WSL Research Workshop – May’22

The Web Science Lab at IIIT-B conducts a biannual research workshop that aids research scholars to share and present the latest development in their field of work. These interactive brainstorming sessions encourage everyone to new ways of thinking and put forward a fresh perspective on ongoing research problems.

After having it in the online mode for the last two years, we’ll be having the research workshop again in-person.

Date: 20th May, 2022

Time: 10:00AM – 7:00PM

Venue: WSL Lab  

TimeSpeakerTitleSession Chair
10:00 – 10:30PoojaNetwork Learning in Open Data to aid Policy MakingJayati
10:30 – 11:00AparnaNamed Entity Recognition in KannadaJayati
11:00 – 11:30Break
11:30 – 12:00JayatiComputational Transcendence in Supply ChainBalambiga
12:00 – 12:30ChaitaliAI based Narrative Arc Generation for Coherent and Engaging Learning ExperienceBalambiga
12:30 – 2:00 Lunch Break
2:00 – 2:30PraseedaNavigated Learning a two dimensional learning mapChaitali
2:30 – 3:00AnuragEduEmbed – Embeddings for EducationChaitali
3:00 – 3:30ShyamCompetency Maps – A Measure space for Online LearningChaitali
3:30 – 3:45Break
3:45 – 4:15BalambigaPolicy Based Consent Management for Data TrustsPooja
4:15 – 4:45PrakharTBAPooja
4:45 – 5:15NiharikaTBAPooja
5:15 – 5:30Break
5:30 – 6:00JayaTBAAparna
6:00 – 6:30SharathTBAAparna
6:30 – 7:00Prof. Srinath and
Prof. Sridhar
Closing Remarks

WSL Research Workshop December 2021

The Web Science Lab at IIIT-B conducts a biannual research workshop that aids research scholars to share and present the latest development in their field of work. These interactive brainstorming sessions encourage everyone to new ways of thinking and put forward a fresh perspective on ongoing research problems.

Due to the present COVID-19 situation, the workshop will be a 2-day event and shall be hosted virtually.

Date: 16th Dec’2021 – 17th Dec’2021

Time: 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Venue: MS Teams Link

Day 1 – Dec 16th, 2021
2:00 – 2:30 p.m.PrakharA Semi-automatic Approach for Generating
Academic Trailers for Learning Pathways and Resources
2:30 – 3:00 p.m.ChaitaliAI-based Narrative Arc Generation for Engaging Learning Experience
3:00 – 3:30 p.m.ShyamCompetency Maps – Measurement Space & Polyline Algebra
3:30 – 4:00 p.m.AnuragEduEmbed – A Knowledge Graph Embedding for Education
4:00 – 4:30 p.m.Niharika
4:30 – 5:00 p.m.PraseedaA Semantic Two Dimensional Space to Navigate the Learner
Day 2 – Dec 17th, 2021
2:00 – 2:30 p.m.JayatiComputational Transcendence in a Network
2:30 – 3:00 p.m.PoojaNetwork Learning in Open Data to aid Policy Making
3:00 – 3:30 p.m.Sharath
3:30 – 4:00 p.m.AparnaNamed Entity Recognition in Dravidian Languages
4:00 – 4:30 p.m.BalambigaConsent Management for Non-Personal Data
4:30 – 5:00 p.mProf. SrinathClosing Remarks

WSL Research Workshop – May’21

The Web Science Lab at IIIT-B conducts biannual research workshop that aids research scholars to share and present the latest development in their field of work. These interactive brainstorming sessions encourage everyone to new ways of thinking and lays out a fresh perspective on ongoing research problems.

Due to the present COVID-19 situation, the workshop will be a 3-day event and shall be hosted virtually. Also, some speakers will present later over the summer.

