Monday, November 16, 2009

Forbes gets the Math -- Genius Problem Solving via Blogs and Community Intelligence

Forbes has a terrific article on problem-solving via blogs, specifically featuring the math blog of Professor Terence Tao of UCLA. Professor Tao is both a Fields medalist and a MacArthur Fellow and he poses math problems on his blog (as well as lectures and other interesting material). The article in Forbes discusses how through what I would consider collective or community intelligence a problem in mathematics was solved through blog postings and discussions. A paper has actually been generated as a result and more information is available on Professor Tao's website.

There have been interesting discussions even by economists about solving problems and generating research papers in this manner with some economists stating that they are actually selfish and rather than standing on the shoulders of giants want to be considered giants themselves.

We are finding that our research on knowledge supernetworks (done with Tina Wakolbinger) and that we even presented as a tutorial in London (during one of the few thunderstorms that London has ever experienced) is being used now to construct frameworks in community intelligence. The paper was published in the Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics last year and can be accessed here.

Given the number of truly important problems that need solution, the harnessing of collective and collaborative approaches for solution can save time, and can generate answers, which are sorely needed.