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all that data
February 8-9, 2005 in
San Francisco, California

special members' workshop
New Insights in Decision Making
Monday, February 7, 2005
am - 4:00pm


overview speakers agenda

Topics include:
• Aggregating abstract information
• Centralization and control issues
• Integration and more integration
• Knowledge domain mapping
• Visualization technologies
• Data mining/filtering/searching
• Better search and query systems
• Sub-transactional data explosion
• Data policy, security, and protection
• Societal and political drivers

conference overview
Today’s mass of data will seem paltry when, among other things, RFID technology becomes a reality. Organizations will have to content with “data deluge” as they collect increasingly detailed information on their operations. The spread of sensor nets, from the factory floor to the forest floor, will dramatically increase the amount of data retrieved from embedded the intelligent devices. The integration of location data, advanced location analytics, and digital mapping will call for new, location-enhanced business intelligence applications.

Although search engines have greatly expanded access to information, our analytic tools lag behind. We often want something we can’t identify in advance, or require higher order patterns in the data. Data visualization has remained an elusive area; is it the real thing or is it over-rated, except for the first “wow” reaction? Future data mining must include the analysis of all types of data, including any mix of database tables, free text, audio, video, images, and clickstream data, without having to invoke separate technologies, approaches, and tools. As users (humans and agents) retrieve more information from varied sources, the issue of information quality increases in importance. When should we decide to use (and reuse) information that is obtained from sources such as unknown web applications?

At this conference, we’ll look at the intelligent retrieval of information, along with handling and attaching meaning to data. How do we put a post-processing layer between the raw data and ourselves when we don’t know what we’re looking for or when there’s just too much data? We’ll examine next generation knowledge domain visualization tools, spatial multimedia and display environments for geo-located information, and tackle such questions as: will image-recognition technology become advanced enough to be integral to many business transactions, and will artificial intelligence finally be able to solve real-world problems?

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Dr. Fran Berman, Director, San Diego Supercomputer Center
Mr. Ian Black, Managing Director, Aungate, a division of Autonomy Systems
Dr. Eric Bonabeau, Chairman and Chief Scientist, Icosystem Corporation
Dr. Paul Borrill, President/CEO, REPLICUS Software Corporation
Dr. Jim Gemmell, Researcher, Microsoft Research Media Presence Group
Mr. Jeff Hawkins, Executive Director and Chairman, Redwood Neuroscience Institute
Mr. Tony Jewett, CEO, and Mr. Andrew Bradley, Founder, The Hive Group
Mr. Brewster Kahle, Director, Internet Archive
Mr. David Kil, Chief Science Officer, Humana, Inc.
Mr. Doug Laney, Founder and Chief Research Officer, Evalubase Research, Inc.
Mr. Jeff Pollock, VP Technology, Network Inference, Inc.
Mr. Push Singh, Researcher, Commonsense Computing, MIT Media Lab
Dr. Andrew Tomkins, Chief Scientist, WebFountain
Dr. Andreas Weigend, Independent Consultant (formerly Chief Scientist at Amazon)
Dr. David Weinberger, Consultant and Author, Small Pieces Loosely Joined

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workshop description
We make decisions all the time – they are the heartbeat of any organization. Organizations that can’t make decisions stagnate; managers that consistently make the wrong decisions are fired.

We know three things about making decisions. First, it’s important to weigh all your options. Second, the best way to weigh those options is to apply a consistent set of rules. And third, experts are people who have mastered the rules. We don’t always live up to those guidelines, but we know we should, and often feel guilty when we don’t.

Recently, we’ve discovered a fourth thing about decision-making: all three of those other things are wrong. Not only do we make both gut and snap judgments, decisions made in that fashion are often superior to decisions made with explicit and rational processes. Furthermore, expertise consists not in abiding by rules but in knowing when and how to ignore them.

In fact, the big surprise turns out to be that although decision-making is the heartbeat of the organization, it has been more often taught than studied in business schools, and whenever serious observation of decision making has been undertaken, it turns out to be far different from the theoretical perfection of rational methods.

This workshop will introduce recent research into how we actually make decisions, especially under time pressure and with limited information (sound like your job?); what the difference is between novice and expert decision makers (experts know more stories); which heuristics are good decision making strategies (the old “Go with your first answer” idea is surprisingly robust); and under what circumstances groups make better decisions than individuals (decentralized and self-interested groups often generate better answers than collaborative ones.)

The workshop will alternate between theory and exercises. It will include both a review of some of the important research work in the last decade (Gary Klein; The ABC Group), some of the recent business literature on the subject (James Surowiecki’s Wisdom of Crowds; Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink), and a discussion of decision-making techniques and dilemmas among the attendees.

All attendees at the workshop will receive a copy of Blink, scheduled to be published in January 2005.

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