Category Archives: academic

Call for Papers: WWW2006 Conference

New notice for participation at the 15th Annual World Wide Web conference in Edinburgh, Scotland (one of my favorite cities).

I will be a reviewer again this year in the Browsers and User Interface track, where there are usually a number of amazing systems and interfaces. Here’s some text describing the track:

The Browsers and User Interfaces track at WWW’2006 focuses on promoting novel research directions and providing a forum where researchers, theoreticians, and practitioners can introduce new approaches, paradigms, applications, share their knowledge and opinions about problems and solutions related to accessing and interacting with data , services, and other humans over the Web. We invite original papers describing both theoretical and experimental research including (but not limited to) the following topics:

  • Browsers and user experience on mobile devices
  • Browser interoperability
  • Novel client-side applications
  • Multimodal interfaces, including speech interaction
  • Information visualization on the Web
  • Multilingual Web content design
  • Novel browsing and navigation paradigms
  • Web interaction with the real world, including robotics and sensor networks
  • Adaptive Web displays and Web personalization
  • Ubiquitous web access, shared displays, and wearable computing
  • Web usability and user experience
  • Web accessibility
  • Web-based collaboration and collaborative Web use
  • Web-logs and online journalism

Hope to see you there.

Study of Yahoo and Google Indices

A fresh approach at some analysis of which search engine has a more comprehensize index: A Comparison of the Size of the Yahoo and Google Indices. It would be interesting to see this study at another order of magnitude, perhaps with MSN included. What I like best is that the study authors released the code for the tests. I seem to be finding that more academics are providing code to let others attempt to verify their study firsthand, build on the study to make relatable comparisons, and most importantly to prodive the opportunity for peer review of the code logic of what the study claims.

See you in Seattle in September (10-15)

I will be in Seattle soon for some work and fun, approximately September 10th through the 15th. I’ll be visiting with some of the smart people at MSN Search on Monday the 12th, so if you’re at Microsoft and have some loose time that matches up with mine, let’s chat!

Tuesday and Wednesday I will be participating in the Seattle Innovation Symposium, a wonky kind of academic thinkfest tasked with building an agenda for innovation in information technology research.

I have purposefully built some free time into this trip, so if you’re in the Seattle area and we know each other or you just think it might be interesting to get together and talk, I will try and coordinate a group meetup on demand. Just send me an email or post a comment right here.

(Forgive the aliteration in my post title, but at least I’m not an anxious anchor in a powerful post.) And of course, my trip will be guilt-free since I will have just verified my backups.

Nobel Prize winner blogging

Ok, I’m impressed. It looks like Gary Becker, Nobel prize winning economist from the Univeristy of Chicago has a blog called The Becker-Posner Blog with Richard Posner, Law professor of some distinction his own self.

Professor Becker is known for many years as a columnist in BusinessWeek magazine on how economics affects our everyday life and how those same routine life decisions have large-scale economics implications. These works are collected for the most part in his enjoyable book The Economics of Life: From Baseball to Affirmative Action to Immigration, How Real-World Issues Affect Our Everyday Life. I’ve also wanted to take a look at his probably brainy read: The Essence of Becker, a compilation of some of more widely read articles. While I may not wholly agree with many of his conclusions and also regret that many of his hypotheses didn’t have ideal or far-ranging datasets, I find the approach to studying typical problems in an economics sensibility very appealing.

If I remember correctly, Becker was also recently mentioned by Steven D. Levitt, one of the authors of Freakonomics (a rather scattered and tepid book that was more of a general read on applying statistics) as a colleague and mentor.

I wonder how many other Nobel laureates have blogs?

All about Zipf's Law

As you may know, George Kingsley Zipf was obsessed with a rank-ordered world. The law named after him has a number of uses beyond even what his grandiose, universal plans were, so read all about it: information on zipf’s law.

Trivia note: originally Zipf’s work was based on some ideas from Condon (which GKZ acknowledged), way back in 1928, but Zipf’s name won out over time.

How to Leverage Solipsism @ SXSW

If you’re going to be at SXSW, come by and ask a good question while we talk about the good, the bad and the worse about
social computing systems design and use

Here’s the blurb:

Room 18A on Sunday, March 13th from 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Monolithic, overarching imposed systems rarely provide full support for the range of use and users that these systems are intended to serve. Networked software should be smarter, taking advantage of users’ behaviors to evolve a system keenly adapted to actual use, not just intent. We are currently in a special moment, witnessing the development of systems that are beginning to demonstrate the power of this approach. Whether it is through passive tracking, such as purchase histories on Amazon, or explicit tagging of content, such as bookmarks on and photos on Flickr, websites are increasingly taking advantage of the aggregation of individual behavior to improve the utility, usability and desirability of their systems. Drawing on a range of perspectives, this session will address the intersection of the personal and global, the tensions that exist and the opportunities they afford.

Behavioral Finance 101

Great, short article on Slate by Henry Blodget about the mistakes we make when investing – which really applies to many other areas of life: Born Suckers – The greatest Wall Street danger of all: you. By Henry Blodget

Most interestingly, the Prospect Theory concept applies to many other aspects of behavior, including foraging theory and when mixed with the Confirmatory Bias, can lead to numerous costly mistakes.

Much of this work reflects recent Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman’s work (along with Amos Tversky, but Nobels aren’t awarded posthumously) .

Other notable, perhaps more readable interpretations are in Thomas Gilovich’s excellent books Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes And How To Correct Them: Lessons From The New Science Of Behavioral Economics and How We Know What Isn’t So.