The 21st International World Wide Web Conference, (#WWW2012) for web professionals is over. Lyon convention center (Lyon, France) gathered many prominent computer and social science specialists, web and mobile technologies creators, internet researchers and scholars, developers, users and commercial ventures – actively engaging, interacting, writing, and communicating on web, Internet, social media, digital technologies, and emerging applications.
Recently finished #WWW2012 conference offered numerous workshops, sessions, tutorials, interesting keynotes from 16 – 20 April 2012 in Lyon, France on different topics, and in particular on a global concern in information-communication and web technologies in our society. The main theme of the WWW2012 is Society and Knowledge, and Future direction of the Web , and through numerous sessions and presentations it covered social, technological, and philosophical issues, which are critical web research subjects at the moment, as well as the actual topic of Internet and democracy, free access to services, freedom of expression, regulation and censorship, control and copyright.
Topics ranging from Web Search (information retrieval, ranking, relevance feedback, interactive search), Web Mining (clustering, classification, and summarization of Web data, predicting trends from web content, Web measurements, Web evolution), Social Networks (user-driven recommender systems, link prediction, social search, social mining, analysis of reputation), Data and Content Management, Semantic Web, Video on Web, as well as the topics on Security, Privacy, Trust and Abuse on the Internet were covered from different perspectives and approaches, but all related to the evolution of the Web.
I am selective here with some presentations, workshops, and papers since it was physically impossible to be present parallel at all events and tracks (see below some stats section on papers being presented). I didn’t count the number of participants at the conference, but I can estimate more than 2,000 participants in total. These are just some of my thoughts jotted down on workshops, sessions, and presentations as Part I of the #WWW2012 highlights.
Making Sense of Micro posts: Big things come in small packages
As I wrote earlier this year for the second time around I was in the Program Committee for the #MSM12 or Making Sense of Microposts workshop at #WWW2012 that offered up a very interesting pool of presentations and papers. In particular I would point out the keynote by Greg Ver Steeg – Information Theoretic Tools for Social Media who talked about interesting information theoretic measures for social media and how can we estimate these quantities, e.g., how well one user’s activity can predict another’s. He also presented techniques for estimating entropies (the case for spatio-temporal events, for textual information, etc.) You can find Greg’s presentation slides here.
My role at the #WWW2012 was also as a presenter of a research paper Small talk in the Digital Age: Making Sense of Phatic Posts. I was giving a talk on the phatic communication, and phatic posts – why tweets and Facebook updates on weather, food, and other trivia are very useful both for online communities and human relationships, and for the sustainability of the social network systems. I wrote earlier about here, here (The Scientific American), and here. Other interesting papers on microposts, sentiment analysis and semantics, information extraction, visualisation, search and networks – could be here found and downloaded.
The award for best paper went to the authors of the paper: Alleviating Data Sparsity for Twitter Sentiment Analysis. The authors presented the semantic feature set where they extract semantically hidden concepts from tweets and then incorporate them into classiﬁer training through interpolation, and the sentiment-topic feature set where latent topics and the associated topic sentiment were extracted from tweets.
Photo credit: D. Radovanovic
They have demonstrated the experimental results on the Stanford Twitter Sentiment Dataset that “show that both feature sets outperform the baseline model using unigrams only”.
Linked Learning 2012, and Education with the Web of Data
Another workshop at #WWW2012 that is worth mentioning and that I attended is the second International Workshop on Learning and Education with the Web of Data, in collaboration with Emerging Web Technologies, Facing the Future of Education.
The presentations offered various approaches making use of Web Data resources and technologies, especially Linked Data, for teaching, learning and education. The topics covered were: Linked Data technologies for educational purposes on the Web, distance teaching and openly available educational resources online, presenting the common practices with public higher education institutions and private training organizations.
Among many wonderful presentations, I found very interesting the work of Tom Heath, who in his paper, “Assembling and Applying an Education Graph based on Learning Resources in Universities”, introduced the vision of an ‘education graph’, which uses the Linked Data paradigm to make the connections in the graph manifest. From Tom’s blog: ”As an education graph develops, we’ll aim to share more of the details with the community at large, through events such as the ‘Linked Learning’ and ‘Linked Data on the Web’ workshops. We’re also participating in community groups such as Linked Universities, which provide a focal point for universities publishing their own information in Linked Data form. With the large search engines increasingly consuming linked, structured data published on the Web by the likes of national governments and the BBC, we hope that all higher education institutions will become first class citizens of the Web of Data by contributing directly to the education graph.”
Other interesting papers and presentations from this workshop: Foulonneau and Grouès – “Common vs. Expert Knowledge: Making the Semantic Web an Educational Model”, who won the best paper award, Bratsas, Dimou, Ioannidis, Bamidis and Antoniou – “Semantic CMS and Wikis as Platforms for Linked Learning”, Siadaty, Jovanovic, Gasevic, Milikic, Jeremic, Ali, Giljanovic and Hatala – “Semantic Web and Linked Learning to Support Workplace Learning”, and Vidal, Fernández and Díaz – “Thinking Semantic Wikis as Learning Object Repositories”.
Some interesting stats and recommended download
An amazing number of 885 full paper submissions responded to the call for papers. There were 521 PC members and 235 supporting reviewers who evaluated these papers. Based on 3,247 reviews and meta-reviews, 108 papers – only 12% of the submissions – could be accommodated in the technical programme. The corresponding submission and acceptance numbers per track are given as follows:
These papers represent a well-balanced mix over the 13 tracks listed in the call for papers.
You can download all #WWW2012 Proceedings available online from here (also downloadable as one zip file). Follow the Twitter hashtag #www2012 for the ongoing updates, uploads, information from and about the conference: https://twitter.com/search/%23www2012. It was a great event, the following Part II is on keynotes and participants.