Page 1

Number 22, September 2011 | |

! !

Women in science

!"#$%&'&$()"#*+$(,,-!$,./0#1$ 23456#7$8*)#/9#5#*9#*)$-5:;#*#):<$,:;*+6=$:*$2+*<#/$ 8*:):+):3*$>28-,28?$ A33B$/#0:#C$D$23456#7:)1$E#41=):F:#9$D$($G.:9#$F3/$ H/+<):):3*#/=$ J.)./82!$+*9$K3.*;$L#=#+/<"#/=$:*$23456#7$,1=)#4=$ ,<:#*<#=$ L#+9:*;$,*:55#)=$ 23*F#/#*<#=$+*9$C3/B="35=$ P3Q=$ 23*)+<)=$ !



he ASSYST / CSS Newsletter presents this month an extract from the 2010 Athena Summary Report concerning women!s scientists career progression @$ in UK universities. Not surprisingly, results show some progression, but there are still real differences between I men and women, namely in what concerns science careers. Now that results from the UK survey are available, would be really interesting to discuss the same M$ subject regarding other European data. Maybe in a future issue of the newsletter...


You will be able to find here some other news concerning the complex systems community: a synthetic text '& reporting the evolution of the on-going project “Complex Interdependent Epigenetic Signals in Cancer Initiation”, '& the review of the new book “Complexity Demystified - A Guide for Practitioners”, several announcements and the already indispensable “Reading snippets”.


Welcome to the ASSYST / CSS Newsletter, and don!t forget that we all have a rendez-vous in a couple of weeks in Vienna, for the European Conference on Complex Systems ! The ASSYST Team

Women steel workers use an automobile to picket on steel mill property during a steel strike, 1919 (1)

News from the research community

The 2010 Athena ASSET Survey Extract from the 2010 Athena Summary Report concerning women!s scientists career progression in UK universities


he Athena Survey of Science, Engineering and Technology (ASSET) was established in 2003 by the Athena Project in support of its aims – the advancement of women in science, engineering, and technology in higher education and research and a corresponding significant increase in the number of women in top posts. Information on the project, including headline findings from the first two surveys can be found on the website of the Athena Forum, which succeeded the project in 2008 (

But the survey shows that although it is narrowing, the gap between men and women remains. Women typically report that they understand less about promotion criteria

The ASSET Survey ASSET is a web based survey of scientists working in UK universities. It explores areas identified by the Athena Project as important to career progression and how far the apparent differences in men!s and women!s progression can be related to the organisation and culture of science in universities. It is designed to: • capture information on science career pathways, and the experiences, expectations and perceptions of academics of what contributes to successful career progression; • raise awareness of the issues of career progression for women in science; • illuminate the differences - real and perceived - in men!s and women!s experiences of science in universities;

Woman scientist, about 1920 (2)

• develop the evidence base to underpin action planning, implementation and evaluation; • enable universities to measure their progress and benchmark it against the UK position. The 2010 Athena ASSET survey, which builds on the previous surveys, covers women in science. Their experiences are improving, with the gap between men!s careers and women!s closing, and with women becoming more ambitious in their scientific aspirations.

than men, and on average, they attribute their success to different factors than men do. Many women still feel invisible to their bosses, and many believe that their job choices are limited by external factors rather than options within their own control. The survey took place between 19 January and 26 February 2010. All UK STEMM (Science, Technology; Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) departments were invited to participate. 7093 people responded: 4501



Academics (Professors, Readers, Senior Lecturers and Lecturers) and 2592 Post docs from 420 departments in 84 universities. This represents 8% of the eligible population in the participating universities.

departments. Women still do not feel that they are visible to senior managers. iv. Men have greater external visibility and predominate in external activities. v. Men are more in control of their employment choice. Their choice is influenced by factors such as the intellectual challenge, autonomy and reputation of the Department. Women are more likely to report that their job choice was limited by location and availability. vi. Male academics still predominate in positions of power and influence. vii. Women are becoming more ambitious.

