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climate.space launched in Cambridge to provide virtual overview of climate change knowledge

A virtual overview of the world’s knowledge on climate change is being created by a Cambridge technology consultant alongside a spin-out from CERN.

Colin Ramsay, left, and Stefan Haselwimmer, co-founders of climate.space. Picture: Keith Heppell
Colin Ramsay, left, and Stefan Haselwimmer, co-founders of climate.space. Picture: Keith Heppell

climate.space was launched on Tuesday, on the 30th anniversary of the world wide web, and aims to unite researchers across the world to address climate change.

Stefan Haselwimmer, co-founder of climate.space, said: “With a new scientific publication produced every few seconds, it can be a challenge for researchers to stay up-to-date with their own research field, let alone other people’s research.

“climate.space will offer a virtual overview of knowledge, allowing researchers to view the progress of all climate change technology at a glance.”

It will feature a radical new user interface, offering a window into global research, developed by Stefan’s Concept Space Agency in tandem with gluoNNet, a non-for-profit spin-out of THE Port hackathon at CERN.

Using artificial intelligence, it deploys CERN’s collaboration spotting technology to highlight areas of shared interest for research, and a ‘topic positioning’ system to plot subjects in a co-ordinate system.

It was a visit to CERN, the European organisation for nuclear research, that gave Stefan the concept.

“I was struck by how international collaboration is crucial to everything CERN has achieved so far,” he said. “I came away thinking we need a ‘CERN for climate change’. climate.space is our attempt to put that into practice,” said Stefan, who previously launched The Independent and Mirror newspapers online in 1997, ran the New Statesman Online and createdPhoneAnything, the UK’s first telephone portal to provide phone access to internet content.

A screenshot from the climate.space demo (7716910)
A screenshot from the climate.space demo (7716910)

CERN has pioneered collaboration in particle physics since its creation in the 1950s. It brings together more than 13,000 visiting scientists, representing more than 600 universities and 100 nationalities.

THE Port is CERN’s attempt to extend this collaborative approach to humanitarian problem-solving, using an international hackathon.

Daniel Dobos, a former CERN physicist and co-founder of gluoNNet and THE Port, said: “In my 15 years working at CERN, I have been impressed with how purpose-driven international collaboration can change the world. I am confident this same spirit can accelerate global actions on climate change.

“Collaboration-fostering tools like climate.space are essential to breaking down silos and empowering global, cross-organisational and cross-sector collaboration.”

The hope is that GluoNNet’s collaboration engine will empower researchers to identify and create collaborations in hours rather than months.

Sir David King, the UK’s former chief scientific adviser and special representative for climate change, is developing plans for a Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge, that would act as a global research and development hub.

He said: “The threats to humanity from climate change are now recognised to be more severe than predicted 20 years ago. If we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, we must collaborate internationally at an unprecedented speed and scale.

A Cambridge Centre for Climate Repair and initiatives like climate.space are crucial to bringing together global partners to tackle humanity’s greatest challenge with renewed urgency.”

Find out more at http://climate.space and see a demonstration at http://climate.space/demo.

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