Rufus Pollock takes Sydney by storm!


Brilliant 2 days of talking about Open Knowledge and getting things launched in Sydney!  Rufus has been on fire!

Monday night’s public lecture was brilliant – the most engaging public forum I’ve personally ever heard.  We were honoured to be inundated with many thoughtful questions from people who are clearly very intelligent and care a great deal about open knowledge.   Topics covered ranged from the ethics of Open Data, through to the relevance of patents and IP, the challenges of information interoperability, the CKAN technology developed by OKFN and the need for Open Data to be perceived as a critical political issue, not just something for geeks.

Listen to the Forum with all the Q&A at the Sydney University podcast page or the Sydney Ideas page

At the community meeting last night we had a great brainstorm last night about activities to launch in Sydney, with many fantastic ideas which I’ll write more about soon.  There’s clearly a very strong desire for OKFN’s “School of Data” to come to local venues so we’ll make that happen as soon as we can.  We will be having monthly OKFN meetups in Sydney and will announce upcoming dates for those shortly.  The Sydney Open Research Group will continue alongside.

Rufus officially announced the Sydney OKFN ambassadors: Dr Mat Todd and Dr Anne Cregan-Wolfe – below are our bios and twitter handles.

Rufus flew on to Canberra this morning, if Sydney is anything to go by, the rest of Australia is certainly in for a treat!

Thanks very much to our Sydney sponsors:


New OKFN Ambassadors Announced:

OKFN Ambassador: Dr Matthew Todd (@MatToddChem)
Mat Todd was born in Manchester, England. He obtained his PhD in organic chemistry from Cambridge University in 1999, was a Wellcome Trust postdoc at The University of California, Berkeley, a college fellow back at Cambridge University, a lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London and since 2005 has been at the School of Chemistry, The University of Sydney.

His research interests include the development of new ways to make molecules, particularly how to make chiral molecules with new catalysts. He is also interested in making metal complexes that do unusual things when they meet biological molecules or metal ions. His lab motto is “To make the right molecule in the right place at the right time”, and his students are currently trying to work out what this means.

He has a significant interest in open science, and how it may be used to accelerate research, with particular emphasis on open source discovery of drugs and catalysts. He is Chair of The Synaptic Leap, a nonprofit dedicated to open biomedical research, and currently leads the Open Source Malaria consortium. In 2011 he was awarded a NSW Scientist of the Year award in the Emerging Research category for his work in open science. He is on the Editorial Boards of PLoS One, Chemistry Central Journal and ChemistryOpen. He is a Sydney Ambassador of the Open Knowledge Foundation.
OKFN Ambassador: Dr Anne Cregan-Wolfe (@AnneCregan)
Dr Anne Cregan-Wolfe was born in Sydney, Australia and did an Honours Science degree at the University of Sydney in Psychology and Stats. She then worked in industry as a Developer, Business Analyst, Data Miner/Modeller, Project Manager, Senior Manager & ultimately business and ICT consultant in roughly that order, before getting excited about Tim Berners-Lee’s vision for a semantic, machine-processible web and returning to uni with the aim of contributing to it.

She did a PhD in Computer Science and Engineering at UNSW sponsored by NICTA, in the Knowledge Representation and Reasoning Group. She studied Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Optimisation techniques, and wrote her thesis about the Semantic Web. It covered Symbol Grounding issues for semantic representation and proposed some ways to address it, and proposed a Natural Language Syntax for OWL called “Sydney Syntax”, which would let ordinary people understand and build OWL ontologies in English. While at NICTA she worked on W3C committees for OWL and Uncertainty Reasoning, contributed to some ISO RDF/Topic Map interoperability work, worked as a researcher on a Situation Awareness joint project between NICTA and DSTO, and provided consulting to NICTA on the digital economy.

After completing her PhD in 2008, she has worked for NSW eResearch agency Intersect on a wide variety of research-related ICT projects for NSW universities, primarily the University of Sydney. She is currently the Semantic Lead on the HuNI NeCTAR Virtual Lab project. In her spare time she is Director of a Cloud computing company called Cloud Earth Pty Ltd which provides real-time services including Voice, Video Conferencing and Data Carriage. Her husband Adrian is a networking guru and does most of the legwork on that one.

In 2013 she was the GovHack Sydney Hackmaster and became an OKFN ambassador. Anne is passionate about organizing knowledge in sensible, interoperable ways. She knows how to prove logical theorems and build ontologies in all flavours of OWL. Her motivation for whatever she does is to contribute something practical and useful that will actually help people in their everyday lives. One of her current goals is designing interoperable information and systems to address the major issues faced by people in the third world.Anne has major geek crushes on Leibniz, Tesla and Tim Berners-Lee. Her hobby is working on the Riemann hypothesis, as it keeps her brain ticking over if things get boring. Her favourite word is “verisimility” and her favourite things in life are laughter and sunshine.


One thought on “Rufus Pollock takes Sydney by storm!”

  1. Many thanks for the report Anne,

    Just listening to the recording. Thanx(!!!!) for that too. Just one practical thing, cause I’m tryin so hard to figure out how we might get the marketin happening across the OKFN platform and social networks and country chapters. Could yu put a link to the LI OKFNgroup off the chapters page ( ? It would help as i use LinkedIn for threadin between conversations. E.g.

    How do you link from this page to the LI au group?

    Nice to hear the talk. I was a bit surprised to see Rufus use the ‘Credit Mobilier’ scandal. There are just so many modern illustrations which prove that the robber baron days continue. He obviously doesn’t read alternative finance media blogs. e.g.

    “Knowledge is power”, like all old sayings, is a truth to a degree. 10 years of workin in the finance industry taught me the average person has no power without someway of gathering isolated citizens to reform corrupt or incompentent institutions. Most people think the US Federal Reserve is the equivilent of Australia’s Reserve bank, and not a private association of National banks. Many people might “know” how global banks have worked their way around the Glass Steagall legislation, and how it inevitably led to the last financial crisis, and the one we will have over the next 12 months. But they can do nothing about preventing it.

    So far as the OKFN is concerned. It offers a lot of hope as it brings together most of the professions who only speak to their converted. Still missin the”open Network” guys though, although I can just imagine your discussions with Adrian. In my Australian perspectivethe strating point begins here. as it does in each country – a Log On to some combination of network services/(real time) collaborative tools – which are hosted at some group’s node, with either a .gov or .edu (publically funded) domain name. And public servants, and common citizens, share. Warning!! Culture Shock.

    The concept is not much different than the HuNI, where ” one of more researchers start searchin at the HuNI data… ” (like most other orgs/projects). The main difference is that it starts at Stage 1, and not stage 4.

    There are a few other projects in Oz that will have an interest. I said to Michael Kearney I’d get back to him a few weeks ago. But I wanted to see who put their hand up as OKFN Ambassadors. Congrats to you and Matthew. All the best.

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