Women working as wipers in the roundhouse having lunch, Clinton, Iowa, USA,1943 (3) Key Findings While some elements of women!s experiences in STEMM have improved since the 2003/04 survey, much has not. Women continue to feel disadvantaged and excluded in a number of ways. The US National Academies Report "Beyond Bias and Barriers! (2006) noted that "small but consistent differences in evaluation, often caused by gender bias, can have a sustained and substantial impact in career outcomes!. The 2010 ASSET data suggests a parallel phenomenon. Many of the differences we report are not numerically large but are statistically significant. The data indicate that at every stage of their career women either still perceive disadvantage, or there remain differences, relative to men. These differences accumulate over the course of an individual career to create differences in opportunity and experience. i. Promotion and career development remain a challenge. Women understand less about both the promotion process and criteria; they continue to feel themselves disadvantaged and identify a number of factors which have had a detrimental impact on their careers. They remain more likely to work part time and to be on temporary contracts. ii. Men and women academics attribute their success to different factors: men to their own efforts plus a bit of luck, women to the support they have received. iii. Men report a more positive working environment. They feel more valued and socially integrated in their

viii. Women and Science initiatives are being noticed. Women, of course predominate in these activities. Interestingly whilst women report benefit at University level it is their male colleagues who report benefit at Departmental level.

ix. Looking ahead, academic men are more likely to want to continue their career in academic science although the overall numbers wishing to leave are small.

Results Promotion and career development remain a challenge for women. Female post docs are more positive about aspects of their career success to date than female academics. They report the positive effect of hard work and the opportunity to work on high profile projects as well as acknowledging the contribution the support of managers and colleagues has made to their success to date. They are also more likely than their male post doc counterparts to believe the department values successes in their working lives. Women are more likely to have taken a career break (apart from maternity leave) than men. Most academics believe that the allocation of resources and facilities are fair but a small group of women academics and post docs believe that they are disadvantaged by their treatment in respect of: the allocation of office and lab space; the distribution of resources; and access to IT support and equipment. Interestingly, given what is commonly reported about women being disadvantaged by too much teaching, in this survey men academics are more




Wall of Respect for Women, New York wall mural, November 1974 (4)

likely to report that they were undertaking undergraduate teaching, whilst women academics report insufficient teaching experience as detrimental to their careers. Women at every level (Professor, Reader, Senior Lecturer, Lecturer and Post Doc) and in every age group (under 35, 35-54, 55+) are more likely to feel disadvantaged in relation to promotion and in relation to the quality of feedback that they receive. Partnered men are more likely than partnered women to report that high teaching and admin loads have been detrimental to their careers while partnered women are more likely to refer to the lack of mentoring, role models, a lack of teaching and admin experience as detrimental. Men have greater external visibility. Single women are more likely to be engaged in external activities than partnered women.

Men are more in control of their employment choice. Geographical location is a constraint on women. Both single women and women with partners report "inability to move location easily!. Comparing the responses of women and men with children, children have a greater impact on women!s careers in STEMM than they do on men!s. Male academics still occupy more positions of power and influence From the age of 35 onwards men predominate on Finance and Planning and Promotions Committees in departments, regardless of seniority or position.

See the original 2010 Athena Summary Report for details. The document is available at ort_Athena.pdf


On-going Projects

Complex Interdependent Epigenetic Signals in Cancer Initiation (CIESCI) by Karthika Raghavan, Irina Roznov#$ and Heather J. Ruskin


omplex Interdependent Epigenetic Signals in Cancer Initiation (CIESCI) is a collaborative project between the Centre for Scientific Computing & Complex Systems Modelling, (Sci-Sym), Dublin City University in Ireland, Bellvitge Institute for Biomedical Research, (IDIBELL) in Spain and the Bioinformatics group, (BIIT), Dept. of Computer Science, University of Tartu/Estonian Biocentre. The project, (funded by the Complexity-Net ERANET (FP6) action plan), aims to

investigate epigenetic events, formulate and test hypotheses on their correlations and build a modelling framework to predict system behaviour under normal and abnormal conditions. Phenotype (P) or visible trait characteristics in an organism are influenced by three main factors, namely environment (E), genotype (or genetic content - G), and chemical changes to the DNA molecules and associated proteins, which leave the basic sequence unaffected - a

Modelling Interdependent Epigenetic signals in Cancer Initiation â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Overview. Information flow/interfaces in our epigenetic multi-layered approach. Layer 1 : micro-model for prediction of epigenetic events. Layer 2 integrates Layer 1 outcomes and empirical data from epigenetic databases such as StatEpigen (, containing quantitative information on genes involved in abnormal conditions such as colon cancer. "#$%&'!((!)!*++,+-./++!"&012&33&'!4!+&53&$%&'!(677!


