Mailing List Message #56
From: Clifford Lynch <>
Sender: <>
Subject: UK Memories for Life Program
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2006 13:05:00 -0400
To: <>
UK Memories for Life Program
Here's an announcement for some events in December 2006 that are part of the UK's fascinating Memories for Life program.

Clifford Lynch
Director, CNI


From: Mark Sanderson [mailto:m.sanderson at]
Subject: CFP: posters for Memories for Life Colloquium
  Memories for Life Network Colloquium, Tue 12th December, 2006

                      Call for Posters

                   Deadline: 23 Oct 2006

Submissions are solicited for posters to be presented at the Memories
for Life Network Colloquium, Tue, 12th December, 2006, at the British
Library, London.

The Memories for Life Network (M4L -
is a grouping of scientists, funded by the Engineering and Physical
Sciences Research Council, to explore the relationship between the
technology and science of memory. More details of the M4L research
mission are given below.

The colloquium will consist of a series of keynotes and panels given
by distinguished speakers, before an audience drawn from a wide range
of backgrounds. The lunch interval will be given over to poster

Posters need to present your work in an accessible way to an audience
with a general interest in memory. PhD students are particularly
encouraged to submit ideas.

There will also be a Memories for Life workshop on Monday, 11th Dec
2006, which you are welcome to attend. For more information on the
workshop and registration for the colloquium, contact


Posters to be sent to by Mon 23rd
October, 2006. PDF files are preferred, but we will accept other
formats from people who have difficulty creating PDF files. The
submission must make clear how the poster relates to the priorities
of M4L.

Proposals from any relevant discipline are welcomed, including:
 * Cognitive neuroscience
 * Cognitive psychology
 * Medicine
 * Information science
 * Computer Science
 * Philosophy
 * Law
 * Sociology
 * Ethnography
 * History

Examples of topics that submissions may wish to explore include, but
are not limited to:
 * Descriptions of existing or potential systems or applications
   that use personal digital memories. What are the main
   challenges that the system deals with, and what benefits does
   it provide to users?
 * Descriptions of resources (such as corpora and analysis tools)
   which can be used by Memories for Life researchers.
 * Computer science research issues, including how memories are
   stored, organised, searched, integrated, interpreted,
   interacted with, and protected (security). Also the impact of
   new technologies, such as the semantic web.
 * Cognitive science research issues, including the requirements
   and prospects of memory prostheses, and analysis of
   similarities and differences between human memory systems and
   computer digital memories. For example, humans can forget
   memories, is there an analogous forgetting in digital memories?
 * Social issues research issues, including the relationship
   between the memory of an individual and the collective memory
   of his/her social groups, and public policy and legal issues
   (who has rights to access and modify digital memories). Also,
   how does the identity (of an individual or collective) depend
   on memory?

Notification of acceptance will be sent out by Fri 10th Nov.


Rapid progress in computing technology means that it is now possible
to store immense amount of personal data on computers.  This data
could include many kinds of information, ranging from email messages
to records of web pages browsed to images and videos captured by
digital cameras to medical sensor data.  Collectively, this data
could become an important aspect of the "memory" of individual users,
especially if it is accumulated over a lifetime.  The goal of
Memories for Life is develop technology which helps people benefit
from their digital memories. This could range from improved search
technology, to memory aids for the cognitively impaired, to
artificial intelligence systems which give medical advice that is
based on analysing a person's digital memories. Memories for Life
technology must be based on a deep understanding of how digital and
biological memories should interact and support each other, and also
on how digital memories will impact society as a whole.

>From a computer science perspective, Memories for Life presents
numerous research challenges.  To take just a few examples, how can
we store such diverse data robustly for a period of decades, in a
manner which easily accommodates new hardware, software, and types of
data? How can we protect people's privacy, especially when one
person's digital memories contain information about someone else?
How can we analyse and interpret digital memories, in order to build
up higher-level models of what the memories mean (and of the person
who recorded these memories)? How can we allow a very diverse range
of users to easily interact with their memories?

>From a cognitive science perspective, it has long been recognised
that the interaction between technology and human society can have
far-reaching psychological effects. Thinkers as early as Socrates and
Plato focused on memory as one faculty of mind for which technologies
of storage could change individuals' psychological makeup, by, so to
speak, externalising or 'outsourcing' mental function. In recent
years, the development of such commonplace innovations as email,
ubiquitous computing (including the internet), virtual reality and
advanced prosthetics have brought home the requirement for an
increase in the scientific and social understanding of cognitive
function, in order to design and evaluate appropriate technological

>From social science and information science perspectives, society
must decide who has the right to access digital memories, and also
develop mechanisms to enforce this policy. What rights do
corporations, repositories, friends and relatives, the legal system,
police, intelligence agencies, and so forth have to an individual's
digital memories? What abuses are possible, and what safeguards need
to be put into place to stop these abuses?

Interdisciplinarity is crucial in Memories for Life. The issues of
storage, retrieval and forgetting have analogies across a range of
sciences, and yet these analogies are by no means fully understood.
For instance, in cognitive psychology, the problem of understanding
selective attention - the processing by which an abundance of sensory
information impinging upon us is filtered to enable a manageable flow
of information for the brain to handle has been studied for many
years. But how many of the insights that have come from this work
have had an impact on the design of operating systems used in desktop

At a minimum, the M4L research programme will require input from
mechanistic studies of the brain (neuroscience), the human mind
(cognitive psychology), the structures and limitations imposed by
human society and human social behaviour (sociology), information
technology (computer science) and management (knowledge management
and information science). Of course, this is not an exhaustive list
of relevant disciplines of those who can contribute. The Memories for
Life network has been set up to foster links between varying
disciplines, to address this grand challenge for 21st century
technology and science.
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