Date: 26th May, 2021 – 28th May, 2021

Time: 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Venue: MS Teams Meeting Link

Day 1
26.05.2021Praseeda03:00 – 03:30 PM
26.05.2021Pooja03:30 – 04:00 PM
26.05.2021Jaya04:00 – 04:30 PM
26.05.2021Nishchay04:30 – 05:00 PM
Day 2
27.05.2021Prakhar03:00 – 03:30 PM
27.05.2021Pratik03:30 – 04:00 PM
27.05.2021Jayati04:00 – 04:30 PM
Day 3
28.05.2021Niharika03:00 – 03:30 PM
28.05.2021Anurag03:30 – 04:00 PM
28.05.2021Raksha04:00 – 04:30 PM
28.05.2021Prof. Srinath04:30 – 05:00 PM

Workshop on Web Science for Digital Capabilities (WSDC 2021)

Co-located with the 13th ACM Web Science Conference

June 21, 2021, Online workshop 


9:30 – 10:00Session 1:
Introduction to the Workshop
Bidisha Chaudhuri /
Srinath Srinivasa
IIIT Bangalore
10:00 – 11:30Session 2Discussant: Nirmal SivaramanLNMIIT
Leveraging technology to improve quality of mental health care in Karnataka (Full Paper)T K Srikanth, Girish N Rao, Rajani Parthasarathy, Divya Raj, Suresh Bada Math, Seema Mehrotra, Jagadisha Thirthalli, C Naveen Kumar, Paulomi Sudhir and Deepak Jayarajan1. IIIT Bangalore, 2. National Health Mission, Dept of Health and Family Welfare Services, Govt. of Karnataka, 3.National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore,
AIoT: AI meets IoT and Web in Smart Health Care (Full Paper)Asoke Talukder and Roland Haas1. SRIT India, 2. IIIT Bangalore
11:30 – 11:45Informal Meeting/Break
11:45 – 13:15Session 3Discussant: Roland HaasIIIT Bangalore
Assisted Telemedicine Model for Rural Healthcare Ecosystem (Full Paper)Divya Raj and T K SrikanthIIIT Bangalore
Event Detection in Twitter using Social Synchrony and Average Number of Common Friends (Short Paper)Nirmal Sivaraman, Jaswant Reddy Tokala, Radha Sai Rupesh Ch V and Sakthi MuthiahLNMIIT
SceVar (Scenario Variations) Database: Real World Statistics driven Scenario Variations for AV Testing in Simulation (Short Paper)Sagar Pathrudkar, Saikat Mukherjee, Vijaya Sarathi Indla and Manish ChowdhurySiemens India
13:15 – 14:00Lunch Break
14:00 – 15:00Session 4: Keynote

Digital Capabilities of the Web – Not Easy and Not Automatic

Although the Web is officially recognised as starting in CERN in 1989, people had been trying to build a world-wide network of communication for over a century before that. The idea that a new form of communication could underpin a new opportunity for a better society was widely understood, and the basis of UNESCO’s MacBride report in 1980. This optimism led to the development within the academic sector of agendas for Open Access, Open Source Software, Open Data, Open Education and Open Science. In this talk I will reflect on the experience of being involved in these activities, what they have achieved to date, and how we might progress the digital capabilities agenda as we develop the future of the Web.
Les CarrUniversity of Southampton
Discussant: Srinath SrinivasaIIIT Bangalore
15:00 – 16:00Introduction to Web Science at IIITB / Informal meeting / Break
16:00 – 17:30Session 5Discussant: TK SrikanthIIIT Bangalore
Towards Evaluating Students’ Digital Capabilities: An Analysis of UK Further Education Student Surveys (Full Paper)Tim O’Riordan and Daniel DennisPlumpton College, UK
Diabetes Tracker: An Information System to assist and track nutritional information (Full Paper)Vipula Rawte, Hongyi Huang, Michael Morrison, Janine Wu, Travis Peterson and Thilanka MunasingheRensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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 May 4 2021: Acceptance Notification

May 10, 2021 May 14 2021: Final (camera-ready) submission deadline

Note: 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 (

June 21-22, 2021: Workshops and Tutorials

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)
-497Days -9Hours -38Minutes -44Seconds

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

WSL Research Workshop December 2020

The Web Science Lab at IIIT-B conducts biannual research workshop that aids research scholars to share and present the latest development in their field of work. These interactive brainstorming sessions encourage everyone to new ways of thinking and lays out a fresh perspective on ongoing research problems.

