28 August 2015
On 29 July, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international consortium of over 400 member organisations that work together to develop Web standards and guidelines to ensure the long-term growth of the Web, announced that its Australian office would be relocated to the Australian National University (ANU). The Australian W3C office will be jointly hosted by the ANU College of Business and Economics (CBE), and the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS). With its wide range of research, the ANU is in a unique position to help broaden the reach of the W3C beyond its traditional Web development focus. The hosting of the W3C Office as a joint effort between the CBE and CECS reflects the inter-disciplinary role the World Wide Web plays for organisations and individuals alike. Clearly, the Internet and the associated World Wide Web technologies that overlay the Internet have revolutionised the way we all operate, including the research that is undertaken in CECS, specifically, for example, Research into the semantic web, information retrieval, the mobile web, web eye gaze technologies, web security, social media and social networks. Expertise in the field of digital and crypto-currencies in CBE align very well with a recent initiative in the W3C to develop browser-based standards for Web payments. ANU also hosts Australia’s highest performance research cloud, which is used by staff and external partners for data intensive applications using data modelling standards developed in the W3C Data Activity. The ANU also works closely with Government agencies in developing guidelines for the publishing of Open Data according to W3C’s best practises for publishing machine-readable data. As the host of the W3C Australia Office, ANU will also play an important role in helping W3C achieve its mission by broadening participation of more diverse stakeholders from Australia in W3C activities; by developing relationships with Australian technology and policy leaders; and by promoting the adoption and implementation of W3C standards in Australia. The W3C Australia Office will also recruit and service members in the region, and develop education and outreach programs to raise awareness of W3C’s role and standards activities by sponsoring and supporting local events where there is a focus on W3C topics. The W3C Australia Office will be staffed by Dr Armin Haller from CBE, who will become Manager of the W3C Australian Office, and Dr Priscilla Kan John, also from CBE, who will become the Business Developer. There will be a local steering committee, including Prof Shirley Leitch and Prof Shirley Gregor from CBE and Prof Alistair Rendell, Prof Tom Gedeon, and Dr Ramesh Sankaranarayana from CECS.