Workshop on Web Science for Digital Capabilities (WSDC 2021)

Co-located with the 13th ACM Web Science Conference

June 21, 2021, Online workshop 

Empowerment of individuals and communities is a critical factor for achieving several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) formulated by the UN. World over, development economics has come to define empowerment as the ability of individuals and societies to protect and enhance an abstract notion of “well-being”. This in turn, is facilitated by an abstract notion of “capability” that is sought to be enhanced with relevant interventions. Depending on the context, the terms “well-being” and “capability” can take on different definitions, and may be composed of different building blocks– be it education, health-care, safety, wealth creation, and so on. 

Digital Capabilities is an emerging term that relates the development economics notion of capability with ICT– especially Web and Internet technologies, as an enabler. The idea of digital capabilities is not just concerned with developing economies, but is fast becoming center-stage worldwide, following the COVID pandemic and the resultant disruptions in the functioning of societies, economies and countries. Digital capabilities in areas like mobile payments, online learning, online political campaigns, virtual conferences, tele-medicine, remote working, and so on, have grown tremendously during the pandemic, and are likely to stay on even beyond the pandemic. 

It is hence timely and relevant to develop and establish the concept of Digital Capabilities, that can give us a framework to interpret, analyze and design in the context of social empowerment and well-being. The proposed workshop aims to bring together a disparate and eclectic population of researchers, practitioners and policy-makers to help build this emerging discipline.

Call for papers

Capabilities framework presents a people-centric approach to conceptualise and evaluate ideas of  human development, justice and individual well-being. At the core of this approach is the idea of people’s valued functioning, that is, real opportunities to achieve what a

person values to do and to be (Sen 1993; Zheng 2007). With this primary focus on human freedom and well-being, it is considered to be an appropriate framework to assess the developmental potential of technologies – be it education, health-care, safety, wealth creation, and so on. While Information and Communication Technology (ICT), especially web and mobile technologies, has been recognised as a critical factor in improving human well-being, Capabilities framework allow us to treat them as enablers that help in formulating the real opportunities for valued functioning and also acknowledges the interpersonal and demographic variation in converting those opportunities. Moreover, without discounting the importance of technology for development, it underlines the significance of context and situated agency of users to evaluate the actual effectiveness of technologies (Dreze and Sen 2002).

We invoke the term “digital capabilities” to refer to the possibilities and potential of digital technologies for human development across varied contexts. This concept from human development literature becomes even more relevant in the promptly changing world in the wake of the pandemic. Web and mobile technologies in areas like mobile payments, online learning, online political campaigns, virtual conferences, tele-medicine, remote working, and so on, have grown tremendously during the pandemic, and are likely to stay on even beyond the pandemic.

It is hence timely and relevant to develop and establish the concept of Digital Capabilities, that can give us a framework to interpret, analyze and design web and mobile technologies in the context of socio-economic diversity, well-being and justice. The proposed workshop aims to bring together a disparate and eclectic population of researchers, practitioners and policy-makers to help build this emerging interdisciplinary field of knowledge and practice.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • AI for empowerment
  • Data-driven Governance
  • Data privacy and security
  • Digital Surveillance and its impacts
  • Mobile and e-Administration
  • Mobile payments
  • Remote health-care
  • Remote learning and literacy
  • Social Cognition and worldviews
  • Social media and community empowerment
  • Technology for public health and epidemic response
  • Technology and mental health
  • Technology and social inclusion
  • Technology-enhanced learning

Papers developing some concept of digital capabilities, showing either finished results or work in progress, are all welcome. Experience reports and application papers are also welcome.

Papers should be formatted according to the ACM SIG Conference proceedings template (acmart.cls). Please submit papers as PDF files using the ACM Submission template (single column). To create your PDF submission, you may use either Microsoft Word format or the ACM LaTeX template on Overleaf (ACM Conference Proceedings “Master” Template) using the “manuscript” option. A full description of the procedure can be found in this link ( For the review process, manuscripts should be of approx. 9-13 pages length single column (inclusive of references, appendices, etc.)

Papers should be uploaded using the EasyChair portal for the workshop on this URL:

Accepted papers will later be re-formatted with the sigconf style (double column) at camera-ready time. When changing to this style manuscripts may also need to be adjusted to the corresponding final page limit of between 6 and 10 pages (inclusive of references, appendices, etc.).

Proceedings of the workshop will be published as a companion volume to the ACM WebSci proceedings.

Important Dates:

April 23, 2021: Workshop paper submission deadline

April 30, 2021: Acceptance Notification

May 10, 2021: Final (camera-ready) submission deadline June 21-22, 2021: Workshops and Tutorials

Link to Paper Submission on EasyChair

Workshop login details

Media Mentions


Prof. Sowmya Narayanan Sadagopan, Director, IIIT Bangalore and Prof. Srinath Srinivasa, Dean (R&D), IIIT Bangalore will be participating in a unique webinar “Future of IT Education” on Mar 03rd 2021 at 4.30 pm, where they will be interviewed by Annurag Batra, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief of BW Business world media group.
Live interaction can be viewed here:

WS4D 2021 Coverage

Date Publication Headline / Link
February 22, 2021 Higher Education Digest IIITB hosts Web Science for Development (WS4D) workshop for third consecutive year
February 22, 2021 Indian Education Diary IIIT Bangalore hosts Web Science for Development (WS4D) workshop for third consecutive year
February 22, 2021 UNI IIIT Bangalore hosts Web Science for Development (WS4D) workshop for third consecutive year
February 22, 2021 India News Republic IIIT Bangalore hosts Web Science for Development (WS4D) workshop for third consecutive year
February 22, 2021 Fin India IIIT Bangalore hosts Web Science for Development (WS4D) workshop for third consecutive year
February 22, 2021 Delhincr news IIIT Bangalore hosts Web Science for Development (WS4D) workshop for third consecutive year
February 22, 2021 India state times IIIT Bangalore hosts Web Science for Development (WS4D) workshop for third consecutive year

Prakhar‘s Interview with Educlasses. is an Online Platform cum Blog for online study. They have more than 185 interviews with industry experts, researchers, bloggers, educators, etc. The interview focused majorly on Prakhar’s learning and experience in AI/ML domain.


