Web Visionary James A. Hendler Will Lead Tetherless World Research Constellation

June 14, 2006

Web Visionary James A. Hendler Will Lead Tetherless World Research Constellation

TROY, N.Y. — James A. Hendler, a renowned computer scientist and World Wide Web researcher, has been appointed senior constellation professor of the Tetherless World Research Constellation at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Hendler will join Rensselaer Jan. 1, 2007.

Hendler will focus the work of the new Tetherless World Constellation on increasing access to information at any time and place without the need for a “tether” to a specific computer or device. Researchers envision an increasingly Web-accessible world in which personal digital assistants (PDAs), cameras, music-listening devices, cell phones, laptops, and other technologies converge to offer the user interactive information and communication.

“Dr. Hendler’s intellect and scientific leadership are evident in his pioneering work to extend the reach of the World Wide Web,” said Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson. “He is actively engaged in both scientific discovery and public discourse on Web-related technologies. As leader of the Tetherless World Constellation, he will guide interdisciplinary research and enhance information technology, computer science, and cognitive science programs at Rensselaer.”

Hendler is currently director of the Joint Institute for Knowledge Discovery and co-director of the Maryland Information and Network Dynamics (MIND) Laboratory at the University of Maryland.

“My research focuses on what might be called ‘Web science’ — understanding the Web in its full richness, exploring the underlying technologies that make it work and its social and policy implications, and developing new technologies to keep the Web growing ever more useful as it reaches further into our lives,” said Hendler. “We envision a tetherless Web.”

Widely recognized as one of the inventors of the Semantic Web, Hendler says this extension of the World Wide Web will bring new information resources to the Web by enabling computers to interpret the meaning and context of words and numbers. This technology could be used to bring informative databases — from Internet business to basic biology research — to the Web in more searchable and usable ways, according to Hendler.

“As a simple example, imagine being able to search the Web for ‘the scene where the guy throws his hat at a statue and its head falls off’ and finding the right clip from the movie Goldfinger to download to your hand-held video device,” Hendler explained.

At Rensselaer, Hendler will play a lead role in structuring the new Tetherless World Constellation. Led by outstanding faculty in fields of strategic importance, Rensselaer constellations are focused on a specific research area and comprise a multidisciplinary mix of senior and junior faculty and postdoctoral and graduate students.

Hendler received a bachelor’s in computer science and artificial intelligence from Yale University, a master’s in cognitive psychology and human factors engineering from Southern Methodist University, and a master’s and doctorate in computer science and artificial intelligence from Brown University. He has written more than 200 technical papers in the areas of artificial intelligence, Semantic Web, agent-based computing, and high-performance processing. He is a fellow of the American Association of Artificial Intelligence, a member of the World Wide Web Consortium’s Semantic Web Coordination Group, editor-in-chief of the journal IEEE Intelligent Systems, and a reviewing editor for the journal Science. He is past recipient of the Fulbright Foundation Fellowship (1995), former chief scientist of the Information Systems Office at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and former member of the U.S. Air Force Science Advisory Board. He was awarded a U.S. Air Force Exceptional Civilian Service Medal in 2002.

Contact: Tiffany Lohwater
Phone: (518) 276-6542
E-mail: lohwat@rpi.edu