WebSci’21 Special Summer 2021
Latest news about the 2021 Web Science Conference
Announcing our new partnership with Brave Conversations
Noshir Contractor nominated to ICA
Untangling the Web Podcast goes from strength to strength
LAB FEATURE: NUS (Singapore)
PhD FEATURE: Jessica Van Brummelen (MIT)
Say Hello / Wave Goodbye
Recent & Upcoming Events
Once again the ACM Web Science Conference will run as an online conference this year. The theme is Globalisation, Inclusion and the Web in the Context of COVID.
Web Science is an interdisciplinary field dedicated to understanding the complex and multiple impacts of the Web on society and vice versa. The Web has enabled a globally connected network of individuals and communities, but divides still exist and new ones emerge. Fostering an inclusive and equitable online environment is a persistent challenge. In recent years, this challenge has been amplified by the increasing prevalence of artificial intelligence and the automation of Web-based tasks, as well as ongoing inequalities in Web access, use, and skills.
The conference will call attention to these challenges and how they might be addressed, particularly in light of the ongoing global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are seeing, for example, just how important global collaboration within and between scientific communities has been to swift vaccine development, and the essential role of the Web in timely and effective public health communications.
Presenters and participants will have multiple opportunities to engage over a full week of talks, Spotlight Panels, workshops, social events and “Meet the Author” informal discussions. New events are being added to the programme all the time, and we already have a growing list of Keynote Speakers:
The core programme will take place in European time, and there will also be satellite workshops/events in SE Asia and the USA. All sessions will be recorded, so you don’t need to cover every time zone in one day! More details of the presenters and other conference activities will be shared in the lead up to the event. Keep an eye on our tweets via the #WebSci21 hashtag, and check out our website (below) for further updates and registration information.
We look forward to welcoming you to the second wholly online Web Science conference in June.
Registration will be just 50 pounds to attend the full 5 days of the conference.
Noshir Contractor’s upcoming post as International Communication Association (ICA) president will tap into his vast expertise in creating and nurturing diverse global networks as well his insight into Web Science.
The ICA is the preeminent professional organization for communication scholars and researchers from around the globe. It was founded over 50 years ago and comprises about 4,500 members in 80 countries. Building on its past accomplishments, Noshir wants to reimagine opportunities for growth, and as President-Elect-Select, he’s set a threefold agenda to expand representation, access, and unity within the ICA.
“It is our goal to raise awareness of communication as a credible disciplinary landing ground for scholars,” he said. “I see my role as doing what I study, and that is building networks and nurturing those networks.”
|Read the whole article|
The team at Brave Conversations, led by Anni Rowland-Campbell, has been working on Web Science questions where “the rubber meets the road” since even before hosting their first event under the Web Science umbrella in 2017. They have travelled the world speaking with governments and businesses whilst dragging in unsuspecting “real people” to talk about social + technological issues and the sensitive topics that they raise for all of us.
Brave Conversations continues to be extremely popular and we want to recognise the incredible impact that the team has had in a way that complements and extends what our academic partners are trying to do through research.
With this in mind we are announcing that Brave Conversations (a product of Intersticia.org) becomes the latest distinguished WST Gold Partner.
|Visit Brave Conversations|
This new series is hosted by Web Science expert, Northwestern University professor and President-Elect-Select of the International Communication Association (ICA), Noshir Contractor. Noshir interviews thought leaders in the technology and research space to help all of us (including non-experts) navigate some of the most burning issues in Web Science: the study of how the Web is shaping and influencing our society just as we are shaping and influencing the Web.
In each episode (there will soon be 10 in the series) Noshir invites guests with unique perspectives and policy/research experiences to talk about various facets of Web Science. You can subscribe to UTW on Apple, Spotify and other Podcast platforms.
Through this, listeners can hear about the challenges — and excitement — that comes with understanding how networks of people and machines interact on a global scale. And how we can avoid the Internet fragmenting into distinct “splinternets.”
|Visit the Podcast Homepage|
with thanks to NUS for this article.
NExT++ Centre conducts leading-edge research into deriving useful insights from heterogeneous data analytics that are sometimes known as Big Data.
The Centre has been working on rich media content analysis and search, live social media analytics for several years. As a result, the Centre develops large-scale systems working with live social media data, wellness data, and question-answering. Besides producing more than hundred publications in leading conferences, the Centre has also incubated two successful technology startup companies — ViSenze, focusing on mobile visual search and analytics, and 6Estates, focusing on unstructured data analytics for finance and marketing.