Prakhar’s Intel Blog Links

  1. Data Augmentation in NLP using GPT2
  2. Natural Language Generation Using BERT
  3. Text2Emoji Predictor with Stacked Embeddings using Flair Framework 
  4. Geometric Models for Anomaly Detection in Machine Learning


29 Sept 2018. Article about Web Observatory mentioned published by New Indian Express. [link]

Workshop on Web Science for Development (WS4D2021)

Theme: Web Science for the new normal

IIIT-Bangalore, 19-20 Feb 2021

Workshop Chairs: Bidisha Chaudhuri (IIITB), Jai Ganesh (Mphasis), Srinath Srinivasa (IIITB) 

Venue: Online 

WS4D 2021 Registration: Click Here

(Note: Registration for Brave Conversations is valid for WS4D 2021 attendance as well)
-56Days -8Hours -47Minutes -47Seconds

The Web Science for Development (WS4D 2021) workshop is part of the web science research initiative at IIIT Bangalore. WS4D, started in 2019 brings together professionals from several domains, addressing different thematic concerns pertaining to the use of web and mobile technologies in social developmental efforts. 

The year 2020 has been unprecedented, bringing about fundamental disruptions in social and economic lives across the world. In tune with the worldwide “new normal”, WS4D 2021 will be held in a completely online mode, and also address the theme of the importance of Web Science in the new normal. 

WS4D 2021 is planned to be held over two days, from Feb 19-20, 2021. 

The first day is an event called “Brave Conversations” organised by a foundation called Intersticia, based in Australia. This features curated conversations between people from various strata of society, whose lives have been impacted by web and mobile technologies and/or are working towards creating large scale social impact using web and mobile technologies.

Prof. Dame Wendy Hall, Executive Director of the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton and Senapathy ‘Kris’ Gopalakrishnan, co-founder of Infosys are the invited speakers.

The main workshop will be held as a full-day event on Feb 20, 2021, featuring several invited talks and panel discussions.


Brave Conversations | Friday, 19th Feb, 2021

8.30 amOpen Zoom Room
9.00 amInaugration and address by Prof. Sadagopan
9.15 amWelcome and Introductions
10.00 amBreak
10.15 amSession One – What is a Brave Conversation?
10.50 amBreak
11.00 amKris Conversation and Q & A
12.00 pmBreak
12.10 pmSession Two – Innovation and Risk in the Age of the Smart Machine
1.00 pmLunch
2.00 pmSession Three – The politics of digital governance
2.30 pmWendy Conversation and Q & A
3.30 pmBreak
3.45 pmFinal session – The Case Study
5.00 pmConclusion

WS4D Research Workshop | Saturday, 20th Feb, 2021

8.45 amOpen Zoom Room
9.00 am – 9.15 amInauguration and address by Prof. Das
9.15 am – 9.30 amIntroduction to WS4D Map by Prof. Srinath Srinivasa
9.30 am – 10.00 amTalk by Prasad Ram
10.00 am – 10.30 amTalk by Nishant Baghel
10.30 am – 11.00 amDiscussion with Nishant Baghel and Prasad Ram
11.00 am – 11.15 amBreak
11.15 am – 11.45 amTalk by Nachiket Mor
11.45 am – 12.15 pmTalk by T B Dinesh
12.15 pm – 12.45 pmDiscussion with T B Dinesh and Nachiket Mor
12.45 pm – 1.45 pmLunch Break
1.45 pm – 2.45 pmTalk by Pauline Leonard (Keynote address + Q&A)
2:45 pm – 3.00 pmBreak
3.00 pm – 3.30 pmTalk by Ponnurangam Kumaraguru
3.30 pm – 4.00 pmTalk by Preeti Mudliar
4.00 pm – 4.30 pmTalk by Raksha PS
4.30 pm – 5.00 pmDiscussion with Ponnurangam Kumaraguru, Preeti Mudliar and Raksha PS
5.00 pm – 5.15 pmClosing Remarks

Talk Details

Prasad Ram

Title: Learning Equity and Excellence in Complex Systems

Abstract: Dr. Prasad Ram, Founder, CEO of Gooru will present Gooru’s approach to tackling the complex learning system to ensure equity and excellence. Learning is complex and to move the needle in a complex learning system, where complex-causality is a key characteristic, we can influence the emergence of the desired state, rather than an uncontrolled process that generally results in some unknown and often undesired outcomes. Gooru working with IIIT-B and other leading researchers co-created Navigated Learning as an approach to enabling systemic change in learning. Gooru Labs at IIIT-B has been instrumental in the development of a free and open Gooru Navigator – a GPS for Learning, that uses real-time data to foster learner agency, enable practitioners to coordinate their support of learners, and catalyze the convergence of transdisciplinary research to integrate research with practice to accelerate outcomes for learners. Gooru Navigator is free for individual learners, instructors and guardians. Gooru Navigator is co-created with 14 transdisciplinary researchers to reach 7.2M learners by working with 60+ collaborators across disciplines and geographies. This talk will mention the origin of the practice of Navigated Learning in US Schools and Professional Learning. Dr. Ram will then particularly highlight how primary school students in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh are practicing Navigated Learning in local languages, how skills training for Fitters, Welders and Electricians in Bhubaneswar use Gooru Navigator and how Sampoorna Swaraj is training gram-panchayat members in Karnataka using Gooru Navigator. Gooru Overview Presentation and Gooru Overview Video highlight our overall approach.

