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Friendship in the digital age

11 November 2011

Crowcroft - webProfessor Jon Crowcroft

The concept of friendship in the digital age and the use of wireless mobile networks to help measure human society will be discussed in keynote lectures at Cardiff University.

On Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 7 December 2011, Professor Jon Crowcroft of the University of Cambridge and Professor Robin Dunbar of the University of Oxford will deliver the University’s Distinguished Lectures in Social Computing.

Opportunity is the Mother of Invention is the subject of Professor Crowcroft’s lecture (6 December) in which he will explain the new "data centric networking" paradigm that aims to allow mobile users to share information more easily. He will outline the development of Haggle, which offers a new way for smartphone users to exchange files in a ‘social’ way. He will argue that, although the system was originally designed to address networking problems experienced by mobile users, it turned out to be rather more general than expected. Recently, for example, it was used to track a flu epidemic.

Dunbar - webProfessor Robin Dunbar

Why the Internet Won’t Get You Any More Friends is the topic of Professor Robin Dunbar’s lecture (7 December). Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford, Professor Dunbar is best known for the social brain hypothesis, the gossip theory of language evolution and Dunbar’s Number (the limit on the number of relationships that we can manage). In his lecture he will argue that although the internet offers us the implicit opportunity to make casual acquaintances with people all around the world, it does not, and cannot, cut through the glass ceiling that limits the number of relationships we can have.

The lectures are part of Cardiff University’s high-profile Distinguished Lecture Series which brings eminent and influential guest speakers to the University and a wider audience to showcase their work.

Professor Crowcroft’s lecture takes place at the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Maindy Road on 6 December. A pre-lecture reception commences at 5.30 pm, with posters showcasing the work of Cardiff University students in Social Computing; the lecture starts at 6.30 pm.

Professor Dunbar’s lecture starts at 11.00 am on Wednesday 7December and takes place at the School of Computer Science and Informatics. This lecture is part of a morning programme from 9:15 am-12:15 pm highlighting Cardiff University’s groundbreaking research in social computing.

The lectures are free and places can be reserved by emailing or by calling 029 2087 6935. Bookings can be made for both lectures or for each lecture separately.

Related links

Distinguished Lecture Series