Summary of WWW’09 conference

After a quite intensive week, WWW has concluded and it’s seems a good time to look back and summarize the main activities and experiences. Though it was my intention to keep a dairy log of the events, the lack of time was much more important than I expected. So, let this late entry replace the originally planned ones ūüėČ

The conference begun with a series of tutorials and workshops on both monday and tuesday. My schedule for tuesday included only attending the content analysis in web 2.0 sites workshop. The morning session was quite interesting, and included a really inspirational talk by Hugo Zaragoza where he described his work on mining web 2.0 available information to produce semantic formatted web content. Due to work obligations I had to miss the afternoon session of the workshop. However, it was a productive afternoon where I was able to discuss potential future works with Stefan Siersdorfer in order to continue with the fruitful collaboration that begun during our postdoc in Sheffield.

Wednesday was quite a long day. The main conference started that day, and the organizers had arranged for the prince of Spain to give a speech that very morning. The presence of media and the special security measures turned the conference venue into a not very scientific show. Fortunately, Tim Berners-lee did also give a speech that morning, and that helped us forget about less interesting political aspects.

On that day I met lots of new fellow researchers. I had already met on previous days with¬†colleagues¬†from Telefonica I+D (Xavier Amatriain and Pere Obrador). I also met additional members of the research lab that telefonica has in Barcelona, including Joachim Neumann, Karen Church and Josep M. Pujol. I had the chance to meet a former intern of the same lab, Meeyoung Cha, now working as a postdoc at Max Plank Institute. She gave a superb presentation on that day and later joined us to experience Madrid’s night life. Some other¬†colleague¬†from MPI also joined us, Fabian, Mauro and Dimitar.

Another rather interesting session that day was Recommender Systems, where I especially liked the “tagommenders” presentation by Shilad Sen, who will later be in charge of chairing the session where I presented my work.

On thursday I arrived in the conference venue just in time for my presentation, which was scheduled 2nd in the first session of the morning, at 12pm. More about it in this entry. Finishing the presentation felt quite good, and I was able to finally relax after some days of stress.

The afternoon sessions were very interesting. Right after lunch I went to the Media Applications session, where Lyndon Kennedy presented a very original work on grouping together videos captured during the same event. I had been working on similar ideas but using video content analysis instead of audio, so I really enjoyed the presentation. For the final session of the day I chose Web Privacy, which turned out to be a very informative session about all the private data that can be inferred from our interaction with the internet. I especially enjoyed¬†Elena Zheleva’s work on the exploitation of public profiles to know about private profiles.

After the sessions, we headed to the golf course nearby for the conference banquet. By that time of the day and the week I was already exhausted, and although dinner was good I couldn’t enjoy myself so much. Chance wanted that I would sit down at the same table where Marc Gauvin was. He talked me about his new project, a digital rights management system that sounded really interesting (and which I had the chance to see demoed the following day).

On friday I arrived to the conference venue just in time to hear Ricardo Baeza’s keynote. It was a really interesting talk, where he reviewed some methods to exploit social data to enhance search. The most interesting aspect of the talk was the kind of social data they use. Instead of mining web 2.0 sites, they have enough information in their query logs to mine user community interactions. About the sessions, I attended Web Monetization before lunch (not really my cup of tea), Query Categorization right after lunch (interesting talks about methods to better understand user queries) and finally went to the developers track to watch ipos-ds presentation and demo (good presentation of a really interesting service to allow management and licensing of content).

Overall, a top-quality conference that gave me the chance of meeting many new researchers and research works. Inspirational and educational at the same time. Next appointment: SIGIR!

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