phenomenon known as Epigenetics; (P= E+G+EpiG). Key epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation and histone protein modifications control gene expression, imprinting and chromatin structure in the human genome. Cancer studies indicate that a serious imbalance exists between oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes leading to malignancy. Early findings highlighted adverse indications due to aberrations in DNA Methylation, specifically hypo/hyper methylation, linked to chromosomal instability and gene silencing, amongst others. Despite important work on these several elements individually, precise information is lacking on the nature of the complex interactions between methylation and the network of histones (modifications) and other proteins, such as MDP, HP1 and Polycomb, under normal conditions and those resulting in disease. The laboratory component of this multi-strand project involves generating novel data through comprehensive study of the epigenome-wide profile that connects DNA methylation, histone modification

enzymes at different stages of cancer initiation and progression (IDIBELL). The second component is focused on establishing a pipeline for new and archival epigenetic relevant data, using large-scale specialised database integration/mining techniques (BIIT). The final objective is to build integrated/hybrid models, combining agent-based and network approaches across several scales, in order to track the influence of epigenetic changes at system level and identify triggers leading to abnormalities and disease onset, (Sci Sym). The goal is a comprehensive model framework, allowing incorporation of different complex molecular events, to aid understanding of how these successively combine to initiate transcription or gene suppression and, ultimately, to influence the phenotype of an organism. Citation: Raghavan K, Ruskin HJ, Perrin D, Goasmat F, Burns J (2010) Computational Micromodel for Epigenetic Mechanisms. PLoS ONE 5(11): e14031. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014031 Contact:

_____________ Book review by Jane Bromley, Scientific Administrator for ASSYST, based at The Open University

Complexity Demystified - A Guide for Practitioners Authors: Patrick Beautement and Christine Broenner. Published by Triarchy Press. ISBN: 978-1-908009-24-1


his book was written by two members of The abaci Partnership LLP (see note 1), a consulting company which “offers novel and effective approaches to address the increasingly complex situations facing government, academia, commerce and user communities.” It came about from their extensive experience of working with such partners and from insights arising from a day long satellite meeting held at ECCS!09 (see note 2) “Putting Complexity to work Supporting the Practitioners” which was partly financially supported by ASSYST. Although the book does talk about academic concepts it is very much aimed at being helpful to a wide range of practitioners – people who work with

complex realities in their day-to-day work. Indeed their workshop, which I attended, had probably the most diverse range of attendees of the whole ECCS conference covering not only various academic institutes, but also companies, consultancies, defence organizations, government departments, community engagement specialists, journalists and probably others that I have missed. A key observation for the authors was that humans face two different types of situations - highly-structured versus wicked-problems - but mostly apply a mechanistic solution to both. The book hopes to alter this, by giving a



systematic appreciation of how to alter practices to match reality. The first part of the book explains the rationale for an alternative approach to this second type of situation while the final part explains how to use their Approach and discusses six varied case studies. In a nutshell, the Approach indicates that real practice is about appreciating the nature of the dynamic flow in the context; and how the underlying complexity generates the features and phenomena that practitioners work with. These are aspects of the Approach. Understanding how to engage with the realities to influence and shape them is another aspect. Identifying

mis-matches, tensions and trade-offs is a third. Having the 'complexity-worthy' capabilities to do all that is also necessary. And being able to do it all iteratively together, with those best placed to bring about change, gives the overall holistic Approach explained in the book. The authors, therefore, ask you to see the book not as a recipe book but as a travel guide. An interesting sideline of the book is the many quotes and examples it contains which show how complexity has been key to human endeavour throughout history. So, very much a practical book, with a European slant, which should be interesting to anyone in the complexity field. Notes: (1) (2) events/eccs09/satellites/

