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Quantifying Performance and Success in Science and Art

16 September 2019
A Colloquium by Roberta Sinatra of ITU Copenhagen

Performance, representing the objectively measurable achievements in a certain domain of activity, like the publication record of a scientist or the winning record of an athlete, captures the actions of an individual entity. In contrast, success, captured by impact or visibility, is a collective measure, representing a community’s reaction and acceptance of an individual entity’s performance. We are often driven by the belief that the detection of extraordinary performance is sufficient to predict exceptional success. However, the link between these two measures, while often taken for granted, is actually far from being understood. Indeed, even experts of performance assessment are notoriously bad at predicting long-term success. Nevertheless, differently from performance, success is quantifiable and predictable: given its collective nature, its signatures can be uncovered from the many pieces of data around us using the tools of complex systems, network and data science.

On Wednesday 25 September, Roberta Sinatra of ITU Copenhagen will focus on success in science and art as a way to testing our ability to measure and predict success. She will discuss the role of luck in achieving success and will address the relation between performance and success in a variety of settings, highlighting the challenges of gauging performance through success. Her Colloquium, entitled "Quantifying Performance and Success in Science and Art", will take place at the "Paolo Budinich" Main Lecture Hall at 4pm.

Image from Wikimedia (Martin Grandjean)