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Web Intelligence 2007 November 3, 2007

Posted by Andre Vellino in Information retrieval, Recommender service, Social networks.

The very little I saw of Web Intelligence 2007 was beneficial for me. There appears to be lots of activity in figuring out how to use ontologies to improve both personalization and the quality of IR. I especially liked “Ontological User Profiles for Representing Context in Web Search”, which has a long paper counterpart.

A few things were pretty odd about this conference. One was the venue for the sit-down luncheon – there was obviously not enough space in the hotel anywhere, so we were all sat down in a the semi-enclosed hotel parking lot. Our chairs and were tilted by the sloped ground surface.

The best paper award ceremony at WI 2007 was also quite the surreal event. I felt I was in a film by Alain Renais. Picture this: the caterers bring in the food; everybody queues up for it (grad students are hungry and there were a lot of them) and everyone begins talking and eating. The chair of the conference picks up the microphone and starts making announcements – everybody’s still talking. Someone make an effort to silence the madding crowds … but to no avail. So then the chair continues with the award ceremony – if you can call it that – while everyone (except for a polite few close to the projector screen) just carry on nattering and eating as though nothing was happening.

What was so weird was this combination of an oblivious audience AND the willingness of the organizers to stay unnoticed and just let everyone just carry on as if they weren’t there. It was as if they were going through the motions of best paper award ceremonies because they are supposed to happen at conferences but with the tacit acknowledgment that nobody really cares about what happens when they do. It was, as I say, quite surreal.

WI 2008 will be in Sydney Australia but I don’t think I’ll be going to that one – the CO2 emission costs being one of the reasons, of course.


1. Daniel Lemire - November 5, 2007

Yes. Cutting down on air travel is the only sane thing to do, unless you hate Earth.

If only journals could evolve and support more of a community…

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