Bio-sketch: Dr. Prasad Ram (“Pram”) started Gooru as a “20% project” while at Google to develop a “GPS for Learning” where, students seeking to learn a topic are presented with a learning “route” based on their profile and “rerouted” based on their performance, until they reach their destination. In 2011, he established Gooru as a non-profit to bring the simplicity and universal usefulness of Maps experience to learning.

While at Google, Pram led Google Books for Education in Mountain View and before that he was the head of Google R&D in India where he led projects on Google Maps, News, Language Technologies, Search, and Ads. Pram received the Founders’ Award at Google in 2010 for his work on Google Ads. Prior to joining Google, Pram led engineering at Yahoo! and was a research scientist at Xerox Research. These are complicated systems with 100s of millions of users. But, Pram was interested in tackling complex problems and founded Gooru to address the social complexity with learning.

Pram has served as a Council Member and Chair of the Education Committee at the California Council of Science and Technology (CCST) and as a Board member at Leadership Public Schools (LPS). Pram has a Masters and Ph.D. in Computer Science from UCLA, and a B.Tech. in Computer Science from Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, India.

Nishant Baghel

Title: Social media tools for lifelong learning

Abstract: Pratham’s experiment in using social media tools to take mentorship and skilling opportunities to the masses.

Bio-sketch: Nishant Baghel leads digital initiatives at Pratham as Director, Technology Innovations, leveraging advanced technologies for rural EdTech and creating learning opportunities for all. He oversees programmes that reach more than 5,00,000 children and have been recognised by the World Economic Forum as the only ‘School of Future’ from India.

Nachiket Mor

Title: Information Technology in Healthcare – the Promise and the Mirage

Abstract: Technology is a powerful tool and with a concerted approach can allow us in India to overcome our historic disadvantages in healthcare and leapfrog to even a post-modern healthcare system that is not only cheaper to operate but provides better care to all our citizens. However, for this to happen a carefully designed approach will need to be taken, and any form of faddishness eschewed, otherwise we run the risk of not only not improving the status of our health systems but severely exacerbating the current problems that we face.

Bio-sketch: Nachiket Mor has a PhD in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. His current work is principally focused on the design of national and regional health systems. He is currently a Visiting Scientist at The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health and a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Information Technology and Public Policy at IIIT Bangalore. He is also a member of the Health Insurance Advisory Committee of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India and a Commissioner on the Lancet Commission on Reimagining Health Care in India.

He was a member of the Planning Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on Universal Health Care, the Primary Care Task Force of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Health Commission for the State of Himachal Pradesh, and the Standing Committee on Health Systems Strengthening at the National Academy of Medicine in Washington DC. He also helped create a new model for comprehensive primary care which was implemented by SughaVazhvu Healthcare in remote rural parts of Tamil Nadu and has informed the design of, among others, Government of India’s Health and Wellness Centres.

T B Dinesh

Title: ASPi – An ASPiration networking device?

Abstract: ASPi is a tiny computer with a screen and other peripherals such as speakers, camera, microphone and keyboard/mouse. Girls experience different ways in which a digital device can exist, adapt and assemble peripherals – say by connecting to a TV screen or projector to learn together or by using the camera to point at their hands during an
online session.

Services on the device encourage networking locally and globally, inclusion of low-literates in the group, storytelling and annotation of content so as to discover, navigate and use it for creating new media narratives. It also opens up to teach them about programming, electronics, IoT and robotics, while it introduces them to the entrepreneurial potential of open source devices.

Is this a way ahead for those who seek local indigenous archives for storytelling and renarration of cultural contexts?

Bio-sketch: T B Dinesh is a community media activist with a background in Computer Science. T B Dinesh is a founder of Janastu in Bangalore, India. The recent focus of their work is on storytelling methods and encouraging people from marginalised communities to tell their own stories and document their ways of life. Janastu is a non-profit that has been providing free and open-source software solutions and support to small not-for-profit and non-governmental organizations (NPOs/NGOs) since 2002.

90sec video:
8min video:

Pauline Leonard

Title: Artificializing inequality? How AI bolsters social and economic privilege.

Abstract: Over the last few years, a critically compelling set of evidence has been emerging to expose discrimination and bias embedded in many contemporary applications of AI, such as Automated Decision Making (ADM). ADM is increasingly widely used in the US but is also starting to be deployed in service delivery in other areas such as the UK, Western Europe and India. At the same time, a growing body of research is cataloguing the injustices built into the very design of ADM. From denying loans, mortgages, and credit cards to minorities, profiling non-white faces as more likely to (re)commit crime, or designing recruitment software which deselects feminine sounding names, the impact of ADM is clearly life changing. This presentation explores this issue, drawing primarily on findings from the US, but also emerging examples from the UK and India. I will be arguing that many of the ADM systems currently deployed naturalize dominant social identities and, in the process, reinforce inequalities and oppressive social relationships. I will be asking: what lessons can be learned as we develop our designs of AI?

Bio-sketch: Pauline Leonard is an Executive Director of the Web Science Institute and Professor of Sociology at the University of Southampton, UK. She is Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the Academy of Social Sciences. She has gained an international reputation for her expertise in diversity, inequality and exclusion, particularly in the contexts of work and organizational life. She is well-known for her work exploring the dynamics of race, gender and power and more recently has been investigating these in relation to sociotechnical practices and the impacts of digital innovation in the workplace. She is also researching the gendered dimensions of Smart Cities, and how these may impact on existing social inequalities. She has recently been awarded a UKRI grant to look at Robot-Human Teams and Trust. She is the author of eight books and multiple journal articles on these broad issues.

