NEWS

Scholar Trying to Stimulate Interest In ‘New Science’ of Anticipation

September 27, 2005

Wanted: College professors, business executives and other professionals interested in exploring joint research opportunities with a pioneer in a new and fascinating field of science:  anticipation.  Reply to Dr. Mihai Nadin, Ashbel Smith Professor and director of antÉ, the Institute for Research in Anticipatory Systems, at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD).

You won’t see that advertisement anytime soon in the local newspaper.  However, Nadin will be making just such a pitch to potential partners at a series of presentations on the UTD campus over the course of eight days in October.

Dr. Mihai Nadin

Titled “Anticipatory Systems:  Opportunities for Texas,” the event will be “a feast for the mind and the eyes, and no one will go away hungry,” said Nadin, one of the founders and acknowledged leaders of a nascent, somewhat arcane discipline that seeks to bring anticipatory characteristics of living organisms to mechanisms, as well as to a broad array of pursuits.  In conjunction with the presentations, Nadin has arranged for a highly acclaimed exhibit – a rare collaboration between an award-winning printer and a noted photographer – to be presented on the UTD campus.

“antÉ wants to attract qualified members interested in the institute’s research agenda, and we believe the upcoming event will be a productive way to do so,” said Nadin.

At eight separate sessions, scheduled for Oct. 19-26, Nadin will present an introduction to the subject of anticipation and its practical applications – including new forms of computing, as well as anticipation related to education, politics, the arts and even “extreme events” such as terrorist attacks, hurricanes and others.  Other speakers, who are institute members, will discuss concrete research opportunities.

Each of the presentations will target a different audience – those involved in cognitive science and related medical fields one evening; followed on subsequent evenings by separate sessions for educators; professionals in the humanities; economics, social and political sciences; engineering and computer science; and the arts.

The exhibit, Jack W. Stauffacher & Dennis Letbetter: The Vico Collaboration, will run concurrently with the information sessions.  It will feature the works of master book printer, typographer and designer Stauffacher and renowned photographer Letbetter in an unusual show inspired by the work of the 18th Century Neapolitan philosopher Giambattista Vico, The New Science.

Both the presentations and the exhibit – all of which will be held in the Cecil and Ida Green Center Commons – are free and open to the public.

Nadin is an internationally known scholar recognized for his groundbreaking interdisciplinary work that ranges across the arts, computer science and cognitive science.  Born and educated in Romania, Nadin was among the very early scholars to address the relationship between computers and human creativity.  He is credited with founding the discipline of computational design – the design of products and processes through the use of digital means.

Nadin began his own research into anticipatory systems in the late 1980’s.  Upon his arrival at UTD in 2004, he established antÉ to study the premise of embedding the characteristics of anticipation — vital to efficient human functioning – in software for computers and other devices.  Examples of future applications of such research might be anticipatory control mechanisms that endow vehicles with the capability to “learn” the driving habits of the owner and make adjustments accordingly, or machines that organize and repair themselves.

“As scientists discover the anticipatory processes characteristic of the living – from one-celled organisms to groups of animals and plants – interest in applying anticipation has increased, especially in the areas of artificial intelligence, robotics, medicine and health,” Nadin said.

Nadin believes the event will be particularly appealing to promising young professionals “still in the process of defining the direction of their careers – which might well be spent in the evolving field of anticipation.”

For additional information on the presentations, including a copy of the program, please contact Nadin at 972-883-2832 or nadin@utdallas.edu.  The institute’s web site at www.anteinstitute.org provides additional information on current research.