Thursday, February 12

WSDM 2009 Best Papers and other Highlights from Matt Lease

(See previous WSDM 2009 coverage here and here.)

Things are a bit crazy at WSDM and, as usual, Internet connectivity is spotty. However, in his exhausted state Matt Lease sent me a few highlights. He's been doing some great research with us here at Amherst and is graduating this summer in case anyone is interested in that sort of thing.

How many CS PhDs does it take to fix a projector?
159. 9 actively, 150 watching.
After 30 min they managed to get it working by plugging into the projector, meaning presenters had to do hand signals to get slide changes for rest of session -- everyone had their own distinct style of coping with the absurdity of the situation.

Best Paper Awards
Best Paper: Integration of News Content into Web Results by Fernando Diaz (congratulations! A recent CIIR alum brings in another best paper award)
Best Student Paper: The Web Changes Everything: Understanding the Dynamics of Web Content by Eytan Adar, Jon Elsas, Jamie Teevan, and Susan Dumais (congratulations Jon and Eytan!)
Best Late Breaking: Time Will Tell: Leveraging Temporal Expressions in IR by Irem Arikan, Srikanta Bedathur and Klaus Berberich

Interesting Links
A new visual interface for browsing (try computer science) - help Collect User Generated tags search tags (see their firefox plugin)

What's Hot
  • Rendering bags of words with frequency shown by font size
  • Tags & IR (flickr, delicious, LibraryThingWorks, ...)
  • Mechanical turk evaluation / annotation
  • Wikipedia (resource)
  • Open Directory Project (categorization)
Thanks Matt!


  1. Well, Fernando Diaz had the best signaling approach.. most of the people didn't realize the strong correlation between taking a sip of water and changing the slides =)

    On a similar note, another later talk today at WAW had a similar mishap, although this time only the green channel signal was missing from the projector, so everything was red/blue/pink... which isnt too bad, unless you're talking about _coloured_ graphs.. oh the irony =)

  2. I regretted the water-drinking signal after I think the second slide/fifth swig. But, as I announced before the talk, it was indeed the most bizarre presentation I ever would give.

  3. I'm glad I found this site as I could not go to the conference and really wanted to get a feel for what was said and quality of papers. Thanks for posting this info.

  4. never say "ever" -- just asking for trouble... :)