Ponnurangam Kumaraguru

Title: Web Science for Social Good

Abstract:  I will briefly mention some super cool projects that my students & I have worked on and that have made some visible contributions to the world outside academia. All work presented in the talk (including datasets, code, slides, recorded videos) has related publications at Projects that I will touch upon are — KillFie #GeneralElections2019 Fake News, and Computing for Medicine. We all understand, many real world problems cannot be addressed by a single domain faculty / researcher, we need multiple domain experts to come together, hoping to generate some interest among faculty & students working in overlapping domains to join hands to have an impact and make a difference. I will be happy to talk about any projects / ideas / thoughts, in detail, post my talk. 

Bio-sketch: Prof. Ponnurangam Kumaraguru (“PK”) is a Full Professor of Computer Science and Dean of Students Affairs at IIIT-Delhi. He is a Visiting Faculty at IIT Kanpur and an Adjunct faculty at IIIT Hyderabad. PK is an ACM India Council Member, and Chair of the Publicity & Membership Committee of ACM India. PK is a TEDx, an ACM Distinguished & ACM India Eminent Speaker. PK received his Ph.D. from the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). His Ph.D. thesis work on anti-phishing research at CMU contributed in creating an award-winning startup – Wombat Security Technologies, Wombat was acquired in March 2018 for USD 225 Million. PK was listed in the World’s 2% Scientists by Stanford University in Nov 2020. He is a senate member of IIIT Una, and is on various Board of Studies / Academic Council of different institutes across the country. He has co-authored research papers in the field of Privacy and Security in Online Social Media, Cyber Security, Computational Social Science, Social Computing, Data Science for Social Good, amongst others. In addition to his contributions to academia, PK is on advisory role on various government organizations, government committees, including a 8 member committee on Non-Personal Data by Government of India, chaired by Mr. Kris Gopalakrishnan. PK and his students have played an integral role in developing a technology used by many State and Central Government agencies in India. PK’s research work regularly gets featured on news media, including print, online, and TV within India and across the world; to list a few, BBC, CBC, CBS, CNN, Doordarshan, Economic Times, Indian Express, NBC, New Scientist,  NewYorker, Reuters, Times of India, USA Today (on 1st Feb 2021), Washington Post, and many more. PK Spear heads ACM India’s programs on improving the quality of PhD students in Computing in India — PhDClinic & Anveshan Setu Fellowship. In his Dean’s role, he manages a team of 15 faculty members and 10+ admin staff, including Associate Dean of Student Affairs, overseeing hostel, sports centre, health centre, student {well-being, clubs, mentorship program}, technical & cultural fests. He was the Founding Head of Cybersecurity Education and Research Centre (CERC) at IIIT-Delhi. PK started and successfully manages PreCog (, a research group at IIIT-Delhi. PK can be reached at

Preeti Mudliar

Title: Tech Nostalgia for Coping with the New Normal 

Abstract: The talk will present thoughts from a work in progress that attempts to understand the significance of nostalgic impulses for old and ‘dead’ web platforms in fast changing new media environments. 

Bio-sketch: Preeti Mudliar is assistant professor at IIIT-Bangalore. Her current research interests centre around technology access and use with a focus on gender, infrastructures, biometric welfare systems, platform gig work, and news processes that she investigates using a HCI/ICTD lens. Her work is informed by qualitative and ethnographic methods along with rigorous field immersion. She is quite often nostalgic and is trying to make sense of it, on the side, in the guise of academic work. More details about her work is available here

Raksha PS

Title: Invisible Stories that Drive Online Social DIscourse

Abstract: Social media platforms have transformed the way humans connect, communicate and interact, especially in the current situation where the whole world is facing a pandemic. Pervasiveness of the discussions and interactions that happen on social media has implications on many aspects of the offline world such as learning, politics, religion, entertainment and personal well-being. Social media plays a critical role in the social discourse or collective worldviews that continue to form in the society. Record of all interactions on social media provides an unique opportunity to understand various social phenomena. Research endeavours to understand human activity on social media have thus far addressed problems like identifying influencers, understanding opinion diffusion, rumour or fake news detection, campaign detection, stance detection, trend analysis, recommendation, summarizing posts, argument mining and discourse analysis etc. While addressing each of the mentioned research questions is important to understand multiple aspects of social media, there is a need for characterising the ‘macro’ impact of social media by understanding the ‘big picture’ of online social discourse. We propose to achieve this by computationally modelling the fundamental elements of an online social discourse. In the talk, we will present results from a specific usecase of online social discourse around the topic of ‘covid-19’.

Bio-sketch: Raksha is currently pursuing the Ph.D. degree with the International Institute of Information Technology, Bengaluru (IIITB), India. She has a Master’s degree in Web Technology and Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Visvesvaraya Technological University, Belgaum, India.

She was a Big Data Engineer with Cogknit Semantics Pvt., Ltd., Bengaluru. She is currently with Cogno Web Observatory, IIITB, which aims to observe and analyze the “macro” impacts of the WWW on the society. Her current research interests are web science, social media analytics, network science, information diffusion and Natural Language Processing. She is currently working on understanding the impact of social media on the social cognition of society.

WS4D Map

Details of resources relevant to the workshop.


Day 1: 19 Feb (Friday) 2021

Brave Conversations

Day 2: 20 Feb (Saturday) 2021

Research Workshop

Activity Log 2021

15 Apr 2021. Raksha P S successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled “A Computational Model for Online Social Discourse”. This is the 7th PhD scholar to graduate from WSL.

