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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 — 1045Keynote address: AI through the looking glass
Dame Wendy Hall, Executive Director, Web Science Institute
1045 — 1100Tea Break
1100 — 1230Invited 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 — 1330Lunch Break
1330 — 1415Invited presentations — II
(3 nos. 15 minutes each)
8. Designing the Cogno Web Observatory: Characterising the dynamics of Online Social Cognition — Raksha Patel, IIITB
9.  Recognizing non-use: Towards a more inclusive Internet — Preeti Mudliar, IIITB
10. Transforming education using Personalised Adaptive Learning — Sweety Agrawal, Funtoot
1415 — 1500Breakout discussion sessions by working groups
1500 — 1515Tea Break
1515 — 1600Presentations by working groups (3 nos. 15 minutes per group)
1600 — 1630Valedictory 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.

Prof. Dame Wendy Hall, DBE

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.    

Shri Gurucharan Gollerkeri, IAS

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.

Dr. Asha Subramanian

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.

Prof. Manish Gupta

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.

Dr. Jai Ganesh

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:

Dr. T B Dinesh

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. 

Prof. Sakthi Balan

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 Echo 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.

Prof. Bidisha Choudhuri

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.

Ms. Raksha Patel

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. 

Prof. Preeti Mudliar

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.

Ms. Sweety Agrawal

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).

Activity log 2019

5 Feb 2019. Prof Oliver Gunther, President of the University of Potsdam, Germany visited IIIT Bangalore and had interactions on various research projects of WSL lab and some startups incubated at IIIT Bangalore.

31 Jan 2019. Srinath Srinivasa participated as a panelist in the Awareness Workshop on Cyber Security and Privacy in Education, organised by Cyber Security Center of Excellence of the Government of Karnataka, Privacy Virtuoso, IISc and KSCST Bengaluru, at CSA Department, IISc, Bengaluru.

30 Jan 2019. Srinath Srinivasa participated in the Task Group Meeting on Big Data in Governance, of the Karnataka Jnana Aayoga, Vikasa Soudha, Bangalore.

25 Jan 2019. Dr Prasad Ram, Founder of Gooru Inc visited WSL lab and discussed about project updates and future plans.

19 Jan 2019. Srinath Srinivasa and Jayati Deshmukh participated in the ThoughtWorks E4R (Engineering for Research) Symposium on Complex Systems. Pune, India.

8 Jan 2019. Prof. Sharma Chakravarthy from UT Arlington presented a talk on “Graph Analysis: Decomposition-Based Analysis Using Multilayer Networks” at IIIT Bangalore.

Reach Workshop – 23 November 2018

The REACH project aims to develop solution to avail the provision for high speed Internet access in rural India using unlicensed TV white space spectrum and designing the Geolocation database for it. With the wide increase of population and use of Internet in India, the efficient utilization and management of spectrum is needed. The utilization of TV white space spectrum is emerging as a best alternative to fulfill this need since there are many unused channel in TV spectrum due to migration from analog to digital transmission technology.

REACH final meeting / Workshop was held on 23rd November 2018 in Bangalore.

Following are the details of the workshop

Workshop on Theoretical Foundations of Computer Science

International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore (IIIT-B) is organising a “Summer School on Theoretical Foundations of Computer Science” that is sponsored by Sonata Software Ltd. The aim of this school is to encourage and promote interest in theoretical foundations of computer science among students and researchers. We identify a few selected topics in theoretical computer science and aim to conduct lectures in a tutorial fashion, primarily aimed at students with a basic understanding of theoretical computer science. This five-day event also features a few invited talks given by researchers from both academia and industry. The focus of the tutorial-style lectures will be on the foundations of the selected topics and will aim to include problem solving/hands-on sessions. The invited talks will focus on the state-of-the-art research on these or related topics and their applications.

The topics that we aim to cover are from Approximation Algorithms, Parameterised Algorithms and Complexity, Cryptography, Program Analysis and Formal Methods, and Theoretical Foundations of Distributed Computing. Since each of the above topics is itself broad, we only seek to give a very brief overview of the subject, and additionally some deeper insights into specific sub topics that may reflect the research interests of the speakers.

More details on workshop website.

Activity log 2018

19 Dec 2018. Srinath Srinivasa presented an invited talk titled “Design of the Cogno Web Observatory for Characterizing Online Social Cognition” at The Sixth International Conference On Big Data Analytics (BDA) at NIT Warangal.

