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Come to EVIA, see California for free!

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I’ve recently developed a morbid interest in the literature of financial disasters. In this vein, I’ve just finished reading Kindleberger et al., Manias, Panic, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises — an interesting book, but remarkable for the confused way the writing is organized, with constant re-iterations, digressions, and non-sequiturs, as if someone had taken several working revisions, cut them up, dropped them on the floor, and then re-assembled the pieces without too much care for their coherence.

Anyway, one of the chapters of the original book (spread out over several fragments in the re-assembled version) describes the boom turned bust in Japan in the late 1980s. Kindleberger relates, for instance, the story of the Japanese bank which paid $600 million-odd for an office complex in the states, when the asking price was $300 million, merely so that they could gain the record for the world’s most expensive office purchase. Another anecdote is that at the height of the boom, the real estate covered by the Imperial Palace in Tokyo had a value greater than all of the real estate in California.

If such stories of dizzying excess captivate you, then you’ll not want to miss the EVIA 2010, the Evaluating Information Access workshop, held at NII in Tokyo, just across the expressway from the Imperial Palace itself! This is the third iteration for EVIA, the first international workshop dedicated to information retrieval evaluation issues. I’ve been invited to join Tetsuya Sakai, the eminence grise of Asian information retrieval research, and Mark Sanderson, as co-chair this year. It’s an interesting time for evaluation research, with increasing interest in HCIR issues and the emergence of crowd-sourced evaluation using Mechanical Turk and the like.

Deadline for submission is March 31st; please see the Call For Papers.

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