I spent the week of from the 1st to the 5th of May at the Web Science 2013 conference in Paris. It was for sure the most diverse conference I have ever attended because the community of Web science itself is very diverse. There were many participants from a wide array of disciplines from philosophy to computer science (and everything in-between).
The conference kicked off on the 2nd of May with the keynote speech of Vint Cerf. (http://www.websci13.org/keynotes/2013/04/vint-cerf-keynote/)
The keynote was followed by the first series of talks under the name “Face in the Crowd”.
In the afternoon we the “Pecha Kucha” session. Pecha Kucha is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images.
Is this good for an academic conference format? Well I think that it is not suitable for all presentations, but only for conferences with a homogeneous audience where backgrounds and methodological explanations are not required. And this was not the case!
In the late afternoon we heard another keynote speech from Cory Doctorow. a novelist and technology activist (details under http://www.websci13.org/keynotes/2013/04/cory-doctorow-keynote/).
Day 2 started with the ECRC Panel about the “Future of Computer Science”. The panel consisted of a broad spectrum of views including legal experts exploring the privacy implications of such technologies to the sociological and technological growth of such services.
Then we heard more presentations under the headings of ‘Web of the Mind’ and ‘Competition’ before lunch and ‘Governance & Trust’ and ‘Web Technologies’ afterwards.
At the end of the day another Panel Session named:”The new Village Pump”.
The final day started with the Panel: “How will the Web Revolutionize Society”. This panel will invite four guests, each of whom have made ground-breaking socio-technical contributions, to debate the future of society and the Web (for details, see http://www.websci13.org/keynotes/2013/05/saturday-panel-how-the-web-will-revolutionize-society/).
The rest of the day was all about presentations once again under the headings “Representation”, “News”, and “Networks”
Overall the Conference was a success for all those who attended. The quality of papers and presentations really highlighted the fact that good quality research was being conducted in Web Science in all different directions.