WWW started today with the round of tutorials and workshops that commonly precede such large conferences. I met again with some of the people I’ve been running into in the last few conferences I’ve attended and used the chance to receive an update from them. I also met with my former college Stefan Siersdorfer, co-author of the submission I got accepted into this conference.
In the morning session I attended the social computing tutorial conducted by Irwin King and which turned out to be rather interesting. This comprehensive review of the many different research areas around web communities had it’s highlight in the human computation section, when he spoke of the different mechanical turk-based applications for the collection of difficult to obtain knowledge directly from humans. These applications are normally implemented as games and are massively used. There was also time for a good introduction to query suggestion techniques, as well as some remarks on privacy issues on the web. He finished the presentation with some thoughts about education and the web. Such a enormous source of information is transforming the ways students can learn about the different subjects. Teachers should become more and more authorities to validate rigorous and valid references to knowledge. Learning does not need to be a one-to-many activity anymore.
The afternoon was shorter as I had to work on my thursday presentation. I partially attended the ‘learning to rank’ tutorial, which provided a quite interesting introduction to rank mechanisms.