17-18 Dec 2018. Aparna Lalingkar presented series of talks in “Recent Trends in Teaching-Learning Technology” at North Maharashtra University, Jalgaon on Navigated Learning and Semantic Web technology and Education.

12 Dec 2018. Srinath Srinivasa participated as a panelist discussing the role of technology clusters in promoting innovation, at the IndoUK FutureTech conference, New Delhi, India.

11 Dec 2018. Srinath Srinivasa participated as a member of the technical panel of experts for the National Data & Analytics Portal at NITI Aayog, New Delhi, India.

23 Nov 2018. REACH Workshop was held at IIIT Bangalore. Click on REACH workshop 2018 for details.

21 Nov 2018. WSL workshop focused to reflect on the research progress in the last semester.

21 Nov 2018. Prof. Rajendra Bera presented an invited talk titled “Connecting the dots” as a part of the course The Web and The Mind.

12 Nov 2018. Srinath Srinivasa. Participated as a member of the Executive Committee on Data, at the EC meeting of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI), New Delhi, India.

8-9 Nov 2018. Srinath Srinivasa and Manish Gupta participated in the Falling Walls venture pitch, at the Falling Walls conference 2018, Berlin, Germany.

30 Oct 2018 – 1 Nov 2018. Aparna Lalingkar and Raksha P S presented posters titled “Learning Navigator – A Platform for Navigated Social Learning” and “Designing the Cogno – Web Observatory: To Characterise the Dynamics of Online Social Cognition” respectively at the 14th FICCI HIGHER EDUCATION SUMMIT 2018, at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi.

22-26 Oct 2018. Chaitali Diwan presented her work “Computing Exposition Coherence of Learning Resources” at the 17th International Conference on Ontologies, Databases and Applications of Semantics (ODBASE 2018), Valletta, Malta.

15 Oct 2018. Prof Srinath Srinivasa, Raksha P S, Chaitali Diwan presented a talk on “Understanding a post-web world” at Samvaad, IIIT Bangalore.

29 Sept 2018. Article published in New Indian Express regarding the Web Observatory project at WSL.

27 Sept 2018. Prof Sridhar Mandyam participated in the panel discussion on ” Leverage Cognitive Computing to address Challenges in Digital Empowerment” as a part of Symposium on “Cognitive Computing and Social Innovation” conducted by IIIT Bangalore and Mphasis. Praseeda moderated this panel discussion.

6 Sept 2018. Chaitali Diwan successfully cleared her comprehensive exam.

9-12 July. Aparna Lalingkar presented poster of her work “Deriving semantics of learning mediation” at the 18th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT) at IIT Bombay.

9-11 July. Sharath Srivatsa presented his work “Narrative Plot Comparison Based on a Bag-of-actors Document Model” in 29th ACM Conference on Hypertext and Social Media (ACM HT’18) at Baltimore, USA.

10-11 July. Raksha P S attended “InDITA conference on Digital Inclusion through Trust and Agency” held at IIITB.  She also hosted a session named “Effects of Digital Identities (multiple) on Human Cognition or Behavior”. Key points of the session can be found in this link:

21-25 May 2018. Prof Srinath Srinivasa visited Web Science Institute, University of Southampton and City University of London, United Kingdom. Also presented a talk titled “Many Worlds on a Frame, Characterizing online social cognition” at the University of Southampton.

18 May 2018. Asha Subramanian successfully defended her Thesis titled “Semantic Integration And Knowledge Representation Of Open Data, Powered By Linked Open Data“.

15 May 2018. WSL. “Web Science Lab Workshop” at IIIT Bangalore discussing the research activities happening in the lab.

14 May 2018. Dr Prasad Ram, CEO of Gooru Learning visited Gooru Labs at IIITB for research collaborations and discussions.

26 April 2018. Project Reviews of all the projects in WSL.

13 April 2018. Jaya Appukuttan presented her seminar on the state-of-the-art and the thesis proposal entitled, “Semantic Summarization of User Generated Short Reports”.

3rd April 2018. Aravindh Raman from King’s College London presented his work “Content Delivery at the Edge: Possibilities and Solutions” at IIIT-Bangalore.

2nd April 2018. Prof. Oliver Guenther, President of the University of Potsdam, Germany visited IIIT-Bangalore and Gooru Labs. He delivered a talk “Defining a University Strategy – A European Perspective”.