NExT have been working with three key trends in R&D in IT and applications:
WSTNet Vice-Chair Tat-Seng Chua
Our Centre Director at NUS (and Vice-Chairman of WSTNet) is Professor Tat-Seng Chua. He has co-authored/edited over 600 publications in support of his teaching and research projects. He has been the co-Director of NExT++ Center, a joint research centre between NUS and Tsinghua University on Extreme Search, since 2010. He also founded the Lab for Media Search (LMS), which conducts regular seminars on Multimedia Information Retrieval and Social Media Analytics. He has regularly hosted summer schools bringing together students from multiple WSTnet universities internationally.
His main research interests include unstructured data analytics, multimedia information retrieval, recommendation and conversation systems and emerging applications in e-commerce and fintech.
When we spoke to Tat-Seng we asked about Web Science and his ground-breaking work on Observatories of social media content. He said:
“These observatories enable us to mine weak signals and to perform causal reasoning to infer users insights from the data streams, with applications in FinTech, food security, and infectious disease detection.”
|Learn more about Tat-Seng|
Jessica Van Brummelen is a Mechanical Engineering student, orginally from Canada, whose focus lay in the area of autonomous vehicles/systems. Like many researchers who end up drawn to the Web Science perspective (networks of people and technology at large scale), the engineering question: “How do we decide what the car should do?” started to morph into other more socially-oriented questions such as:
What are the social implications of the decisions made by the vehicle’s AI?
At the time of her undergraduate engineering research, Jessica was volunteering teaching the Scratch programming language to students across a range of ages when she applied to Hal Abelson’s MIT App Inventor PhD programme.
Several of these earlier threads were drawn together into a research proposal centered around the interplay between mobile apps, teaching children and AI learning. Jessica is now studying for her PhD at MIT.
Her research activities fall into three areas:
When we spoke to Jessica it was striking how her work fell squarely into the Web Science domain considering not only the “mechanics” of the technology but also the AI as an agent in the human/machine interaction and the importance of the ethics and perceived responsibilities in that interaction.
We wish Jessica every success in her research and look forward to hearing more about it in the future.
Jessica’s recent publications include:
(preprint; conditionally accepted to be presented at EAAI at AAAI Feb. 2-9, 2021)
(preprint; conditionally accepted to be presented at CHI May 8-13 2021)
(2020 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC))
(EAAI at AAAI 2020)
Steffen Staab steps down as Chair of the WSTNet labs and joins as a new WST Trustee Board member – congratulations Steffen. Emilio Ferrara takes over as our new Chair of the WSTNet labs and is joined by Tat-Seng Chua who joins as Vice-Chair – congratulations and welcome!
We are very sad to say goodbye to Joanna Lewis who, whilst remaining a friend of WST and an enthusiastic supporter of Web Science, is stepping down as a Director and Trustee. Sincere thanks for all your hard work over many years.
Unsurprisingly, in this COVID year, when so many things went online, there were plenty of important books about the Web and the Internet, some from within Web Science, as well as journalistic or business-oriented texts that chronicle how technology affects us, and is delivered.
Here is a selection of some of the publications that caught our eye:
Thank you as always for subscribing to the WST Newsletter. We look forward to seeing you in the next edition. If you have any events, courses and news that you would like to share across the WST network please do get in touch via email using: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Web Science Trust Team
Welcome to the Summer (remote, locked-down and socially distanced) WST newsletter. With the fully virtual ACM WebSci’20 all done and dusted, we look at the challenges of virtual working, link to a spotlight piece on one of our WSTNet Labs and talk about the new Web Science podcast series.
In This Issue:
The Rise of the New “VC”
WebSci’20 Southampton: A Virtual SuccessWSTNet Lab Profile: RPI
Web Science Manifesto 2020New Web Science Podcast SeriesSay Hello – Wave GoodbyeRecent PublicationsRecent and Upcoming Events
The Rise of the New VC
Whilst VC chiefly used to stand for “Venture Capital” in the business world and “Vice Chancellor” in Academia, the huge impact of COVID-19 on travel and face-to-face meetings (both now and the foreseeable future) has re-focused both the personal and work parts of our lives on the “Video Conference” and we predict that academia will also see an increasing and perhaps permanent growth in remote teaching/learning, remote research collaboration and partially or entirely “Virtual” conferences.
Click here to read the full article.
