Student profile: Ramine Tinati
What was your academic path before coming to the Web Science DTC 4 year MSc/PhD programme?
Computer Science BSc (Hons), Southampton University.
Why did you choose Web Science?
During my final year of my undergraduate course in computer science, I started to focus more towards the development of Web Technology. As I became more interested in this field, I read a number of ‘Web Science’ papers, including A Framework for Web Science (T. Berners-Lee, 2006). After talking with a number of people in ECS about the type of research that can be done within Web Science, I decided to apply for the Web Science DTC.
What does the Web mean to you?
Coming from a computer science background, I originally perceived viewed the Web as just a piece of technology, developed by the few to provide a way for business and people to communicate. However, Web Science has expanded my understanding due to its interdisciplinary nature, now I see the Web as more than just a technical tool. The Web is both a technical and social phenomena, driven by both technical advancements, and social needs. The Web is an integral part of society, integrated to such an extent that our everyday activities would be changed dramatically without it.
Best experience of the course so far?
The summer project is a great opportunity to explore a research area which you are interested in. During the 3 months project, working with supervisors, you have the ability to gain a substantial amount of knowledge in your chosen subject.
What was your MSc Project?
‘Bridging the Gap between the User and Technology for a Future in Web Science’.
The founders of Web Science have called for a multi-disciplinary approach to enable the Web and its future to be understood and develop. The Web is a socio-technical system, to be able to understand the Web and develop it in a way that is ‘pro-human’, both the social and technical components needs to be explored. This dissertation argues that the current development of the Web will not allow for a ‘pro-human’ Web to emerge. The Web requires content to function, content which is created by users. The development of the Web, based on traditional software development models within Computer Science does not understand the users of the Web. Therefore, without understanding who the users are, how can the future of the Web be understood? To understand the user, not only does the technical component of the Web need to be considered, but so must the social component, thus, requiring a discipline rooted in understanding the behaviour of society. Sociology, the study of society and individuals, demonstrates a different perspective of users compared to Computer Science. Users are understood based on the complex links that they form within society, in comparison to Computer Science’s limited understanding of the user. Based on a detailed description of the different approaches that Computer Science and Sociology use to understand the user, and an analysis of the underlying ontological and epistemological differences that separate them, it is argued that for the development of a ‘pro-human’ Web, a new approach to developing the Web is required. An approach that combines the perspective and understanding of the user from Computer Science and Sociology, to form a co-constitutional relationship between them.
What was your PhD Project?
Developing the Web for a Pro-Human Future.
JP Morgan Chase – Internship 2009.
What are your Career ambitions?
A Web Science related role.