#abbotsthon17: some fledgling ideas

I have been invited to participate in the HPX 2017 Knowledge Exchange Conference in Dublin in October.

This is the first time the Sport Ireland Institute and Sport Ireland Coaching have joined together to co-host the HPX conference.

The conference web site has been launched with a link to the program. I have an opportunity to share some ideas in a presentation on the first morning of the conference (6 October) after the morning tea break. My working title is Performance Analysis and Data Analytics: Are We There Yet?

Thanks to Alan Swanton, I am also facilitating the #abbotsthon17 on the day before the conference. It is my take on a hackathon to explore how a community of practice of performance analysts might come together to share their experiences.

This is a fledgling idea at the moment but my aspirations are that the hackathon might be:

  • an open invitation
  • free
  • an opportunity to explore a different approach to sharing experiences

I trust the conversations will take us in directions participants agree are of interest.

My hope is that the day provides the psychological oxygen Lars Johannesen describes. As a group we might be “supported through recognition, the sense of belonging, of being a part of something bigger than yourself” … and “being pushed out of your comfort zone regularly and in an appropriate manner”.

I am going to be discussing open sharing so I hope the day is available to as many people as possible who have an interest in the observation and analysis of performance. I am hopeful too there is no fee for the workshop. Participants have to meet their own travel and accommodation costs and I am keen that they do not have an additional cost.

I aim to support the workshop and my presentation with resources shared in advance.

As I get older I hope to share with others the fallibility of practice and the possibilities that emerge from appreciative inquiry. I do feel confident about this approach … particularly as my experiences as a volunteer firefighter in Australia have encouraged me to think about agile responses to dynamic situations.

The #abbotsthon17 event will have this edge. I am excited where it might take us and how it might become a reflection on the way each person acts in their daily environment.

The starting idea for the day is What is so important we have to share it?

I have another three months to develop and share these fledgling ideas before they take flight.

Photo Credit

Real-time monitoring (Firstbeat)

Complex Systems in Sports

Thumbnail picture of the Camp Nou Stadium from end on.An international congress of complex systems in sports is being held in Barcelona in October 2017. The venue is the Camp Nou Stadium.

There is a call for abstracts.

The two-day program includes presentations from:

Scott Kelso (Principles of Coordination)

Wolfgang Schöllhorn (Differential Training)

Rafel Pol (Cons-Training in Team Sports)

Robert Hristovski (Unpredicatability in competetive environments)

Jaime Sampaio (Dimensions of Performance)

Paco Seirul-lo (Closing remarks)

A thumbnail picture of the 1899 Auditorium that can seat up to 400 attendees.There are seven workshops:

Game and performance analysis

Training and learning methodologies

Injuries

Performance assessment in sport

Developing resilience

Athletes as complex adaptive systems

Interpersonal coordination

News of the conference appeared as the Sante Fe Institute is running its open, online course Introduction to Complexity. When I enrolled, there were 2367 other students following the course.

The syllabus for the course is:

  • What is Complexity?
  • Dynamics and Chaos
  • Fractals
  • Information, Order, and Randomness
  • Genetic Algorithms
  • Cellular Automata
  • Models of Biological Self-Organization
  • Models of Cooperation in Social Systems
  • Networks
  • Scaling in Biology and Society

To complete a week of connections, I received an alert to Mark Upton’s post, Seeking the Edge of Chaos. Mark notes:

I’ve been mashing up these ideas around order, chaos and complexity in a team sport context for a while now…

I have been thinking about these ideas too and this week’s alerts have been a timely reminder about their relevance and evidence of the growing community of practice around them.

This is a different epistemic environment now compared to my first foray in 1996. The challenge remains the same, I think: how do we share the story of complexity in sport settings without it being an abstract concept.

Hosting a conference at the Camp Nou is a great place to accept this opportunity.

A photograph of the entrance to the Camp Nou Experience at FC Barcelona taken by Andrew Booth.

Photo Credit

Camp Nou Tour (Andrew Booth, CC BY-ND 2.0)

Robert Taylor

The ABC has shared news of Robert Taylor’s death.

Much of what we take for granted on the Internet today is connected with Robert and his colleagues’ work.

A citation for a Computer History Museum fellowship in 2013 notes:

Robert William Taylor discovered computing while a graduate student in 1957 when he paid his first visit to The University of Texas computer center to process his thesis data. Taylor was dismayed to find that computers of the day were focused on arithmetic and business data processing. They were not interactive; they were clumsy to use, and were severely limited in their application. He soon chose to dedicate his career to re-defining computing with a focus on interactive communication, networking, and search technology.

On his journey to that redefinition, Robert met and worked with, amongst others, Douglas Engelbart and JCR Licklider.

There is an excellent biographical article about Robert in his local newspaper. This was written in 2000, by Marion Softky.

I have compiled a Google Slide presentation to synthesise some of his life story.

I have spent some of the day reading the paper he published with Joseph Licklider in 1968, The Computer as a Communication Device.

The first paragraph of the paper is:

In a few years, men will be able to communicate more effectively through a machine than face to face. That is a rather startling thing to say, but it is our conclusion. As if in confirmation of it, we participated a few weeks ago in a technical meeting held through a computer. In two days, the group accomplished with the aid of a computer what normally might have taken a week. (1968:27)

I was fascinated by their discussion of on-line interactive communities:

In most fields they will consist of geographically separated members, sometimes grouped in small clusters and sometimes working individually. They will be communities not of common location, but of common interest. In each field, the overall community of interest will be large enough to support a comprehensive system of field-oriented programs and data. (1968:37ff) (Original emphasis)

They add:

You will not send a letter or a telegram; you will simply identify the people whose files should be linked to yours and the parts to which they should be linked-and perhaps specify a coefficient of urgency. You will seldom make a telephone call; you will ask the network to link your consoles together. (1968:38)

Their conclusion to the paper anticipated a digital divide debate that occupies us now:

For the society, the impact will be good or bad, depending mainly on the question: Will “to be on line” be a privilege or a right? If only a favored segment of the population gets a chance to enjoy the advantage of “intelligence amplification,” the network may exaggerate the discontinuity in the spectrum of intellectual opportunity. On the other hand, if the network idea should prove to do for education what a few have envisioned in hope, if not in concrete detailed plan, and if all minds should prove to be responsive, surely the boon to humankind would be beyond measure. (1968:40)

It would have been fascinating to be part of Robert, Douglas and Joseph’s conversations in the 1960s. Robert was the longest surviving of the three friends. He was 85 when he died on 13 April. Joseph died in 1990 and Douglas in 2013.

Vale Robert.

Photo Credit

Robert Taylor (Computer History Museum)