Monday, April 03, 2006
AAAI CAAW-2006 Review
As promised a more full review of the symposium. For starters, our observation when we arrived in Palo Alto is that it is a very new place, very artificial. It has some very nice restaurants, though there are very few bars, and the place basically has no atmosphere. Maybe it was that we where there in Spring Break, but I'm not sure thousands of student would have made it any better. A soul-less place.

Stanford University has a very impressive campus, which covers a lot of space. It was a very good thing that they do a handy bus service taking you round the campus, otherwise we would have had no idea where to go. They really do have everything you could possibly want on campus. Very insulated community. Lots of squirrels.

So the symposium...As I said in the previous post there were some very interesting talks. There was quite a lot on sentiment/opinion extraction from weblogs, there was work on friend recommendation, there was a comparison on scoops in blogs versus newspapers, and a number of very interesting talks from the folks at Nielson Buzzmetrics. There was a panel session with various industry folk, but to be honest it could have been far more interesting. Good to see bitching and snideness present everywhere.

And of course, then there was the work most relevant to mine, that concerned with age and gender identification. Lots of similar things found in many different ways. Very interesting.

So I also got to talk to very interesting people. I got a good chance to chat with Buzzmetrics' Matt Hurst covering plenty of on-topic ideas and, Matt being ex of Edinburgh, many an off-topic reminiscence (turns Matt and I both learnt Japanese at the same place).

I was also very fortunate to get to talk to Shlomo Argamon. Most of my work has some reference to his studies, particularly his gender classification work. It was unfortunate that we did not get as much time to talk shop and throw ideas around as I would have liked. His recent work is the closest to what we have been doing recently, and he has a lot of really good ideas.

I had some very interesting discussions with many other people besides: Mirko Tavosanis at Pisa, Diego Reforgiato from Maryland, Richard Tong of Tarragon Consulting, Sandy Rosenburg from Media Research Associates, Hong Qu all the way from Berkeley and Bettina Berendt from Humboldt, Berlin. I'm sure there are more, so I'm sorry if I've not mentioned anyone.

Too much waffle I know, so in summary it was a very interesting symposium, well worth attending. There is some very interesting work out there, and some very interesting people. Yes, I've said interesting a lot, but it really was. Now I just have to report back to Jon about as much as I can remember - I don't actually know if he actually reads this?! Finally, thanks to Nicolas Nicolov for all the help with my attendance, and Doug Oard for not only being entertaining, but for being the only to person to cite our work!! How lax of everyone else!

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