Late last month I attended the WWW2011 conference at Hyderabad, India. This was the 20th WWW conference -- held for the first time in India. There were over 800 attendees from more than 50 countries, with over 200 papers/posters presented. Yahoo! had a strong presence, with 26 papers/posters from Yahoos accepted. We also had a booth where we demoed YQL and Clues.
Dr. Abdul Kalam presented a keynote on "web for societal transformation," Sir Tim BernersLee spoke about designing the web for open society, and Christos Papadimitriou gave a talk on Games, Algorithm and Internet. All these presentations were well received and set some interesting challenges for researchers who study the World Wide Web.
The prize for best paper went to Towards a Theory Model for Product Search, which proposed a method for maximizing the value of money in buying products for a user. The best poster was titled Predicting Popular Messages in Twitter. Another interesting paper from a Yahoo! presenter revealed that more than 50% of URLs consumed from Twitter originate from only 20K elite users. There was interesting work in the areas of social networking, information extraction, analysis, and credibility. You can find the complete conference proceedings online, including papers and posters.
There was a great deal of interest and research on how people behave in social networks. Twitter is being used extensively by researchers, with some interesting findings. The conference papers reflected these web trends and will be a great conduit for conducting a variety of social experiments. If the keynotes are any indication, we will see much more research and insight on the power of the Web to connect and help billions of people in the years ahead.
The cultural program of kuchipudi dance gave a glimpse of Indian traditional dance to conference participants, while the Cricket Worldcup match between India and Pakistan added to excitement and introduced many attendees to the game of cricket. More details on some of the papers, posters I encountered are in my personal blog.