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WSDM 2009 highlights

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Richard and I went to Barcelona last week to attend the WSCD 2009 workshop and the WSDM 2009 conference. Craig was also there on Monday to present an interesting poster on the usefulness of click-through data for training.
Besides being held in an exciting city (!), WSDM 2009 kept up with its previous edition in bringing together industry and academia to a common, quality forum for Web IR and data mining, with papers covering a wide range of trendy topics — fairly well summarised by the tag cloud printed on the t-shirts given to the participants! — from query intent detection, through search results diversification, to tagging-based clustering and classification, and social network-driven marketing analysis, to name a few.
The best paper award went to Fernando Diaz for his work on the selective integration of news content into Web results based on the classification of the newsworthiness of each query. Eytan Adar et al. received the best student paper award for their study of the dynamics of the content and structure of Web documents of varying popularity over a fine-grained timescale. In the new late breaking results session, the award went to Irem Arikan et al.‘s paper on applying a language model approach for improving the retrieval effectiveness for queries with temporal expressions. The invited talks by Jeff Dean and Gerhard Weikum were also insightful — we couldn’t attend Ravi Kumar‘s though. All talks should be available soon from VideoLectures.net.
Overall, WSDM is rapidly moving towards establishing itself among the major IR conferences. In 2010, it will probably be held in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
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