WebSci’20 Southampton: A Virtual Success
ACM Web Science (now in its 12th year) ran as a fully virtual event hosted by the Web Science Institute (WSI) at the University of Southampton from July 7th-July 10th 2020.
Despite all the challenges around COVID and having to re-organise the conference just weeks before the event, the team were able to deliver a conference with the highest ever number of attendees, great quality papers and an amazing line up of guest speakers and panelists. Attendees logged to join hosted talks, panels, Q&A sessions and paper sessions from around the world and the organisers are delighted with both the quality and feedback from the conference.
The organisers reported that the event was so successful as a virtual conference that plans are already underway to run an expanded version for WebSci’21. To look back at the event the WebSci’20 conference website is available with links to selected materials from the event.
Throughout the five-day event, delegates from as far afield as Africa and Australia participated in panel debates and paper sessions exploring the future of the Web, particularly in the age of COVID-19.
One of the WebSci’20 panels including internet pioneer Vint Cerf was broadcast by the BBC as part of the BBC Digital Planet Podcast.
Another highlight of the week was the gathering of the original Web Science Research Initiative (WSRI) founders – an initiative that was set up in 2006 between Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Southampton to coordinate and support the study of the World Wide Web. Summing up the conference, Chair Wendy Hall said: “The conference was a great success and because it was online it enabled more speakers and delegates to be able to access it. I strongly believe that is the way forward for future conferences.”The conference hosts have collected a series of summary blog posts which can be found here.
The conference highlight reel can be seen here WebSci’20 Highlight reel – with thanks to Lisa Harris and Jake Foster
WSTNet Lab Profile: RPI
RPI (the Renssellaer Polytechnic Institute) is based in Troy, New York state comprising 30 research centres and over 750 PhD students. These research teams are engaged in projects worth over $100 million.
RPI’s Center for Computational Innovations (CCI) is home to one of the most powerful (eight petaflop) supercomputers on the November 2019 Top 500 ranking of supercomputers (named AiMOS – Artificial Intelligence Multiprocessing Optimized System). RPI is making AiMOS available (in partnership with IBM, academic institutions, and national labs) to understand and address the threat of COVID-19.
RPI hosts the Tetherless World Constellation (TWC) which is an active WSTNet laboratoryassociated with the Web Science community.Deborah McGuinness is a professor in the computer science and cognitive science departments and the director of the Web Science Research Center at Rensselaer. She is a leading expert on knowledge representation and reasoning languages, ontology creation and evolution environments, and provenance.
Click here to see TWC’s WSTNet Page
Click here to visit the RPI website
Click here to see the full article
Web Science Manifesto 2020
The updated manifesto was presented July 9 in the Spotlight Panel: Research Roadmap at the ACM International Conference on Web Science. It was finalized before Covid-19 hit hard globally, but its statements have become even more important as lockdowns and social distancing have forced so many human activities online. This Manifesto synthesizes and extends results from the Perspectives Workshop “10 Years of Web Science” that took place at Schloss Dagstuhl from June 24 – 29, 2018.
Click here to read the full article
New Web Science Podcast Series
The Web Science Trust is excited to announce the launch of a series of Web Science podcasts in association with the team at SONIC, led by Prof. Noshir Contractor. The new series is called Untangling the Web and features live interviews of leading thinkers and researchers in Web Science and on Web Science-related topics. Untangling the Web is a podcast of the Web Science Trust, a charity promoting the understanding of the Web, through education and research in the discipline of Web Science.On this podcast, we bring thought leaders from around the world to explore how the Web is shaping society and how society in turn is shaping the Web. We hope to improve our understanding of the Web, promote the Web’s positive impact on society – and change the Web for the betterUntangling the Web launched at WebSci’20 and will be available soon on Apple, Spotify and other Podcasts platforms. As part of the initial program, our first two podcasts can be found here or on the main WST site.Say Hello – Wave GoodbyeNo new Labs this time but a new lab director and an upcoming appointment for the WSTNet chair. Dr. Emilio Ferrara takes over as new Lab Director at USC and has been nominated as new WSTNet director from January 2021 taking over from Prof. Steffen Staab who will be joining the main WST board of trustees. Prof. Tat Seng Chua from National University of Singapore (NUS) becomes Deputy Director of WSTNet.
The best papers for WebSci’20 can be seen on the main conference website here.