5-9 March 2018. Prof. Srinath Srinivasa visited Gooru HQ at Redwood City, California for research and collaboration.

12th Jan 2018. Dr Prasad Ram, CEO of Gooru Learning visited Gooru Labs at IIITB and other teams in India. Several discussion meetings held at Gooru labs, whose minutes can be found in Gooru Knowledge Base.

11–13 Jan 2018. Raksha P S, Chaitali Diwan, Praseeda Kalkur. Participated in the 18th International Conference on Management of Data and Data Science (COMAD-CODS) at Goa, India.

3 Jan 2018. Dmytro Karamshuk, Senior Data Scientist at Skyscanner, presented his work on “Bridging big data and qualitative methods in the social sciences” at Gooru Labs, IIIT-Bangalore.

Talk on “Bridging big data and qualitative methods in the social sciences”

Date: Jan 3rd 2018

Time: 2:15 PM

Location: TBD

Abstract: With the rise of social media, a vast amount of new primary research material has become available to social scientists, but the sheer volume and variety of this make it difficult to access through the traditional approaches: close reading and nuanced interpretations of manual qualitative coding and analysis. This work sets out to bridge the gap by developing semi-automated replacements for manual coding through a mixture of crowdsourcing and machine learning, seeded by the development of a careful manual coding scheme from a small sample of data. To show the promise of this approach, we attempt to create a nuanced categorisation of responses on Twitter to several cases of extreme circumstances.


Bio of speaker:

Dima is a Senior Data Scientist at Skyscanner where his focus is on developing and optimizing the Skyscanner’s travel search engine. Prior to Skyscanner, Dima was with King’s College London where he worked on analysis of BBC iPlayer (a joint project with BBC) and various social media websites (Twitter, Pinterest, Foursquare, etc.). He contributes to the data mining (KDD, WWW, etc.) and computer networks communities (Infocom, ComMag, etc.) and have his works featured by New ScientistBBC News and other media outlets. Dima has also co-founded and was a former CEO of More information –

WSL Workshop – 27 November 2017

Date: 27 November 2017

Venue: Room no 102, IIIT Bangalore

Time: 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM

One day workshop to discuss, reflect and plan research work at the Web Sciences lab, IIIT Bangalore. Research Scholars to present their work, discuss ideas, share problems encountered, retrospect and provide updates on their progress. Project teams to show demo of their projects and share the technical implementations, updates and progress achieved. A reflection session and SWOT analysis of the Lab to reflect upon the past year and suggestions and improvement for the coming year.

Following is the schedule for the workshop

Activity log 2017

11 December 2017. Srinath Srinivasa. Presented a talk entitled “A Case for Open-ended Data” at E-governments Foundation, Bengaluru.

28 November 2017. WSL. “Web Science Lab Workshop” at IIIT Bangalore. WSL Workshop 2017

23-25 October 2017. Raksha P S. Participated in the International Conference on Ontologies, Databases, and Applications of Semantics (ODBASE 2017), at Rhodes, Greece, and presented a research paper entitled: “Identifying Opinion Drivers on Social Media

23-25 October 2017. Asha Subramanian and Srinath Srinivasa. Participated in the 16th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2017), at Vienna, Austria, and presented a demo paper entitled: “Towards Semantically Aggregating Indian Open Government Data from data. gov. in

16 October 2017. Raksha P S presented her seminar on the state-of-the-art and the thesis proposal entitled, “Characterizing the marketplace of opinions.”

13 October 2017. Jaya Appukuttan successfully cleared her comprehensive exam.

20-21 September 2017. Chaitali Diwan presented paper “Autonomous Spectrum Assignment of White Space Devices” at 12th EAI International Conference on Cognitive Radio Oriented Wireless Networks (CROWNCOM 2017), held in Lisbon, Portugal.

5 September 2017. Gooru labs was formally inaugurated at IIIT Bangalore, by Prof. Rajagopalan, Dr. Sridhar Mitta and Dr. Prasad Ram.

4 August 2017. Asha Subramanian completed her open seminar entitled, “Semantic Integration and Knowledge Representation of Open Data Powered by Linked Open Data” as a pre-requisite requirement to the submission of her PhD thesis.

21-30 June 2017. Srinath Srinivasa visited Gooru HQ at Redwood City, California as part of the ongoing collaboration for setting up Gooru Labs at IIIT Bangalore.