Due to the present COVID-19 situation, the workshop will be a 3-day event and shall be hosted virtually.

Date: 16th Dec’2020 – 18th Dec’2020

Time: 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Venue: MS Teams Meeting Link

DateSpeakerTime Title
Day 1
16.12.2020Jaya03:00 – 03:30 p.m.Automatic Abstract Generation from Titles
16.12.2020Praseeda03:30 – 04:00 p.m.Modeling learners proficiency in a competency through Evidences
16.12.2020Chaitali04:00 – 04:30 p.m.AI-based Narrative Arc Generation for Engaging Learning Experience
16.12.2020Aparna04:30 – 05:00 p.m.
Day 2
17.12.2020Shyam02:00 – 02:30 p.m.Creating Navigable Competency Maps
17.12.2020Sharath02:30 – 03:00 p.m.
17.12.2020Jayati03:00 – 03:30 p.m.Modeling Two-level Computational Transcendence
17.12.2020Naman03:30 – 04:00 p.m.Automatic Extraction of Data from Table Images
Day 3
18.12.2020Pooja02:00 – 02:30 p.m.Network Learning on Open Data to aid Policy Making
18.12.2020Niharika02:30 – 03:00 p.m.Renarration of Learning Content
18.12.2020Prakhar03:00 – 03:30 p.m.Automatic Trailer Generation of Narratives
18.12.2020Anurag03:30 – 04:00 p.m.Knowledge Graph Embedding for Academic Domain
18.12.2020Prof. Srinath04:00 – 04:30 p.m.Closing Remarks

Workshop on Web Science for Development (WS4D) 2020

Workshop on Web Science for Development

IIIT-Bangalore, 12-14 Feb 2020

WS4D 2020 Registration: Click Here

-870Days -9Hours -38Minutes -44Seconds

The World Wide Web (WWW) is the biggest information construct that the world has ever seen. Nothing like the web ever existed in recorded human history. The web is neither a natural phenomenon, nor is it an artificially engineered system. It is the result of trillions of human decisions made independently. As the web and associated technologies like mobile computing makes inroads into most aspects of our lives, there is a growing urgency to understand how it is affecting humanity as a whole. The interdisciplinary study of Web Science was born in 2006 as a result.

The Web Science for Development (WS4D 2020) workshop is part of the Web Science Research Initiative at IIIT Bangalore. WS4D 2020 is a workshop that brings together professionals from several domains, addressing relevant issues of WWW and humanity.

WS4D 2020 is organised as a 3-day event. The first day on Feb 12th, features an activity called Brave Conversations in partnership with the Web Science Trust and the British Deputy High Commission at India.

Brave Conversations is not your average ‘conference’.  There are no lectures or talks, it works through the conversations which are generated by the participants in the room who bring their backgrounds, knowledge and experience to discussing the relationship between technology and society.  We start small, with “You”, by asking how your everyday life is mediated and determined by the technologies you use.  We then move to groups and communities, and then to the broader societal questions as a whole.  The day is thoroughly facilitated utilising a range of tools and processes which bring to the surface conversations which people are having at home or at work, but at Brave Conversations you have time to think about these conversations and to reflect on how to more proactively take control of how you live your digital life.  Our aim is to create a fast-paced learning environment where there is no time to get bored but the focus is on being in the room with the other human beings around you.

The second day Feb 13 2020, features a series of talks by several eminent researchers, practitioners and policy-makers on various topics pertaining to digital societies, including two keynote speeches: Prof. Dame Wendy Hall, Executive Director of the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton and Prof. Noshir Contractor, Director of the Science of Networks in Communities Research Group at Northwestern University, IL, USA.

