Web Science success
Delegates from around the globe gathered online to take part in the successful 13th ACM Web Science Conference (#websci21) that was hosted by the University of Southampton.
More than 270 people, from as far afield as China and the USA, joined the five-day event to focus on Globalisation, Inclusion and the Web in the Context of COVID.
The conference was chaired by Professor Dame Wendy Hall, Executive Director of the University’s Web Science Institute (WSI), and brought together world leaders in Web Science research, technology, industry and policy-making. They addressed the challenges and opportunities arising from the effects of the pandemic and other global threats.
ACM President Gabriele Kotsis and President-Elect of the International Communication Association Noshir Contractor opened the conference and shared their views on the future of the Web.
A highlight of the event was the keynote ‘In Conversation’ between Dame Wendy and entrepreneur and internet activist Baroness Martha Lane Fox. They discussed Baroness Lane-Fox’s contributions to public policy and the technological debate. The pair also explored the legislation processes and work going on within select committees and the House of Lords that is relevant to Web Science.
Dame Wendy said: “Our second ACM Web Science conference at Southampton was a huge success and a truly global, interdisciplinary event. This year we even held one panel – The future of the Web in a post-COVID world – in English and Chinese. It was a good opportunity to reflect on how COVID-19 had changed the world and to discuss its impact on the Web in the future.”
As well as the main conference, the event also showcased the work of Web Science students with a PhD Symposium on the first day.
Southampton Web Science PhD student Allison Noble said: “I was fortunate enough to be selected to present my ideas at the Symposium, which brings together a number of experienced academics to provide PhD students (at different stages of their candidature) an opportunity to showcase their research goals and to receive feedback on their ongoing research on an international platform.
“I wanted to receive feedback on a concept I had been working on, in particular the robustness of the idea. The PhD Symposium offered me a platform to present my proposal and I received clear and considerate feedback from the other mentors. I would recommend other PhD students to participate in such events as they help to create a clear sense of direction in work and methods.”
This was the second year the conference had been hosted by the University of Southampton and organised by the WSI. Last year they had to rapidly transform the event from a physical conference to a virtual conference due to the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Watch the highlights video of the conference here.