NUI Galway Brings World's Top Social Media Researchers to Ireland

Thursday, 24 May 2012

The International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM) comes to Ireland for the first time, bringing with it keynote speakers from Google, Twitter, the University of Oxford and other top research groups from around the globe. 300 of the world's top social media researchers will descend on Dublin from 4-7 June to attend a series of workshops, tutorials, invited talks and top accepted research papers from an interdisciplinary mix of computer science and social science research. The event is being organised by the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), which is based at NUI Galway.

Andrew Tomkins, Engineering Director at Google, will speak about the first year of Google's social networking and identity service Google+. Robin Dunbar, Head of the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford, will present one of the keynote addresses in a talk titled 'Why Facebook Won't Get You Any More Friends'. Professor Dunbar is the originator of Dunbar's number, a theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. Lada Adamic, University of Michigan and award-winning researcher, will present on 'The Information Life of Social'.

As part of the conference, ICWSM will host an industry and commercialisation event designed to bring delegates from local and international industry and academia together. The event will consist of two focused discussion panels interleaved with a coffee and stands session where industrial delegates can present their business or service, seek business and recruitment opportunities and exchange ideas with a national and international audience.

The first panel on business networking and enterprise collaboration will be entitled 'I Want to (Net)work with You, But I Don't Know What/Where/Who You Are'. Speakers include Connor Murphy, CEO and co-founder of Datahug, Stuart McRae, Executive Collaboration and Social Business Evangelist with IBM, and Keith Griffin, Principal Engineer in Cisco's Collaboration Technology Group. The second panel on news and social media will focus on 'News Generation and Consumption through Social Media'. Speakers include: Howard Mortman, Communications Director and member of the executive leadership team at C-SPAN; Gavin Sheridan, Innovation Director with Storyful; Paul Quigley, founder of NewsWhip; Hugh Linehan, Online Editor of The Irish Times; and Hannah Waldram, Community Coordinator with The Guardian.

This year's conference papers cover both old and new ground, from the advancement of techniques to extract, summarize, and detect information from social streams, to understanding phenomena in society by how they are reflected in and shaped by social media.

Some of the social media research work that will be presented at ICWSM include:

  • An analysis of the YouTube social network will show how it differs from traditional social networking sites but bears some resemblance to Twitter in terms of its network properties.
  • In a very large study of browsing behaviours, web histories for a quarter of a million anonymised individuals are paired with user-level demographics to examine behaviour change over time online, to revisit notions of the digital divide, and to show that user attributes may be inferred from browsing histories and potentially used for ad targeting.
  • A method that can identify experts in social question-and-answer sites through evolutionary pattern detection will be presented.
  • A framework that accurately identifies sick individuals from the content of online communication will be presented and evaluated based on a large Twitter dataset.
  • Research on the World of Warcraft multiplayer system will describe how destructive group dynamics can be predicted with medium-to-high accuracy.
  • A model for studying the structure and composition of a city, based on the social media its residents generate, will be described and tested using 18 million check-ins collected from a location-based online social network.        

Tutorial sessions at ICWSM will cover how to analyze a massive social network; how to map networks found on social media sites and in email collections; how to design an online community using evidence-based social design principles; and how to carry out sentiment mining and extract relevant information from user-generated content. Workshops are in the areas of social media visualisation, the news media industry, real-time mining of social streams, and when the city meets the citizen.

According to the General Chair, Dr John Breslin who is a social media expert and researcher with DERI at NUI Galway: “Whatever the future may hold for online social media, there are sure to be hints embedded in this year's topically-diverse set of research papers. We're truly honoured to have such a high-calibre set of speakers, from research and academia but also from industry and media companies.”

ICWSM is sponsored by Science Foundation Ireland, Google, Bing / Microsoft Research, Fáilte Ireland / Meet in Ireland, Tawlk, Knoesis at Wright State University, Yahoo! Research, IBM, and Church & Duncan Group. The local organisers are John Breslin, NUI Galway, Conor Hayes, DERI at NUI Galway, and Derek Greene, UCD. 

ICWSM will be held in Dublin at the Trinity Bio Sciences Institute from 4-7 June 2012, for further information visit www.icwsm.org.

Ends

Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
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