The Third day Feb 14 2020, features a Datathon and PhD Colloquium.


Day 1: 12 Feb (Wednesday) 2020

Brave Conversations

Day 2: 13 Feb (Thursday) 2020

Research Workshop

Day 3: 14 Feb (Friday) 2020


PhD Colloquium

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  –

Research Workshop – 10 May 2019

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. Workshop also plans to discuss and design the future roadmap of research at WSL. All research scholars will present their latest work and show a demo if any.

Date: 10 May 2019

Time: 10:00 AM to 6:40 PM

Venue: R-110

Agenda of the workshop:

Agenda for WSL Workshop on Friday, 10 May 2019
Time Talk Title Speaker
10:00 – 10:40 Am Understanding the Stability of Online Social Discourse Raksha P S
10:40 – 11:30 Am Quality of collaborative conversation skills and its use for mediation Aparna Lalingkar
11:30 – 11:40 Am Tea Break
11:40 – 12:20 Pm Melting Pots and Salad Bowls: Modeling Acquired and Innate Diversity Jayati Deshmukh
12:20 – 01:00 Pm Automatic generation of learning pathways for navigated learning Chaitali Diwan
01:00 – 02:30 Pm Lunch
02:30 – 03:10 Pm Gratia: Modelling social capital as engagement and belief revision Gaurav Koley
03:10 – 03:50 Pm Competency Modeling in a Navigated Learning Space Praseeda
03:50 – 04:00 Pm Tea break
04:00 – 04:40 Pm Narrative Plot Similarity Sharath Srivatsa
04:40 – 05:20 Pm Automatic Generation of Competency Map from Learning Resources Shyam Kumar V N
05:20 – 05:30 Pm Tea break
05:30 – 06:10 Pm Laboratory Studies: The Constructivist Approach to the Study of Science and Technology Dipanjan Saha
06:10 – 06:40 Pm WSL: The Road Ahead Srinath Srinivasa

Workshop on Web Science for Development WS4D 2019

Workshop on Web Science for Development
WS4D 2019

Feb 27 2019, IIIT Bangalore

WS4D 2019 Registration: Click Here

The World Wide Web (WWW) is the biggest information construct that the world has ever seen. Nothing like the web ever existed in recorded human history. The web is neither a natural phenomenon, nor is it an artificially engineered system. It is the result of trillions of human decisions made independently.

As the WWW makes inroads into most aspects of our lives, there is a growing urgency to understand how it is affecting humanity as a whole. The interdisciplinary study of Web Science was born in 2006 as a result.

The Web Science for Development (WS4D 2019) workshop is part of the web science research initiative at IIIT Bangalore. WS4D 2019 is a workshop that brings together professionals from several domains, addressing three three thematic concerns, namely: Social Cognition, Data-driven Governance, and Digital Empowerment.

Prof. Dame Wendy Hall, Executive Director of the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton, would be delivering the keynote address.

WS4D is organised into three working groups. Each working group comprises of invitees who have made significant contributions in the area. They would be presenting their work, and would be following it up with a focused discussion, for creating a roadmap into the future. The working groups would be speculating on open research problems, social impact and challenges, and policy issues pertaining to their thematic concern.

A brief description of the three working groups are as follows:

Social Cognition: This working group addresses 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.

Data-driven Governance: This working group addresses questions about 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.

Digital Empowerment: This working group addresses the question of 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. This working group speculates about the future of digital empowerment, and makes suitable recommendations.

Participants of the workshop would be invited to submit a paper to a book on Web Science for Development, envisaged as an edited volume about the proceedings of the workshop.

