About CSAC

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The Centre for Social Anthropology and Computing (CSAC) aims to advance 'ordinary' anthropology through the exploration, development and application of computational approaches to research problems across the range of anthropology including the humanities, social sciences and sciences. CSAC is presently part of HRAF Advanced Research Centres (hrafARC), affiliated with the Human Relations Area Files, Yale University.

About CSAC

The aim of the Centre is to advance anthropology through the exploration, development and application of computational approaches to research problems across the range of anthropology including the humanities, social sciences and sciences. Over the years we have adapted this to include the promotion of computational anthropology, not just through computers, but also the development of suitable applied mathematics, logic and other formal tools to support systemic work across the anthropological range, and development of novel means of encouraging participation and disseminating research.

Areas we pioneered and advanced include: qualitative analysis of textual and ethnographic materials; computer-assisted visual ethnography; modelling, simulation and artificial societies; methods of dissemination, particularly of field data; quantitative approaches to assessing qualitative methods, analysing social and cultural invention, the active representation of meaning, applications and implications of mobile computing, sensing and communications platforms and the transformation of virtual into concrete objects, institutions and structures.

Contact: General: csa-c@kent.ac.uk, Director: m.d.fischer@kent.ac.uk

CSAC recently became a member of HRAF Advanced Research Centres,  affiliated with the Human Relations Area Files at Yale University, and is no longer directly associated with the University of Kent. Over the past decade CSAC has led Anthropology in the development of an E-Science presence building onf our E-Science demonstrator project and the Agenda Setting Workshop funded by the ESRC and the NSF in 2007, and subsequent practical development and communication internationally in the form of conventional paper, web publications, committees and workshops at major disciplinary annual meetings. This research has resulted in a framework for advanced modelling we will develop further in collaboration with the UC Irvine Complex Social Science Supercomputer Gateway, supported by the NSF and  several proposals in progress and process. We are engaged in collaborative research with Michael Houseman's computational kinship group in Paris (CRNS/LAS) on Kinsources, founded by CSAC, whose infrastructure is now funded longterm by ANR. Our outreach has resulted in professional organisations (RAI, AAA, SASci) initiating more ambitious programmes. The Director, M Fischer, and then-Deputy Director, D. Zeitlyn were recruited to active committees for organisations including RAI, AAA, HRAF and JISC.

Context

CSAC operates around 10 real or virtual web servers, hosting about 30 web sites for CSAC and research partners. These are also operated as a cluster. These are purchased with overheads from CSAC supported research or from specific funds allocated to CSAC for providing specialist computing services. CSAC is recognised by the ESRC, NERC and ESPRC as providing specialist services that fall outside the normal Institutional capability. CSAC currently contracts six external virtual servers, and will be beginning to move most sites to these over the coming year.

CSAC has a small amount of gear used in fieldwork, including a satellite phone, a number of GPS devices, digital recorders, digital cameras, specialist handheld data loggers, and a small amount of tools for fabricating microcontroller/sensor boards for custom environmental monitoring. CSAC has permanent loan from the library of a microfiche and a microfilm reader, and from electronics of a rather ageing oscilloscope.

CSAC has a small projects room in Eliot, which is used to support ongoing research and external visitors. CSAC also uses a portion of a room to store the CSAC archives, representing the data underlying some 3.5 million pounds of externally funded research.

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Created by CSAC on 2013/09/26 05:52
Last modified by CSAC on 2016/05/31 07:33

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