25 Mar 2021. Srinath Srinivasa, participated as an external committee member of the Faculty Selection Committee meeting of the LN Mittal Institute of Information Technology (LNMIT), Jaipur.

19 Jan 2021. Srinath Srinivasa, participated as a panelist at INDCON 2021, a conference on Industry-Academia Partnership, organized by the MIT World Peace University, Pune, India. (Link to live session)

2-4 Jan 2021. Shyam Kumar VN and Jayati Deshmukh presented at CODS-COMAD 2021.

WS4D Datathon: Concept and Details

Concept Note for the SafeCity Data Visualisation Challenge

WS4D Datathon


The key dataset(s) pertain to information gathered from India, and provided by the Red Dot Foundation.

  1. Reports: time, place, type of event, report
  2. MobileApp: time, place, type of event

Reference articles  pertain to the following topics:

  1. Use of ML/AI to find the type of event (touching/groping/sexual invites/commenting/etc.) from the reports; a study on the diverse forms of sexual harassment
  2. Street violence
  3. Gender-based violence in public transport
  4. Women’s strategies to address assault and violence
  5. Study of crowdsourced data

Challenge themes:

The following points are for processing data and analyzing it deliberately, and using the knowledge to create a compelling visualization as a narrative/summary (preferably) or a tool.  The visualization (tool) must be shareable on social media to spread awareness and to inspire action against gender-based violence and others.

  1. Theme-Mythbusters: Time-related clustering/visualization or integration of time (time of day, evolution over time) with spatial and categories of crime – ( ): This will help us debunk the myths of where and when different kinds of sexual violence tend to take place. Hence, the challenge starts with picking/identifying a myth as a hypothesis, and demonstrating if the data confirm it or not. 
  2. Theme-MirrorMirrorOnTheWall: Comparison of Indian cities with others in the world where data is available: this will give us a sense of India’s position in sexual violence across different parameters captured in the existing datasets. For example, do we see a concentration of specific kinds of violence in India? Such data help us make aware of specific social structures within which sexual crime takes place. 
  3. Theme-Mash-up: Integration with other relevant datasets — police data, sex ratio, etc. available for a specific city. This will help us understand the overall situation of the safety and status of women in a city.  Such data will be crucial in shaping institutional strategies for coping with the incidence of sexual violence.  

For Theme-MythBusters, relevant myths (as a sample):

  1. Gender-based violence of all forms is highly prevalent in Delhi.
  2. Gender-based violence occurs in dimly lit streets and at night.
  3. Sexual violence and harassment occur only in very crowded or very deserted regions.
  4. Not many women get distressed with non-physical forms of violence.

For Theme-MirrorMirrorOnTheWall, relevant datasets and sources:

  2. New York City crime:
  3. Country and World data: consolidated as an excel sheet by Red Dot Foundation using multiple sources:

For Theme-Mash-up, relevant datasets and sources:

  1. social indicators: the general status of women in a specific city, for example, sex ratio, gender-segregated literacy rates, rate of female workforce participation. 
    1. Demographics data with gender segregation – raw data:
    2. Report: Women and Men in India:
      1. 2017:
      2. 2018:
    5. Districtwise Education Data 2015-16 based on sex ratio, male/female literacy, schools by category, boys/girls schools by category, male/female teachers by category, etc.
    6.  Rural Female broad employment status
    7. Urban female broad employment status
    8. Women prisoners with children
    9.  Statewise schools with female teachers
    10. Statewise registered cases against stalking, rape, acid attacks
    11. Financial assistance provided to OBC women
    12.  Budgetary allocation for women safety
    13. State level literacy rate
  2. infrastructure indicators: the general state of law and order, safety in public spaces, gender-based crime, street lights, CCTV cameras, etc.
    1. Street lighting:
    2. Crime against women:
      3. Crime against Women in Metropolitan Cities — tables from a book chapter. [provided separately as a pdf].


A compelling visual narrative to be shared on social media:

  1. Appropriate fonts and color palettes
  2. Situation-sensitive text, e.g. without victim shaming
  3. Use of popular NLP tools in python, visualization tools like D3.js, Tableau, etc.

For further queries:

WS4D PhD Colloquium

WS4D PhD Colloquium

Feb 14, 2020 | 10AM to 4PM | IIIT-Bangalore

Register HERE

The goal of this session is to have research discussion among the PhD research scholars across multiple institutes who are working in the areas related to Web Science. We hope these discussions will be useful and will foster research collaborations in future!


Moderators: Faculty
Panelists: PhD Research Scholars
Audience: Research Scholars

Agenda of each Theme Discussion

  • Theme Introduction by Moderator
  • Short introduction by panelists (5 panelists 5 mins each)
  • Q&A (30 mins)

PhD Colloquium Themes

  1. Empowerment
    In this theme, we discuss how the WWW and digital technologies in general can be used for education and upskilling of the population at scale. As mobile phones and high-speed data connections become ubiquitous, this has created a huge opportunity for disseminating knowledge and skills to a vast population efficiently. However, a dearth of sound understanding of how this can be achieved, is still an impediment. We can also discuss how digital empowerment is essential and how access to resources can help in that context.
  2. Inclusion & Accessibility
    In this theme, we discuss how inclusion is necessary and not just preferable to build models or solutions which are useful, relevant and applicable to all. In this context, inclusion might be in terms of gender, race, color etc. It will be relevant to also discuss how web and digitization can be conducive in building solutions which are designed keeping accessibility into account. Topics like rennaration, multi-language support, transcriptions, alternate text of images etc might be relevant.
  3. Digital Governance + Privacy  + Security
    In this theme, we discuss how different forms of data management processes can be woven into the fabric of administrative decision-making. These include structured data generated by different government departments, corporates and other organisations; as well as the so-called Big Data, generated from several sources like sensors, social media posts, etc. that often contain useful inputs for decision-making. We also discuss topics like privacy and security in this context.
  4. Social Cognition
    In this theme we address questions about how the web, and particularly social media and open online knowledge portals like Wikipedia, is affecting collective opinion and worldview. Social cognition is playing a central role in the making and breaking of reputations of individuals, businesses, and countries. There is a pressing need to understand social cognition in the post-web world. We also discuss topics like opinions, campaigns in networks, marketing and recommendation and discourse modeling.