________________ Announcement FuturICT and Young Researchers in Complex Systems Sciences by Iain Kusel, Jasmin Kominek, Martine Barons, Yixian Song, Andrea Apolloni and Bruno Gonçalves


o kick off the cooperation between young researchers in complex systems sciences, YRN Complex, and FuturICT (, a series of networking events sponsored by FuturICT is planned during the week of the European Conference of Complex Systems, 12th September to 17th September 2011 (ECCS 2011). Young researchers (M.Sc., Ph.D. and early Post-Doctoral) will get the chance to meet each other, exchange ideas and tackle a complex systems problem related to the field of the FuturICT project. Special insights may also be gained in the prearranged meetings with keynote speakers and by talking to researchers at the helm of the FuturICT project. Question such as, “How would you like future Ph.D. positions or education within the FuturICT project to be structured?” can be posed. There will be an introductory meal during which a 'topic of the week' (SFI homework problem style relevant to FuturICT is unveiled. This special topic can be addressed by participants during the week as time permits. Locally as well as online there will be the opportunity to present your ideas to FuturICT researchers. For those young researchers who are interested in participation but are unable to join us in Vienna, we aim to provide the possibility for online participation via a website and various other communication tools. Please visit the YRN Complex website ( which contains full details of the event and how to register. Interest in the event can also be expressed by emailing Jasmin Kominek at the Research Group Climate Change and Security at the University of Hamburg ( or Iain Kusel at the Design Group at the Open University (



Reading snippets Emotional Analysis of Blogs and Forums Data

issue on Population, highlights demographic trends around the globe, which offer a window into what our future world may look like.

We perform a statistical analysis of emotionally annotated comments in two large online datasets, examining chains In Science of consecutive posts in the discussions. Using comparisons with randomised data we show that there is a high level of correlation for the emotional content of Diversity and Complexity messages. This book provides an introduction to the role of diversity in complex adaptive systems. A complex system--such as an In arXiv economy or a tropical ecosystem--consists of interacting adaptive entities that produce dynamic patterns and Characterization and exploitation of structures. Diversity plays a different role in a complex system than it does in an equilibrium system, where it community structure in cover song often merely produces variation around the mean for networks performance measures. In complex adaptive systems, The use of community detection algorithms is explored diversity makes fundamental contributions to system within the framework of cover song identification, i.e. the performance. automatic detection of different audio renditions of the same underlying musical piece. Starting from the output of In Princeton University Press a state-of-the-art system, songs are embedded in a complex weighted network whose links represent similarity (related musical content). Communities inside the network Modeling Multi-Level Systems are then recognized as groups of covers and this Complex systems are assemblies of several subsystems information is used to enhance the results of the system. and are characterized by emergent behavior resulting by Furthermore, we provide insight into the internal nonlinear interactions among subsystems formultiple organization of individual cover song communities, showing that there is a tendency for the original song to be levels of organization. The complexity of numerous systems is rooted in the existence of many levels of selfcentral within the community. organization corresponding to different time and space scales. A challenge for complex systems science and In arXiv technology is to develop mathematical formalisms and modeling methods able to capture complete systems Better, greener and smarter cities dynamics by integration of contribution at several The September 2011 Issue of the Scientific American hierarchically organized levels. Existing models involve a Magazine presents a collection of articles about how to large number of nonlinear equations, difficult to handle make our cities better, greener and smarter, including “The analytically or numerically, and to correlate with real Smartest Cities Will Use People as Their Sensors - by systems behavior. Among the open questions, we mention networking individuals and their gadgets, urban apps will the definition of relevant parameters and variables to be tell inhabitants what is happening all around them, in real measured at each scale or level, the study of coupling time”; “Harnessing Residents' Electronic Devices Will Yield between different levels, the insufficiency of the algorithmic Truly Smart Cities - The best way to harness a city's schema for evolvable or autonomous systems modeling. potential for creativity and innovation is to jack people into The proposed modeling tools for multi-scale and multithe network and get out of the way”, and a lot more. level systems are the polystochastic models, PSM. These characterize systems coming out when several stochastic In Scientific American processes, running at different conditioning levels, are capable to interact with each other, resulting in qualitatively new processes and systems. Polystochastic 9 Billion? models aim to discover and describe new structures and The world has never seen anything like the population behaviors, which cannot be detected by one level explosion of the past century. The United Nations projects approaches and cannot be educed to the summation of that the global population will top 9 billion by 2050 and 10 several levels contributions. billion by 2100. But these projections are uncertain, as In Springer Complexity they depend on assumptions about the future, such as many children a woman will have 20 or 30 years 7/#section=855237&page=1 hence. This video, part of Science!s 29 July 2011 special



