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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

April 11, 2014

 

Speaker: Dr. Kenton White, University of Ottawa

Title: Building Asimov's Foundation

Abstract: Isaac Asimov's 1951 science fiction classic Foundation imagined a world where statistical physics has been applied to sociology. The result is a society capable of predicting future events. At the time, the sheer impossibility of collecting and analyzing the opinions of billions of individuals ensured Foundation was one of Asimov's more fanciful creations. Who could have predicted the rise of online social networks (OSNs), which collect and make public exactly the required information!

Inspired by Foundation, Dr. White will discuss his first steps at using OSNs to measure public opinion. The largest measurement hurdle is creating an unbiased sample of individuals. He will cover the many sources of bias present when mining OSNs and approximate methods for creating unbiased samples. This leads to a novel algorithm, conditional independence coupling, that can create a perfect sample from OSNs. Once he has established the measurement methodology, he will present several examples of what can be measured from OSNs. Finally, he will explore the issues encountered when computing global properties on OSNs, and end with a new measurement framework inspired by similar approaches from condensed matter physics.