WS4D Research Workshop


0900-0915Inauguration and Address by Dean (Academics) Prof. R Chandrashekar
0915-1015Keynote – 1: Speaker: Dame Wendy Hall, Web Science Institute
1015-1045Invited Talk – 1: Speaker: Prof. Bidisha Chaudhuri, IIIT Bangalore
1045- 1115Invited Talk – 2: Speaker: Prof. Jaya Sreevalsan Nair, IIIT Bangalore
1115-1130Tea Break
1130-1200Invited Talk – 3: Speaker: Jai Ganesh, Mphasis Inc.
1200-1230Invited Talk – 4: Speaker: Sabu Padamdas, University of Southampton 
1230-1300Invited Talk – 5: Speaker: Nandan Sudarsanam, IIT Madras
1300-1400Lunch Break
1400-1500Keynote – 2: Speaker: Noshir Contractor, Northwestern University 
1500-1515Tea Break
1515-1545Invited Talk – 6: Speaker: Pauline Leonard, Web Science Institute
1545-1615Invited Talk – 7: Speaker: Srinath Srinivasa, IIIT Bangalore
1615-1645Invited Talk – 8: Speaker: Pathik Pathak, University of Southampton
1645-1700Report on Brave Conversations: Speaker: Anni Rowland-Campbell, University of Southampton
1700-1730High Tea and Closing

Talk and Speaker Details

Dame Wendy Hall

Dame Wendy Hall, DBE, FRS, FREng is Regius Professor of Computer Science, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International Engagement), and is the Executive Director of the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton. Dame Wendy was co-Chair of the UK government’s AI Review, which was published in October 2017, and has recently been announced by the UK government as the first Skills Champion for AI in the UK.

With Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Sir Nigel Shadbolt she co-founded the Web Science Research Initiative in 2006 and is the Managing Director of the Web Science Trust, which has a global mission to support the development of research, education and thought leadership in Web Science.

She became a Dame Commander of the British Empire in the 2009 UK New Year’s Honours list, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society.

She has previously been President of the ACM, Senior Vice President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a member of the UK Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology, was a founding member of the European Research Council and Chair of the European Commission’s ISTAG 2010-2012, was a member of the Global Commission on Internet Governance, and until June 2018, was a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Futures Council on the Digital Economy.

Noshir Contractor

Noshir Contractor is the Jane S. & William J. White Professor of Behavioral Sciences in the McCormick School of Engineering & Applied Science, the School of Communication and the Kellogg School of Management and Director of the Science of Networks in Communities (SONIC) Research Group at Northwestern University.  

Professor Contractor has been at the forefront of three emerging interdisciplines: network science, computational social science and web science. He is investigating how social and knowledge networks form – and perform – in contexts including business, scientific communities, healthcare and space travel.  His research has been funded continuously for 25 years by the U.S. National Science Foundation with additional funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, NASA, DARPA, Army Research Laboratory and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

His book Theories of Communication Networks (co-authored with Peter Monge) received the 2003 Book of the Year award from the Organizational Communication Division of the National Communication Association.  He is a Fellow of the International Communication Association (ICA), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).  He also received the Distinguished Scholar Award from the National Communication Association and the Lifetime Service Award from the Organizational Communication & Information Systems Division of the Academy of Management. In 2018 he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras where he received a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering. He received his Ph.D. from the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California.  

Jai Ganesh

Dr. Jai Ganesh is the Senior Vice President and Head of Mphasis NEXTLabs. He is a Product and Service Innovation leader with extensive experience in inventing, conceptualizing, building and commercializing successful technology product and service innovations. Under his leadership, NEXTLabs has created several global award-winning solutions, products and service offerings. Recent awards won include AIconics 2017 for ‘Best application of AI in Financial Services’ and Business Intelligence Group’s ‘2018 Stratus Awards for Cloud Computing’. Jai consults and co-creates with leading global corporations to formulate their digital transformation strategy and build advanced AI driven solutions. He focuses on applied research and innovation in areas such as Data Science, Social Network Analysis, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing, Cloud Computing and Automation. Jai is a prolific inventor with several granted patents as well as publications in leading peer reviewed journals and conferences. He is a PhD from Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) and also has an MBA. Jai is a recipient of the Chevening Rolls-Royce Science and Innovation Fellowship at the University of Oxford.

Sabu Padamdas

Professor Sabu S. Padmadas is Associate Dean (International) of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Professor of Demography and Global Health, and Founding Co-Director of the Centre for Global Health, Population, Poverty and Policy (GHP3) at the University of Southampton.

Padmadas obtained a PhD degree in Demography in 2000 from the Faculty of Spatial Sciences of the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, an MSc degree in Demography in 1995 and a BSc degree in Mathematics with Statistics and Physics in 1992 from the University of Kerala in India, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice in 2006 from the University of Southampton. Padmadas joined the University of Southampton as a Lecturer in Demography in 2002 after completing a two-year term as post-doctoral fellow of the Dutch Royal Academy of Sciences at the University of Groningen. He is currently a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy, and an honorary Senior Research Fellow at the China Population & Development Research Centre, a think-tank attached to the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China.  

