Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Advances in Social Computing

I am back from the International Conference on Social Computing, Behavioral Modeling, and Prediction, SBP 2010, that took place at NIH (the National Institutes of Health) in Bethesda, Maryland. Although my shuttle van from Bethesda to the Baltimore airport had a flat tire on the busy highway, plus my hotel room had to be switched twice due to excessive noise and a group of strangers trying to enter my room late at night (what is travel without adventures), the conference was a great success. I have the best souvenir from the conference (in addition to the wonderful conversations that I had and great talks that I attended plus new people that I met) and that is the handsomely edited conference proceedings.

The conferees were given the proceedings volume, Advances in Social Computing, which was just released by Springer and was edited by Dr. Sun-Ki Chai, Dr. John Salerno, and Dr. Patricia Mabry of NIH, who was the conference chair. Dr. Patrick Qiang and I gave a tutorial on Fragile Networks immediately preceding the conference on Monday and today Dr. Qiang presented our paper, A Knowledge Collaboration Network Model Across Disciplines, which is published in the proceedings volume. We had excellent questions after the presentation (always a good sign), which we could answer (this is also a plus). We received a great compliment when one of the conferees (an academic from George Mason University) came up to us afterwards and said that he came to the conference explicitly to hear our talk.

The campus of NIH is gorgeous with a lot of trees and blooming flowers. Our conference took place in the Natcher Building, Room 45, and there were no parallel sessions, so there was a lot of community building.

What could be better than very smart people from many different disciplines getting together to talk about very important problems! The range of papers (on topics from childhood obesity to prevention of epidemics to inappropriate emergency department utilization to syndromic surveillance to information overload and viral marketing, to highlight just a few) in Advances in Social Computing certainly reflects this!