Knowledge Infrastructures and Climate Change: Past, Present, Future

22.05.2013 12:30 – 14:00

Computer climate modeling developed from a "craft" activity of individuals or small groups in the 1950s to highly distributed work across multiple sites and institutions in the 1990s. So-called "Earth system models" currently exceed one million lines of code — so complex that no individual can now understand every element of such models. Efforts to extend them to cover even more aspects of the environment, as well as human activity and economics, will make them even more complicated. At the same time, the generalized movement toward transparency — under such headings as "open access", "open source", "transparent governance", "reproducible computational science", "climate audits", and so on — is opening up the once-private world of climate science to a large range of outsiders of highly variable competence (and political stakes). It appears inevitable that increasing openness will lead to more communication with more stakeholders than ever before, and that these interactions will take place at all stages of the knowledge production process. The question for both scientists and communicators is whether increased communication can lead to greater public trust in climate change science — and if so, how.

Paul N. Edwards is Professor of Information and History at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on the history, politics, and culture of information technologies and infrastructures. Edwards is the author of A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming (MIT Press, 2010), a history of the meteorological information infrastructure, and The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America (MIT Press, 1996), a study of the mutual shaping of computers, military culture, and the psychological sciences from 1945-1990.


Bâtiment: Uni Mail


Organisé par

Section de biologie


Paul N. Edwards, Prof. University of Michigan

entrée libre


Catégorie: Conférence

Mots clés: Climat, histoire, Environmental Studies, Systèmes d'informations

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