His research interests focus broadly on population dynamics and the application of demographic analysis and statistical modelling of global health and wellbeing outcomes in low-middle income and transition economies. He has international expertise in programme impact evaluation and quantitative demography using census and survey data including calendar data, life course and birth history analyses, and population projections. The specific areas of his research cover a broad spectrum of challenging population health topics including: family planning, reproductive and child health, inequalities in health and healthcare outcomes, nutrition, life course epidemiology, population health policies and social determinants of disease outcomes. The journey to his multidisciplinary research career began with the publication of his doctoral thesis entitled ‘Intergenerational Transmission of Health: Reproductive Health of Mother and Child Survival in Kerala, South India’ – and inspired by his mentors: Professor Frans Willekens, Professor Inge Hutter and Professor PS Nair. 

A significant achievement of Padmadas’ academic career is the research spanning over a decade (since 2003) evaluating three cycles of the United Nations Reproductive Health and Family Planning programme in China, which generated high impact and policy response at the national level. This was a high profile collaborative programme with the then National Population and Family Planning Commission and the Ministry of Health of the People’s Republic of China, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Padmadas has an excellent track record of successful research grants funded by the UK and International Research Councils, British Academy, UK Department for International Development, UK Royal Society, International Development Research Centre (Canada), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Norway Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), United Nations and the World Health Organisation. He has published over 70 peer-reviewed articles in international journals, and has served as referee for research councils and for over 30 leading international journals. Over the years, his research has attracted attention from governmental and international think-tank agencies, policy decision-makers and other international media including BBC World Services and New York Times. 

Nandan Sudarsanam

Dr. Nandan Sudarsanam has domain expertise in the areas of finance, demographic and experimental data (across different engineering disciplines). The primary area of research for Nandan is in experimentation and machine learning, with a specific focus on algorithmic approaches in these fields. During his PhD from MIT, he created new algorithms for experimentation, as well as the creation of meta-models from data which could be used to simulate the performance of various experimental algorithms. He has applied his techniques to various industries including commercial banking (Bank of America – Boston), automotive (Ford Motor Company – Detroit), manufacturing (Brakes India – Chennai), and over the last five years in high-frequency algorithmic trading (with Rackson Asset Management – New York). During his last stint as the Head of research at Rackson Asset Management, he has worked with large data sets and deployed data analytic techniques which lead to highly profitable trading strategies

Pauline Leonard

Professor Pauline Leonard is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social and of the Royal Society of Arts.  

Pauline’s principle research interests are in diversity and work and she has published widely on gender and organisations, race and professional migration, age, employability and careers.

Srinath Srinivasa

Srinath Srinivasa heads the Web Science lab and is the Dean (R&D) at IIIT Bangalore, India. Srinath holds a Ph.D (magna cum laude) from the Berlin Brandenburg Graduate School for Distributed Information Systems (GkVI) Germany, an M.S. (by Research) from IIT-Madras and B.E. in Computer Science and Engineering from The National Institute of Engineering (NIE) Mysore. He works in the area of Web Science — that models of the impact of the web on humanity. Technology for educational outreach and social empowerment has been a primary motivation driving his research. He has participated in several initiatives for technology enhanced education including the VTU Edusat program, The National Programme for Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) and an educational outreach program in collaboration with Upgrad.  He is a member of various technical and organizational committees for international conferences like International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM), ACM Hypertext, COMAD/CoDS, ODBASE, etc. He is also a life member of the Computer Society of India (CSI). As part of academic community outreach, Srinath has served on the Board of Studies of Goa University and as a member of the Academic Council of the National Institute of Engineering, Mysore. He has served as a technical reviewer for various journals like the VLDB journal, IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, and IEEE Transactions on Cloud Computing. He is also the recipient of various national and international grants for his research activities.

Pathik Pathak

Dr. Pathik Pathak is Faculty Director of Social Entrepreneurship and Founding Director of the Social Impact Lab at the University of Southampton.

He is passionate about innovation in higher education, and has pioneered the use of challenge-based education.

As Founding Director of the multi award-winning Social Impact Lab he leads the University’s international work on social entrepreneurship. This includes leading a team which delivers a range of activities for our students, including the Social Enterprise module, Spark India, the Social Impact Leaders Speaker Series, our Placements scheme, our in-house Ventures and mentoring start-up social entrepreneurs.

As a result of his work in social entrepreneurship education, he has been made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and was awarded the Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Samann in 2015 for outstanding contributions to education.

Jaya Sreevalsan Nair

Professor Nair obtained her Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of California, Davis; after a B.Tech in Aerospace Engineering from IIT-Madras and an M.S. in Computational Engineering from Mississippi State University. Prior to joining IIITB, she worked as a scientific programmer at Enthought Inc. Austin and as a research associate at Texas Advanced Computing Center, the University of Texas at Austin. Her areas of interest are visualization, scientific computing, computer graphics, and computational geometry.

She leads the  Graphics-Visualization-Computing Lab at IIITB. She is also the core team member of the E-Health Research Center at IIITB. 

Bidisha Chaudhuri

Bidisha Chaudhuri is an Assistant Professor in the domain of IT and Society. She received her PhD from South Asia Institute at Heidelberg University, Germany. She completed an M.A in Sociology from Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi and a Joint European Masters in Global Studies from University of Leipzig (Germany) and Vienna University (Austria). She has worked in research institutions and developmental organizations in India and abroad. Prior to joining IIITB, she worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at ISEC, Bangalore. Her current research projects include, information systems for sustainable development, conversational agents in everyday practices, politics of algorithms, gender and ICTs, political economy of digital identity and sociology of work and automation.

Activity Log 2020

24 December 2020. Srinath Srinivasa participated as an Expert Committee member of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI), for their workshop on “Data for NSDI Applications”, New Delhi.

16-18 December 2020. WSL Research Workshop.

