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Back from WWW2006

Marta Sabou, Monday 05 June 2006 | Annotate
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The main conference about Web technology, WWW, has been held in Edinburgh one week ago. This conference series has a major impact on the development of the Web and acts as a meeting place of all interested parties: the W3C, academics that pursue Web related issues and the major inductry players such as Google, Yahoo and Amazon. Unlike in previous years, this year’s conference was different in many aspects: * an extremely rich program with several invited talk and panel sessions running in parallel with tutorials, W3C tracks, development tracks and (almost forgot!) the actual research track. The proceedings as well as the slides of the invited talks are available online at http://www2006.org/. The invited talks have been centred on a couple of key themes, each theme spanning for a whole day: security, education, health etc.. *Increased industry participation: indicated by the large number of sponsors, several papers from Google, Amazon, Yahoo and Microsoft and generally suit-wearing folks. The program also reflected very much this industry oriented organisation by reducing the research tracks in favour of panels and invited talks (most often from industry players). *extensive news coverage: see a collection of news articles at http://www2006.org/wiki/w/In_the_News; * very expensive!!! - 250£ a day registration fee. The Semantic Web was one of the hot topics of the conference – many people working on xml and searching that I met were desperate to ask about ontologies and the SW. But even bigger than SW, this year’s madness was the tagging phenomena = the workshop organized on this topic has received 60 (!) submissions. (The workshop papers are also available online for those of you interested in the topic). More generally, exploiting the social facets of the web has been also addressed by one of the research tracks. There has also been, undoubtedly, much speculation about bringing together tagging and the SW. I have attended a panel on this topic which meant to be “controversial” but ended with everybody agreeing that the way forward is in combining these two technologies. Overall, I was quite impressed with the technical level of the talks and maybe the only regret was not too see any paper from KMi during the whole conference. I hope this will change by the next year!

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