Workshop Agenda

0930 — 0945 Inauguration and Welcome address
S. Sadagopan, Director, IIITB
0945 — 1045 Keynote address: AI through the looking glass
Dame Wendy Hall, Executive Director, Web Science Institute
1045 — 1100 Tea Break
1100 — 1230 Invited presentations — I
(6 nos. 15 minutes each)
1. Data Science: A necessary condition for inclusive development in India — Gurucharan Gollerkeri and Asha Subramanian, Public Affairs Centre (PAC)
2. Using AI to Transform Informational Videos and Our Watching Behaviour — Manish Gupta, Videoken / IIITB
3. Social Media and Organsational Risk — Jai Ganesh, Mphasis Inc
4. Renarration for All — T B Dinesh, Servelots
5. Online Social Synchrony to Detect Events in Social Media — Sakthi Balan, LNMIIT Jaipur
6. Intelligent personal assistants as performative social agents: A dramaturgical analysis of human-machine interactions — Bidisha Chaudhuri and Dipanjan Saha, IIIT-B
1230 — 1330 Lunch Break
1330 — 1415 Invited presentations — II
(3 nos. 15 minutes each)
7. Designing the Cogno Web Observatory: Characterising the dynamics of Online Social Cognition — Raksha Patel, IIITB
8.  Recognizing non-use: Towards a more inclusive Internet — Preeti Mudliar, IIITB
9. Transforming education using Personalised Adaptive Learning — Sweety Agrawal, Funtoot
1415 — 1515 Breakout discussion sessions by working groups
1515 — 1530 Tea Break
1530 — 1600 Presentations by working groups (3 nos. 10 minutes per group)
1600 — 1630 Valedictory session, High Tea and Networking

Keynote Talk Details

AI through the looking glass

Artificial Intelligence is set to transform society in the coming decades in ways that have long been predicted by science fiction writers but are only now becoming feasible. While AI is still a long way from being as powerful as the human brain, many machines can now outperform human beings, particularly when it comes to analysing large amounts of data. This will lead to many jobs being replaced by automated processes and machines. As with all major technological revolutions, such advancements bring with it unexpected opportunities and challenges for society with a need to consider the ethical, accountability and diversity impacts. In this talk, I will lay out why we need to take a socio-technical approach, as we have done with Web Science, to every aspect of the evolution of AI in society, to ensure that we all reap the benefits of AI and protect ourselves as much as possible from applications of AI that might be harmful to society. As Alice found when she went through the looking glass, everything is not always what it first appears to be.

About the speaker: Dame Wendy Hall, DBE, FRS, FREng is Regius Professor of Computer Science, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International Engagement) and is an Executive Director of the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton. 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 and the Royal Academy of Engineering. Dame Wendy was co-Chair of the UK government’s AI Review, which was published in October 2017, and is the first Skills Champion for AI in the UK.

Invited Talk Details

Data Science: A necessary condition for inclusive development in India

Despite making tremendous economic and social development progress, large swathes of India’s population still face health poverty, livelihood poverty and education poverty. India is now facing the hard end of the problem and its future development projects need to understand this problem through a different lens of inclusive development. This development trajectory will be predicated by understanding the patterns of inequality and properties of exclusion. The Centre for Open Data Research, the exclusive data research organisation of Public Affairs Centre focuses on applying data science techniques and innovative research to make data enabled decisions to solve governance and development issues.

About the speakers: Gurucharan Gollerkeri is Director, Public Affairs Centre (PAC), Bangalore. A civil servant from the Indian Administrative Service, in the higher echelons of Government for over 34 years, he retired as Secretary to the Government of India, in 2016. He servedwith distinction as the first director of the India Centre for Migration (ICM), a policy ‘think- tank’ on International Migration, during 2010-13. Based on his work at the ICM, he co-authored ‘Migration Matters: Mobility in a Globalizing World’ (OUP, 2016). In 2004-05, Mr. Gollerkeri was a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Public Policy at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.

