The Common Data Project’s first symposium

November 13th, 2009 by The Common Data Project

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This past weekend, the Common Data Project held its first “symposium,” an informal but very productive gathering of friends who are involved in various projects related to CDP’s work.  We’re scattered across the country, so we felt lucky that we were able to convene in San Francisco, share what we’ve been working on, and learn from each other.

P1020656In two days, we managed to cover a dizzying array of topics:

  • Public data sets today and how they could better, presented by Grace Meng;
  • Discussion on lessons from other institutions in organizational trust-building;
  • Demo of PINQ, a new technology implementing differential privacy, built by Tony Gibbon;
  • Review of what would be needed to build a datatrust prototype by Grant Baille;
  • Intense Q&A session with Frank McSherry, Tony Gibbon, and Grant Baille on how PINQ does and doesn’t protect privacy;
  • Brainstorms around CDP’s potential participation in the BigApps contest and the Conference on Ethical Guidance for Research and Application of Pervasive and Autonomous Information Technology (PAIT) in Cincinnati in March, led by Alex Selkirk and Mimi Yin;
  • An overview of how far CDP has come and where it might go, learning from case studies of other organizations, by business professor Geoff Desa

Not all of us are working on projects that will be immediately used by CDP, but we’re all thinking about issues and ideas that we’re sure will eventually be extremely relevant to CDP’s mission.  In many ways, we have a daunting list of things we need to accomplish.  But after this weekend, we also have a surer sense of where we need to go next.  Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks on more detailed blog posts on some of our ideas.

A big thanks to Rebecca Widiss for donating her talent in group facilitation, and to everyone for contributing their time and effort to help push CDP forward.

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