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19 April 2017 @ 14:00 - 16:00

Digital Culture Seminar – 19 April 2017 – Seminars Classroom EST – Dept. of Computer Science – Pisa

Federico Meschini (UniTUS)
Humanities Informatics, digital editions and computational thinking.

“Young man, in mathematics you don’t understand things. You just get used to them.” This phrase, attributed to John Von Neumann, and with a strong pragmatic flavour, as well as the engineering approach of the homonymous machine, in opposition with the abstract nature of the Turing machine, it well suits the many attempts of definition of the digital edition. In this seminar we want to propose a particular approach, that includes in the various attempts of analysis the so- called “Computational thinking”, exactly as Jeannette Wing defined it ten years ago, and referring, at a more general level, to the Theoretical Informatics and to de studies of computability; the importance of this approach starts to be considered also in the sector of Digital Humanities, and, more generally, from the point of view of the overcome of the two cultures division or, looking back, of the gutembergian separation of knowledge between human sciences and exact sciences.
The critical editions have always been one of the most relevant aspects of humanistic informatics, for their history, spreading, and combination of theoretical reflections and practical applications. What can be the interaction between these two aspects: on one hand the tools that computational thinking makes available for a better comprehension of the digital editions nature, on the other hand how the latter can help to spread this attitude, judged as one of the basic components for the inhabitants of 21st century, in human sciences and not only? From an ontological point of view a digital edition has the same status of a vending machine, since both of them can be reduced to finite state machine, even if from an epistemological point of view are totally different and meet the opposite demands, on one hand cognitive on the other of subsistence.
Despite the need of an abstract approach has been repeatedly emphasized in different theoretical reflections, the use of the


19 April 2017
14:00 - 16:00