Asha Subramanian heads the Centre for Open Data Research (CODR) at Public Affairs Centre, Bangalore, India with a focus on applying data sciences research to promote data empowereddecisions towards good governance. She has a rich Information Technology industry background with over two decades of program management and delivery experience. She holds a Ph.D in Data Science from the International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore and a Masters in Statistics from Indian Statistical Institute Calcutta. Her research interest include knowledge representation and reasoning models, semantic web, machine learning and graph networks, particularly focusing on developing unique models that can bring all these technology domains together to better understand data and it’s context. Her recent publications include a chapter on “Semantic Interpretation and Integration of Open Data Tables.” in the book Geospatial Infrastructure, Applications and Technologies : India Case Studies. Springer International Publishing, 2018.

Using AI to Transform Informational Videos and Our Watching Behavior

Videos account for about 75% of the internet traffic and enterprises are increasingly using videos for various informational purposes, including training of customers, partners and employees, marketing and internal communication. However, most viewers do not have the time to watch these videos end-to-end and our video watching experience has not evolved much in over a decade. We present an AI-based approach to automatically index videos in the form of a table-of-contents, a phrase cloud and a searchable transcript, which helps summarize the key topics in a video and lets viewers navigate directly to the topics of interest. We use a combination of visual classification, object detection, automated speech recognition, text summarization, and domain classification, and show the results achieved on a range of informational videos. We conclude with some thoughts on the promise of transforming how informational videos are consumed as well as open problems and future directions.

About the speaker: Dr. Manish Gupta is a co-founder and CEO of VideoKen, a video technology startup, and the Infosys Foundation Chair Professor at IIIT Bangalore. Previously, Manish has served as Vice President and Director of Xerox Research Centre India and has held various leadership positions with IBM, including that of Director, IBM Research – India and Chief Technologist, IBM India/South Asia. As a Senior Manager at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York, Manish led the team developing system software for the Blue Gene/L supercomputer. IBM was awarded a National Medal of Technology and Innovation for Blue Gene by US President Barack Obama in 2009. Manish holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. He has co-authored about 75 papers, with more than 7,000 citations in Google Scholar, and has been granted 19 US patents. While at IBM, Manish received two Outstanding Technical Achievement Awards, an Outstanding Innovation Award, and the Lou Gerstner Team Award for Client Excellence. Manish is a Fellow of ACM and the Indian National Academy of Engineering, and a recipient of a Distinguished Alumnus Award from IIT Delhi.

Social Media and Organsational Risk

Inspired by business interest in social media and social network analytics, this talk uses the Rana Plaza factory collapse as an event study to tease out possible enterprise lessons concerning organisational image. The research mixes theory data analysis to understand how social media influenced and affected the corporate social responsibility reactions from firms involved in the disaster. We follow eight brands and produce sentiment, risk, and social network analyses to highlight how the factory collapse impacted organisational image and to understand what firms could do to mitigate the damage to organisational image caused by their involvement. Using lessons from social movement theory, we show that organisational image is dependent upon stakeholder management and brand reputation. Furthermore, we show why brand reputation is the most valuable part of brand equity and the key to future opportunities. Using these findings we formulate recommendations for firms seeking to protect organisational image.

About the speaker: 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.

Renarration for All

The accessibility of content for all has been a key goal of the Web since its conception. However, true accessibility — access to relevant content in the global context — has been elusive for reasons that extend beyond physical accessibility issues. Among them are the spoken languages, literacy levels, expertise, and culture. These issues are highly significant, since information may not reach those who are the most in need of it. For example, the minimum wage laws that are published in legalese on government sites and the low-literate and immigrant populations. While some organisations and volunteers work on bridging such gaps by creating and disseminating alternative versions of such content, Web scale solutions much be developed to take advantage of its distributed dissemination capabilities. This work examines content accessibility from the perspective of inclusiveness. For this purpose, a human in the loop approach for renarrating Web content is proposed, where a renarrator creates an alternative narrative of some Web content with the intent of extending its reach. Renarrations are Web Annotations resulting in a more inclusive and decentralised social semantic web.
For more details:

