Sunday, May 02, 2010

Report on WWW 2010 Conference

Here is some spotty reportage on the WWW2010 conf.

PC Chair Juliana Freire presented statistics, including tag clouds of words in the accepted abstracts as well as that for all the submitted abstracts, and pointed out that they had many similarities, so stringing a paper from these words should not help. Soumen Chakrabarti, the other PC Chair, who did real-time coding during the PC meeting to machine-analyze the papers, said that there was a lot of intersection across tracks, an argument that may point to less tracks-based silos in the future. He also said, "... it is your own submissions that determine the quality of papers in the conf." Ominous.

Vint Cerf
gave the first plenary talk. He has a good sense of humor ("Mayans must have known something because IP v4 addresses will run out on ...", IP-enabled Surfboard while you wait for the waves, How sensors can monitor wine in your cellar when you are away, etc.) After surveying the spread of Internet, he highlighted some work: Nick McKeown's flowrouter, Jeff Jonas's database work with DHS. He also mentioned some big research challenges: inter-cloud interaction (telnet between clouds?), 3d rendition in Cloud, how to archive applications and avoid bit rot (will windows 3000 interpret your 97 ppt file?), etc.

One of the other plenary talks was given by Danah Boyd, titled: Privacy and Publicity in the context of Big Data. I tend to use "Big Data"as in bad "Big Pharma", but her talk emphasized the badness of "Big Data Analyzers". Here is the full text of her talk. Her talk was polished, premeditated, and had plenty of pictures as well as clever phrases ("uncertainty principle" of social behavior analysis). She discussed issues in dealing with person-related data: sampling biases, using surrogate measures for the underlying phenom such as frequency of contact for meaningful tie strength, ethics, etc. Facebook, alas, was the focus for privacy challenges. She concluded: "Big Data is made of people", meaning, we have to apply people rules in dealing with them.

Some interesting conversations: Ravi Kumar referred to Berkeley as the "Theory City", rightly. We wondered if twitter has short forms for use with the sesquipedelian German language, Vanja verbalized a big challenge over lunch as automated data access across platforms beyond ec2 and Google Apps, and the advantages of systems like Hive. Pablo Rodriguez (his tweets here) and I discussed how to set metrics for innovation in academia and corporations. One of my theory coauthors from the far past told me, "we should try to get back together to think of some problems, sans students even", what a pleasant thought!



Post a Comment

<< Home