19.659 grand challenges

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 09:04:03 +0000

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 19, No. 659.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

   [1] From: "Amsler, Robert" <Robert.Amsler_at_hq.doe.gov> (21)
         Subject: RE: 19.652 a "grand challenge"

   [2] From: Stefan Gradmann <stefan.gradmann_at_rrz.uni- (32)
         Subject: Re: 19.652 a "grand challenge"

         Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 08:29:52 +0000
         From: "Amsler, Robert" <Robert.Amsler_at_hq.doe.gov>
         Subject: RE: 19.652 a "grand challenge"

I think the expression could be used in any field. It would refer a
long-standing problem which has not been solved, but for which a
solution has been sought by many advanced practioners of the field and
for which most practitioners in the field believe there is a solution.

Humanities might consider something like decipherment of unknown
languages to be a "grand challenge" or the attribution of unknown works
of literature or art or the identification of unknown subjects of
portraits to be "grand challenges".

The field that may have first used the concept may have been
mathematics. Great mathematicians have occasionally posed lists of
unsolved problems that they consider worthy. In these cases it may be
the "grand" refers to the grandness of the mathematician posing the
unsolved problems as much as to the problems itself.

Certainly art has solved a number of "grand challenges" in its past. The
development of "perspective" in artworks, for example, would seem to
have been a "grand challenge" whether it was stated or not.

That then may be the remaining element of a "grand challenge". It has to
be issued by an appropriately distinguished individual or organization
to acquire its standing as a challenge. Only individuals or
organizations with "grand" status can issue "grand challenges". If a
novice asks a question, it does not pose a "grand challenge"

         Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 08:39:29 +0000
         From: Stefan Gradmann <stefan.gradmann_at_rrz.uni-hamburg.de>
         Subject: Re: 19.652 a "grand challenge"

Dear Willard,

one of the 'proper homes' of this "grand challenge" phrase in the field
of digital humanities of course is the draft ACLS report on
Cyberinfrastructure for Humanities and Social Sciences at
http://www.acls.org/cyberinfrastructure/acls-ci-public.pdf, which you
probably are very familiar with. I personally consider the phrase as
problematic - even though I am one of the internationals advisors of the
report -, as are other aspects of the report as well, which on the other
hand contains quite some *very* useful elements and of course can by no
means considered as the 'last word' in the field (and doesn't claim to
be that).

Best regards -- Stefan Gradmann

   Regionales Rechenzentrum der Universit=E4t Hamburg
   Dr. Stefan Gradmann / Stellvertretender Direktor
   Schl=FCterstr. 70, D-20146 Hamburg
   Tel.: +49 (0)40 42838 3093
   Fax.: +49 (0)40 42838 6270
   GSM : +49 (0)170 8352623
   E-Mail: stefan.gradmann_at_rrz.uni-hamburg.de
   WWW: http://www.rrz.uni-hamburg.de/RRZ/S.Gradmann

    Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth,
    more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is
    subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible,
    thought is merciless to privilege, established
    institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks
    into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is
    great and swift and free, the light of the world,
    and the chief glory of man.

    - Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)
Received on Fri Mar 17 2006 - 04:22:40 EST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0 : Fri Mar 17 2006 - 04:22:41 EST