About the Speaker: Dinesh, and Janastu/Servelots, work on issues like Web content accessibility for our diversity of literacy needs. Their work brings together tools and techniques for negotiation of community archives by all, use of 3D methods for location interpretation and spacial navigation, social semantic web concepts for storytelling, and facilitation of audio Annotations on a browser. Their work is influenced by friends and collaborators in the areas of nomadic pastoralism (Follow the Sheep), storytelling and cultural heritage (Indian Digital Heritage),  archiving of organisation knowledge (25 years of NCBS), oral histories (Democracy Archives), diversity of literacy (Media Maker Spaces), decentralised negotiation of a community space (AntHillHacks) and contexts of local economy (Crafter Spaces and TheHandmade).

Online Social Synchrony to Detect Events in Social Media

We define an online collective phenomenon called social synchrony that occurs in the online social networks. Social synchrony is a particular kind of collective social behavior where the number of people who perform a certain action first increases and then decreases. We redefine this phenomenon and propose a method to detect it. Secondly, we apply the concept of online social synchrony for event detection. We propose a method to detect the presence of events from Twitter data using the concept of social synchrony.

About the Speaker: Prof. Sakthi Balan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, The LNM Institute of Information Technology, Jaipur. His main focus of research is in the area of Web Science wherein he works specifically in Social Network Analysis. He has previously worked in the area of Theoretical Computer Science. He graduated in 2004 from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Madras. During his PhD he received Infosys Fellow- ship. After his graduation he worked in Canada as a Postdoctoral Fellow for three years in the Department of Computer Science, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada. In 2008 he joined Infosys Technologies Limited, Bangalore and worked until 2015. From 2015 on- wards he is with LNMIIT. He has around 35 publications collectively in the areas of Web Science and Theoretical Computer Science.

Intelligent personal assistants as performative social agents: A dramaturgical analysis of human-machine interactions

Sociologist Erving Goffman in his dramaturgical analysis (1959) explains social interactions as if it were a play performed on a stage for an audience. The key to study such interactions, in his understanding, is not the individual and his psychology, but “the syntactical relations among the acts of different persons mutually present to one another” (Goffman 1967, Interaction Ritual, pp. 2 as cited in Schegloff 1988 pp. 94). Accordingly, this framework has been applied in the analysis of human-human interactions on online platforms (e.g., Hogan, 2010; Bullingham & Vasconcelos, 2013) and in the analysis of human-machine interactions (e.g., Bucher, 2014; Lee, Frank, Beute, de Kort., & IJsselsteijn, 2017). We extend Goffman’s dramaturgical framework to analyse the interactions that take place between humans and conversational agents such as Alexa, Google Assistant and so on. We see these assistants as performative agents engaging in social interactions with their human counterparts where in the “backstage” of both human and non-human remain inaccessible (Latour, 1996). We ask, what are the different types of strategies the voice assistants can employ for “impression management”? How can we analyze these strategies without having access to the “backstage”? How do the conversational agents maintain decorum of expected behavior? With this analytical approach, we aim to understand to what extent sustained “natural” conversations may take place between humans and conversational agents.

About the speaker: Prof. Bidisha Chaudhuri has joined the institute in 2013. She has completed her PhD from the South Asia Institute at the Heidelberg University, Germany in 2012. The title of her doctoral thesis was Hybridising (e) Governance in India: The Interplay of Politics, Technology and Culture. She received 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 organisations in India and abroad. Her research interests include governance, gender and development, information communication technology (ICT) for development, policy reform and South Asian politics.

