Session 15

Capturing uncertainty: learning, research, teaching
Professor William Wong, Professor Computing Science, Middlesex University London
Professor Ifan Shepherd, Professor GeoBusiness, Middlesex University London
Dr. Sylvia Gottschalk, Finance, Director of Finance Programmes,
Middlesex University London Professor Mandeep Dhami, Professor in  Decision Psychology, Middlesex University London  

Lisa Marzano, Associate Professor in Psychology, Middlesex University London 
John Watt, Associate Professor in Risk Management, Middlesex University London
Dr Chris Rooney, Researcher Visual Analytics, Middlesex University London
Dr Neesha Kodagoda, Operations Manager & Senior Researcher Visual Analytics, Middlesex University London

We will discuss how the concept of uncertainty is dealt with in different contexts including intelligence analysis, business, economics and finance, and clinical, legal and forensic psychology. We will consider the sorts of data and methods used to capture uncertainty in order to research and teach it. These can have lasting and significant impacts on society.  

Session summary:
Professor William Wong began this tantalisingly diverse session by explaining that the intention of this symposium “was to bring together a whole bunch of people to look at uncertainty from a whole spectrum of different problems” to address a fundamental issue, that “real world problems are multidisciplinary problems”.

From this perspective, the session explores research looking at various aspects of uncertainty being carried out across the different disciplines within the University. As professor Wong proposed, if we understand it a little better, we might help students to gain the knowledge and skills to work out how to deal with the nebulous and to work in the world.

Just before handing over to each of the presenters in turn (6-7 minutes each), he challenged the room to consider whether a centre of excellence for uncertainty could be created. It was this thread and question he used to pull the session together at the end – what might such a centre look like.

To get the breadth of the symposium, we suggest watching the video (above) and considering the question as though you were there. One thought (of several) from the room at the end suggested that the richness of this session was in the variety and that the notion of a ‘centre’ might conflict with that, prompting further discussion of what it might look like.

So, as Professor Wong asks, "Is it possible, is it plausible, to look at a multidisciplinary study of uncertainty?" Watch the video to consider the notion, thoughts and perspectives for yourselves.