We presented two “meet the author” sessions at the conference:
Phil Howard discussed his new book “Lie Machines: How to Save Democracy from Troll Armies, Deceitful Robots, Junk News Operations, and Political Operatives”ISBN: 9780300250206
Language: EnglishPublisher: Yale University Press (23 Jun 2020)and
Sasha Costanza-Chock discussed their book “Design Justice: Community-Led Practices To Build The Worlds We Need”Publisher: MIT Press (3 April 2020)
ISBN-10: 0262043459This book is also free to read electronically at design justice.
Head over to the website to see more Web Science publications
Recent and Upcoming Events July 6th 2020. Brave Conversations in CyberSpace (Southampton, UK)
Brave Conversations has become a global event organised by Intersticia running short courses all across the globe for businesses, government and individuals to come together to discuss both the Why and the How of technology in the context of social goods and ethical choices.
July 7th-10th 2020. 12th Annual ACM Web Science Conference (WebSci’20) Conference hosted (virtually) by the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton. Details can be found here.
June 28th-July 2nd 2021 Web Science Summer School (WSSS’21) – Caen, France
TBA 2021 13th Annual ACM Web Science Conference (WebSci’21) – Online
Thank you for subscribing to the WST Newsletter. We look forward to seeing you in the next edition. If you have any events, courses and news that you would like to share across the WST network please do get in touch via email using: email@example.com.
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Web Science Trust Team
Following a successful ACM Web Science conference in Boston, we would like to welcome you to the first edition of the Web Science Trust (WST) Newsletter. We will be bringing you a summary of notable news and upcoming events at WST HQ and throughout the WST Network.
Our goal is to help WST supporters get the most from our service by providing news and information about publications and opportunities to meet up.
In this edition, we will be featuring our newest WSTNet Lab and meeting one of our PhD students who will talk about her work. We’ll be looking at coverage of the Web’s 30th anniversary, reviewing recent publications, including an important new book on Social Machines. We’ll sketch out recent and upcoming events, looking back at the recent ACM Web Science Conference in Boston and forward to ACM WebSci 2020 which will be hosted in the UK by the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton.
ACM Web Science Conference
The 30th Anniversary of the Web
Professor Susan Halford on Digital Futures
WSTNet Lab Profile: IIT Madras
PhD Profile: Ipek Baris, WeST University of Koblenz-Landau
Recent and Upcoming Events
ACM WebSci 2019 has just wrapped up at Northeastern University and we want to congratulate everyone who put in so much work to make it possible and also everyone who delivered papers, posters and workshops during the conference.
It was a great event in beautiful Boston and we are pleased to announce that the 12th WebSci conference is coming to the UK in 2020 with next year’s event to be hosted by the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton.
Tim Berners-Lee ambitiously called his fledgling system a “world-wide” web even though at the start it probably didn’t feel very global. 30 years on, his vision of connecting information across servers, networks and locations has become nearly as indispensable for government, business and academia as power and light. We can read Tim’s own account in his book “Weaving the Web” including the famous anecdote of his boss’ pithy summary of the original proposal for the Web: “Vague…but exciting!!”
How fortunate, Tim commented at a recent 30th Anniversary talk, that he hadn’t chosen instead to write “Exciting …but vague!!. Click here for more links to 30th Anniversary pieces.
In a world where society and technology interact to create rapid change, writers, scientists and individuals alike continue to ask how exactly will this affect our futures? This question is one of the core principles of Web Science and was the focus of a recent presentation at Southampton from Susan Halford (Professor of Sociology at the University of Bristol). To read more about the presentation follow this link.
Our new feature series profiling the labs of WSTNet kicks off with a look at the Indian Institute of Technology at Madras. IIT Madras is the latest lab to join WSTNet. Head over to the website to read more about the lab or read about the Web Science Symposium held in Madras earlier this year
Meet Ipek Baris – a first year PhD student at WeST University of Koblenz-Landau, who is part of our new series showcasing the work of Web Science PhD students across the globe. Ipek’s research is sponsored by the Co-Inform project of the European Union. The project aims to research and develop tools and methodologies for combating online misinformation. Read about Ipek’s research here
Head over to see more Web Science publications
11th ACM Conference on Web Science 2019 – (June 30th – July 3rd), Boston, MA, USA
Brave Conversations – (July 16th), London, UK
WSTNet Web Science Summer School 2019 – (September 9th – 13th), University of Southampton, UK
Thank you for subscribing to the WST Newsletter. We look forward to seeing you in the next edition. If you have any events, courses and news that you would like to share across the WST network please do get in touch.
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Web Science Trust Team