Designing the Cogno Web Observatory: Characterising the dynamics of Online Social Cognition

Our understanding of the web has been evolving from a large database of information to a Socio – Cognitive Space, where humans are not just using the web but participating in the web. World wide web has evolved into the largest source of information in the history, and it continues to grow without any known agenda. The web needs to be observed and studied to understand various impacts of it on the society (both positive and negative) and shape the future of the web and the society. This gave rise to the global grid of Web Observatories which focus and observe various aspects of the web. Web Observatories aim to share and collaborate various data sets, analysis tools and applications with all web observatories across the world. We plan to design and develop a Web Observatory called Cogno to observe and understand online social cognition. We propose that the social media on the web is acting as a Marketplace of Opinions where multiple users with differing interests exchange opinions. For a given trending topic on social media, we propose a model to identify the Signature of the trending topic which characterises the discourse around the topic.

About the speaker: Raksha P.S is a PhD Student at Web Science Lab. She has a Master’s degree in Web Technology from PES Institute Of Technology, Bangalore and Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from K S Institute Of Technology, Bangalore. Prior to joining IIITB she has worked as a Big Data Engineer at Cogknit Semantics Pvt Ltd, Bangalore. Previously she has worked on Ontology Based Semantic Data Validation, Big Data, Data Visualisation using D3.js, Web Crawlers and Developing Learning Management System. Currently she is working on Characterising online social cognition as a marketplace of opinions.

Recognising non-use: Towards a more inclusive Internet

Discourses around technology use and access often privilege the notion of the ‘user’ in the design of products and systems. However, an exclusive focus on the ‘user’ could also prevent designers from recognising the conditions and contexts that produce non-use, and which in turn can challenge potential users from interacting and engaging with technology systems. Using the example of WiFi infrastructures, this talk will offer insights on how space and gender interact to construct users, non-users, and their experiences of public WiFi hotspots. As infrastructures, WiFi networks are thought to privilege democratic notions of freedom and connectivity by rendering space salient as networked areas that require users to only have a WiFi enabled device to get online. However, the kind of spaces that WiFi networks occupy are not always accessible by women even though they are ostensibly public in nature. Additionally, social norms that restrict and confine women’s mobilities to certain sanctioned areas do not allow their Internet and digital literacies to be visible in the same way as men who are easily recognised as active and often default users of technology and the Internet. The invisibility of women thus struggles to create a presence as desirable subjects of the Internet and related infrastructure deployments. Drawing on researcher reflexivity, observations, and interviews around WiFi access and use in a rural community in Rajasthan, India, this talk will reflect on how recognising subjectivities of use and non-use can contribute towards more inclusive user design.

About the speaker: Prof. Preeti Mudliar’s research interests centre around using ethnographic methods and analyses to study social contexts around technology access and use. She is particularly interested in the ways in which gender constitutes the lived experiences of people and finds herself researching and writing about gender both intentionally and serendipitously. Her work has been published in human-computer interaction (HCI) venues such as CHI and CSCW. She holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degrees in Commerce and Communication Studies from the University of Pune and a PhD in Communication Studies from the University of Texas, Austin. She is currently an assistant professor at IIIT-Bangalore.

Transforming education using Personalized Adaptive Learning

There has been a significant rise in the gross enrolment ratio of the students in public schools over the past few decades. However, there is a decline in their learning outcomes, which results from staff crunch, crowded classrooms and insufficient infrastructure. Moreover, students are learning less as they move to higher classes. National Achievement Survey – 2017 shows that the national average score of a grade 8 student was barely 40% in Maths, Science and Social Studies. The survey also highlights the fact the country is short of at least 10 lakhs qualified teachers. With the advent of technology and AI, Personalised Adaptive Learning solutions might solve the current education crisis. With the belief that every child is unique, funtoot, an Intelligent Tutoring System designs a personalised learning path for each child. Funtoot tailors the teaching instructions according to the knowledge states of each learner and leads the learner towards her unique learning trajectory. In this talk, we will have a close look at funtoot and its impact on the students of public schools.

About the speaker: Sweety Agrawal is currently working as a Data Scientist in funtoot. She holds MS by Research degree focused in Data Science from International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore. Her current work is focused on applying machine learning, deep learning, artificial intelligence, and learning science to enrich their Intelligent Tutor (funtoot).