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On June 11, leading authorities on the World Wide Web will gather at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for an old-fashioned debate with a social media twist. The questions for discussion will be shaped and selected by the collective wisdom of Web users from around the world.

Tetherless World Research Constellation, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

After delivering a keynote address, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web, will join a panel of experts from academia and industry for a public discussion about the Web’s future. The content of the debate will be collaboratively created by Web users, who can submit questions and promote them through a user-based ranking system, similar to the community-based news site Digg. The most popular questions will drive the discussion at the June 11 debate.

The public debate, which will be streamed live via an interactive Webcast, is part of a daylong event to celebrate the launch of the Tetherless World Constellation at Rensselaer – a new academic center devoted to the emerging field of Web Science.
A wide range of issues are up for discussion, from sustaining the usefulness of the current Web to creating a next-generation Semantic Web, as well as the role of politics, education, and sociological factors in the Web’s continued evolution. Following introductory remarks by Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson, participants in the panel will be:

  • Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web and director of the World Wide Web Consortium.
  • Wendy Hall, vice president of the Association for Computing Machinery and senior vice president of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
  • Nigel Shadbolt, former president of the British Computer Society and chief technology officer of Garlik.
  • Nova Spivack, high-tech entrepreneur and founder of Radar Networks.
  • Deborah McGuinness, Web language expert and Rensselaer Constellation Professor of the Tetherless World Constellation.
  • James Hendler, one of the inventors of the Semantic Web and Rensselaer Constellation Professor of the Tetherless World Constellation (moderator).

Members of the public are invited to submit and vote on questions until the day of the debate. During the discussion, viewers will be able to interact with the panelists by submitting follow-up questions and comments in real time. For details about this innovative event and how you can participate in the discussion, go to: http://tw.rpi.edu/launch.

Since its inception, the Web has changed the ways people work, play, communicate, collaborate, and educate, according to James Hendler, Constellation Professor of the Tetherless World Constellation at Rensselaer. There is, however, a growing realization among researchers across a number of disciplines that without new research aimed at understanding the current, evolving, and potential Web, opportunities for new and revolutionary capabilities may be missed or delayed.

“If we want to be able to model the Web, if we want to understand the architectural principles that have provided for its growth, and if we want to be sure that it supports the basic social values of trustworthiness, personal control over information, and respect for social boundaries, then we must pursue a research agenda that targets the Web and its use as a primary focus of attention,” Hendler said.

The Tetherless World Constellation will address this emerging area of Web Science, focusing on the Web and its future use. Faculty in the constellation will explore the research and engineering principles that underlie the Web, will enhance the Web’s reach beyond the desktop and laptop computer, and will develop new technologies and languages that expand the capabilities of the Web. They will use powerful scientific and mathematical techniques from many disciplines to explore the modeling of the Web from network- and information-centric views.

“Our goals will include making the next generation Web natural to use while being responsive to the growing variety of policy and social needs, whether in the area of privacy, intellectual property, general compliance, or provenance,” Hendler said. For more information about the Tetherless World Constellation, go to: http://tw.rpi.edu.

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The French Trade Office in San Francisco has announced the beginning of the French Tech Tour (FTT). The week long mission will introduce 11 French technology startups to the movers and shakers of Silicon Valley. The 11 finalists were selected from over 24 applicants by 9 supporting companies including AT&T, Cisco, Ebay, Google, HP, Intel Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, and Symantec. Backed by UBIFRANCE, the FTT focuses on bridging the gap between Silicon Valley and Paris. The week of workshops and one-on-one interviews will also include a mini-conference on May 21st called Valley Talk: Make It or Break It where both French and U.S. startups will learn strategies for business success.

In its second year, the FTT has quickly gained recognition in both the U.S. and France. Referred to as the home of some of the best high tech clusters in Europe, French companies continue to raise the technology bar for their U.S. counterparts. Participation in this tour furthers the collaboration between the two countries. This year’s startup companies include:

Bobex – a leading B2B e-marketplace, active in 6 countries, makes markets more transparent by matching local buyers and suppliers for non strategic products & services.

Exaprotect – a provider of regulatory and audit compliance log monitoring, event management for threat detection, and change management to allow business policy based network configuration change.

DELCREA – the inspirer in resolving the challenges of email from both diagnostic to efficiency solutions for individuals to large companies. Their software brings an innovative approach to control, organize and secure email faster and easier while reducing time building knowledge bases from existing content, and eliminating all risk of compromising internal and external business sensitive data.

myERP.com – a complete web-based ERP solution using Google technology (GWT & Google Apps) and covering all functional fields of company management around a single database: CRM, Commercial Management, Logistics, Points of sale, Finance & Accounting, Purchases, Production, Quality.

Maeglin – a mobile phone software company specialized in peer-to-peer exchanges. At Maeglin, we free people’s mobile, with Pleex a Mobile social networking software that allows content back up & sharing.

Momindum – the technology leader in the creation of rich media presentation. Our software generates, from recorded speech, professional presentations using synchronized documents and indexed video; our rich media are capitalized in a base with deep-tagging technology.

Newscape Technology – the top innovator in software graphical engines on mobile devices to enable the development of new applications using massive 2D / 3D vector data, textures, Content / Advertising and topography.

Sinequa – a search specialist created with the vision that corporate information is complex, heterogeneous and poorly organized. Sinequa has built a corporate search solution that can access to all sources and applications, managing security, using linguistic and semantic algorithms to add context to information and to offer intuitive navigation combined with efficient search.

STG Interactive – has invented a way for everybody on the planet to create their own secure and user-friendly mini-site, called a “frogans,” located on the Internet via its frogans address. STG Interactive provides developers and Internet users with free standard technology for authoring and browsing frogans, and is the directory provider of frogans addresses.

TellMeWhere – the first local search engine where relevancy of results are guided by recommendations of people you can choose and where content can be enriched and corrected by end-users, provides a better alternative to current local search engines or directories.

Twinsoft – an actor in Enterprise Mashups whose flagship product, Convertigo Enterprise Mashup Server helps companies reuse their existing assets to build new and exciting WEB 2.0 composite applications for a fraction of the cost and time needed to complete software rewrites or traditional development.

Each company will hold one-on-one meetings with supporting companies’ corporate development teams, as well as interviews with media, training for presenting and demoing at conferences in the U.S. and introductions with some of the valley’s fast-growing startups.

The Valley Talk mini-conference will host keynote speaker Eric Benhamou CEO of Benhamou Global Ventures, Chairman of 3Com and former CEO of Palm. The show will include an in-depth talk with leading editor’s and analyst from CNET, Fortune, GuideWire Group and VentureBeat. Along with demonstrations from each company the event will conclude with a panel of leading executive in business development from sponsoring companies outlining what they are looking for in partnerships as well as potential acquisitions.

“Our goal is to build deeper relationships between the tech communities here in Silicon Valley and in France,” said Aymeril Hoang, Director, Information & Communications Technology, Embassy of France in the U.S. Trade Office. “By bridging this gap we can open the door to new opportunities for both countries. It’s as much about introducing Silicon Valley to the technology leadership in France as vice versa. Hopefully we are fostering and growing the big companies and partnerships of the future.”

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