these bio-medical innovations. Thus, one should not generalize easily from the experience with biotechnology and bio-medicine to other sectors of industry or disciplines of science. Biotechnology is a specific mode of interrelationship between science and industry.”

Some things here dovetail well with the report to the UK Government of Paul Wellings in September 2008, “Intellectual Property and Research Benefits“. This report points to how patenting is good for some fields but largely irrelevant for others. The report draws implications of this, for example that universities should look for consultancy and other relationships with industry as an important goal in many sectors.

It seems that Bayh-Dole is fast approaching its (general, anyway) sell-by date. This is a point also made foreceably in Loet Leydesdorff and Martin Meyer, “The Decline of University Patenting and the End of the Bayh-Dole Effect“, Scientometrics (forthcoming).

There are big implications of all of this too to what constitutes research, and what research will be in the coming years. For more on this theme see my article “Open Access, Intellectual Property, and How Biotechnology Becomes a New Software Science“.

Written by Fionn Murtagh

2009/12/13 at 12:36

Future Internet: at the Innovative Core of Ireland’s Smart Economy

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A talk I gave recently to the Irish Future Internet Forum is available FMurtagh_SFI_3dec2009_v3.

A few points from it:

  • ICT is even more a problem than a solution for our environment, and energy needs, and what can be done about this.
  • ICT is clearly on a collision course with planet Earth!
  • Europe has been something of a laggard in innovation in large swathes of ICT – and what can be done now.
  • From report to the Swedish EU Presidency – “one of the few examples of European innovation is the file sharing service Pirate Bay, which challenges current intellectual property rules”.

Written by Fionn Murtagh

2009/12/07 at 00:39