Conferences and workshops

9 coins11 Collaborative Innovation Networks Conference Basel, Switzerland | HyperWerk Institute for Postindustrial Design 8 Sep 2011 to 10 Sep 2011

ICORE2011 2nd International Conference on Reputation Montpellier, France 19 Sep 2011 to 19 Sep 2011

ECCS11 European Conference on Complex Systems 2011 Vienna, Austria 12 Sep 2011 to 16 Sep 2011

MAS&S 2011 5th International Workshop on MultiAgent Systems and Simulation (MAS&S 2011) Szczecin, Poland 19 Sep 2011 to 21 Sep 2011

ICMC2011 2nd International Conference on Morphological Computation ECLT, Venice, Italy 12 Sep 2011 to 14 Sep 2011

EPIA.2011 15th Portuguese Conference on Artificial Intelligence Lisbon, Portugal 10 Oct 2011 to 13 Oct 2011

OSINT-WM International Symposium on Open Source Intelligence & Web Mining 2011 Athens, Greece 12 Sep 2011 to 14 Sep 2011

CASON 2011 Third International Conference on Computational Aspects of Social Networks Salamanca, Spain 19 Oct 2011 to 20 Oct 2011

PHDVienna2011 PhD Research in Progress Workshop III Vienna, Austria 14 Sep 2011 to 14 Sep 2011

NICSO 2011 Nature Inspired Cooperative Strategies for Optimization Cluj Napoca, Romania 20 Oct 2011 to 22 Oct 2011

ANT2011 2nd International Conference on Ambient Systems, Networks and Technologies Ontario, Canada 19 Sep 2011 to 21 Sep 2011

SPIM2011 2nd Workshop on Semantic Personalized Information Management: Retrieval and Recommendation Bonn, Germany 23 Oct 2011 to 24 Oct 2011

SWESE2011 7th International Workshop on Semantic Web Enabled Software Engineering In collaboration with ISWC 2011, Bonn, Germany 23 Oct 2011 to 24 Oct 2011

CAS AAAI 2011 AAAI Fall Symposium - Complex Adaptive Systems: Energy Information and Intelligence Arlington, VA, USA 4 Nov 2011 to 6 Nov 2011

EUMAS 2011 European Workshop on Multi-agent Systems Mastricht, Netherlands 14 Nov 2011 to 15 Nov 2011

ICAART 2012 4th International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal 6 Feb 2012 to 8 Feb 2012

SESOC2012 4th International Workshop on Security and Online Social Networks Lugano, Switzerland 19 Mar 2012 to 19 Mar 2012

CI2012 Collective Intelligence 2012 MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA 18 Apr 2012 to 20 Apr 2012





PhD PhD Scholarships in Computer Science and Engineering IMT Institute for Advanced Studies, Computer Science and Applications Research Area Italy, Wed 28 of Sep., 2011

(,,K,!$D$(<):3*$F3/$)"#$,<:#*<#$3F$<3456#7$ ,K=)#4=$+*9$,3<:+661$:*)#66:;#*)$:<!$



Jane Bromley, Jeff Johnson, Iain Kusel, Jorge Louçã, David MS Rodrigues, and Karthika Raghavan


Web: RSS: Twitter: FriendFeed: Email:

2,,$S$23456#7$,1=)#4=$,3<:#)1$ Web: RSS: Suggestions:

866.=)/+):3*=R$ (1) Steel workers picketing, 1919 - Library of Congress (2) Woman scientist, about 1920 - Library of Congress

The ASSYST project acknowledges the financial support of the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) programme within the ICT theme of the Seventh Framework Programme for Research of the European Commission.

(3) Women workers employed as wipers in the roundhouse having lunch in their rest room, C. & N.W. R.R., Clinton, Iowa (LOC) - Library of Congress, (4) Wall of Respect for Women, New York wall mural, November 1974 - Getty Images / Hulton Archive / Rosen

$ ,)3/1$=.Q4:==:3*$;.:9#6:*#=R$$ If you are a Complex System researcher/practitioner and want to share a success story about your work / research please submit it to The story should approximately 500 words (if you want to submit an extended story please contact us) and should be sent in TXT, ODT, RTF or DOC file formats.



ASSYST Newsletter September 2011 - Number 22  

ASSYST Newsletter September 2011 - Number 22