12 December 2020. Srinath Srinivasa presented a talk entitled “Democracy and the Global Opinion Marketplace” as part of the CITAPP Winter School, IIIT Bangalore.

19-21 November 2020. Traffic Simulation Project presented at Bangalore Tech Summit 2020. YouTube Link

10 November 2020. Jayati Deshmukh successfully completed the Comprehensive exam qualifying as a PhD candidate.

07 November 2020. Raksha P S and Gaurav Koley were invited speakers at DSC SAMVAD tech talk titled ‘Behind the Scenes of Research’ organised by JSS Science & Technology University, Mysuru. Details of the talk are available here.

6 November 2020. Jayati Deshmukh invited as a panelist at curtain-raiser event lecture of LTC 2021 by Prof. Samir Brahmachari titled “eScience and the Fourth Paradigm in Research.” Link

10-11 October 2020. Jayati Deshmukh attended “Towards the Logic of Scientific Discovery – Will AI ever win a Nobel Prize?” organized by E4R at ThoughtWorks. YouTube Playlist

28th September 2020. Srinath Srinivasa gave an inaugural talk entitled “Education post 2020” as part of a program called LEAD MindMatrix, organized by IBM and CL Infotech Pvt. Ltd.

14th September 2020. Dr. Aparna Lalingkar was interviewed by All India Radio Mumbai in their program “Vidnyananjanhitay” which is organized in collaboration with Marathi Vidyan Parishad. This program is to highlight the understanding of the use of science and technology in day to day life for common people who do not have scientific background. She was interviewed as a mathematician and educational technologist. The link of the interview is here.

28 August 2020. Raksha P S participated as a panelist in an online webinar on NLP and Fake News as a part of AI for Decision-Making webinar series, conducted by the MINRO research centre. Link for the video

17 August 2020. Jayati Deshmukh presented her initial research at RISE-Samvaad Ph.D. Colloquium 2020 with a talk titled “Computational Transcendence in Ethical Autonomous Agents”. YouTubeLink

30 July 2020. Raksha P S successfully presented open seminar of her PhD thesis titled “A Computational Model For Online Social Discourse”.

9th July 2020. Dr. Aparna Lalingkar presented a paper titled “Building a Model for finding Quality of Affirmation in a Discussion Forum” at The 20th  IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies 2020, organized online by University of Tartu, Estonia during 6th July to 10th July 2020.

7 July 2020. Raksha P S presented paper titled “Computational Model for Online Social Discourse” at PhD Symposium of The 12th ACM Conference on Web Science – WebSci’20.

18 June 2020. Srinath Srinivasa gave Samvaad talk titled “Simulation of epidemiological models for COVID-19 for Karnataka”. YouTubeLink

17 June 2020. Raksha P S presented a webinar talk titled “Introduction to Web Science” organised by Global Institute of Management Sciences.

12 June 2020. Srinath Srinivasa and Jayati Deshmukh. Presented the IIITB Covid Dashboard to the global network of Facebook Covid response team.

8 June 2020. Srinath Srinivasa. Participated as a panelist in an online webinar on AI for Decision-Making, conducted by the MINRO research centre.

11 Mar 2020. Sharath Srivatsa successfully defended his MS by Research thesis entitled “Narrative Plot Comparison Based on a Bag-of-actors Document Model”.

5th March 2020. Aparna Lalingkar visited Mphasis Office for showing demo of Precision Learning Portal to a delegation from Cardiff University, Canada.

24 Feb 2020. WSL hosted Prof. Peter Edwards from the University of Aberdeen on a research visit.

12 – 14 Feb 2020. WSL conducted the Second Workshop on Web Science for Development (WS4D 2020), spanning over 3 days.

20 – 21 Jan 2020. Srinath Srinivasa presented keynote talk titled “Nagar: A Living Lab Architecture or Urban Mobility Observatory” at 1st International Conference of Urban Data Science. Raksha PS and Jayati Deshmukh also attended the conference. IIT-Madras, India

WSL Research Workshop – Dec’19

WSL conducts research workshop at the end of every semester at IIITB. Aim of the workshop is to share, discuss and reflect upon the research that has happened in the last semester at WSL. Also to discuss and design the future roadmap of research at WSL. All research scholars will present their latest work and show demos if any.

Date: 11 Dec 2019

Time: 10:00 AM to 6:15 PM

Venue: R-110

Agenda of the workshop:

Time Speaker(s) Title
09:30 – 10:00 AM BREAKFAST
10:00 – 10:40 AM Talk by Raksha + Pooja Characterizing the Online Social Discourse
10:40 – 11:10 AM Talk by Aparna Discussion Analyzer- Building models for automatic discussion analysis
11:10 – 11:20 AM BREAK
11:20 – 11:50 PM Talk by Jayati Verification and Validation of Autonomous Systems
11:50 – 12:20 PM Talk by Prakhar Automatic Trailer Generation of Narratives
12:20 – 12:50 PM Talk by Naman Automatic detection of Topic Transitions in Lecture Videos
12:50 – 02:30 PM LUNCH
02:30 – 03:00 PM Talk by Sharath Introduction to Narrative Discourse Anachronies
03:00 – 03:40 PM Talk by Chaitali + Shyam Cartographic Aggregation of Learning Resources and Learning Pathways
03:40 – 04:00 PM BREAK
04:00 – 04:30 PM Talk by Anurag Knowledge Graph Embeddings in Continuous Vector Space for Education Modules
04:30 – 05:00 PM Talk by Niharika Automatic story generation
05:00 – 05:15 PM BREAK
05:15 – 05:45 PM Talk by Prof. Sridhar  –
05:45 – 06:15 PM Closing remarks Prof. Srinath  –