5–8 June 2017. Asha Subramanian presented her work at the Data Science Congress 2017 held in CIDCO Convention Centre, Vashi, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. Abstract of the paper can be found at Abstract

27 April 2017. Raksha P S finished her PhD Comprehensive exam.

24 April 2017. Final Project reviews for Semester Jan-May 2017 at Web Science Lab IIIT Bangalore.

19 April 2017 – 20 April 2017. Workshop on Big Data Engineering at IIIT Bangalore. This workshop is a part of a project Co-creation of a Center of Excellence in Big Data Engineering , a collaboration between IIIT-B and City University London, to set up a centre of excellence in Big Data Engineering.

8 April 2017. Asha Subramanian and Raksha P S presented poster and demo of their work at RISE “Open House,” IIIT Bangalore.

7 April 2017. Asha Subramanian and Raksha P S presented their work at PhD Colloquium, IIIT Bangalore.

29 March 2017. Srinath Srinivasa, Dean R & D, IIIT Bangalore. Attended European Research Council (ERC) meeting in Delhi representing IIIT Bangalore.

15 March 2017. Visit of Prasad Ram(Pram), Founder and CEO of at Web Science Lab, IIIT Bangalore.

13 March 2017. Project Review 2 of the projects at Web Science Lab, IIIT Bangalore.

8 February 2017. Srinath Srinivasa. Took office as the Dean (R&D) of IIIT Bangalore.

6 February 2017. Project Review 1 of the projects at Web Science Lab, IIIT Bangalore.

9th January 2017 – 13th January 2017. Srinath Srinivasa, Visited Gooru HQ at Redwood City, California, as a part of continuing the collaboration initiative.

Web Sciences Lab Workshop – 19th December 2016

WSL Worksop Dec 2016

Date: 19th December 2016

Venue: Room no 226, IIIT Bangalore

Time: 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM

We are conducting a one day workshop to collate and present research work by research scholars at the Web Sciences lab, IIIT Bangalore. Research Scholars will present their work, discuss ideas, share problems encountered, retrospect and provide updates on their progress.

Following is the schedule for the workshop

Time Task
9:30 – 9:45 Overview of the work done by lab in past 6 months – Prof Srinath Srinivasa
10:30 – 11:00 Inferencing in the Large:Towards Automation of Semantic Integration and Knowledge Representation of Open Data – Presenter : Asha Subramanian
11:00 – 11:30 A talk on Trust and Mediation – Presenter : Praseeda
11:30 – 12:00 Narratives Plot Comparison – Presenter : Sharath Srivatsa
12:00 – 12:30 Framework for Mediation Driven Learning – Presenter : Chaitali Diwan
12:30 – 1:30 Break for lunch
1:30 – 2:00 A talk on The Marketplace of Opinions – Presenter : Raksha
2:00 – 2:30 Semantic Summarization from User Generated Short Reports – Presenter : Jaya
2:30 – 3:30 Open discussion with all the participants on “Research and Me”

The abstracts of various talks are given below.

Title: Inferencing in the Large: Towards Automation of Semantic Integration and Knowledge Representation of Open Data

Abstract: Data available on public domain especially though open data initiatives such as,, publish useful information on various aspects of government policies and administration. One could derive immense insights by semantically integrating such datasets across various domains. Semantic Integration involves extraction of common domains or themes that explain a collection of datasets by identifying unique resources for data values and relations amongst rows of data across these datasets using known or custom vocabularies and knowledge bases. The natural taxonomy and classification of the entities, instances and properties in the vocabularies allow for extraction of themes relevant to the datasets. Multiple research efforts have addressed the problem of semantic annotation of web tables and csv tables, which mainly involves interpreting tabular data by linking them to relevant vocabularies, however they have not focussed on the problem of semantic integration of tables. Linking Government Data is an active research interest. The current process to semantically link such datasets is largely manual and involves manual identification of vocabularies, classes and properties for each dataset, creating templates which will then automate the process of mapping the data to the identified vocabularies.
Our work presents two models, 1) the generation of semantically linked data for the open datasets using vocabularies from LOD cloud such as Dbpedia, YAGO,, UMBEL etc and 2) representing the data in an intuitive home-grown Knowledge Representation Framework called MWF (Many Worlds on a Frame), a framework loosely modelled on Kripke Semantics. MWF allows for rich representation of data across two aspects – the type hierarchy(is-a) relationship and the containment hierarchy(is-in) relationship supported by roles and associations to transform the open datasets into a web of semantically interlinked themes and their associations.

Title: Understanding  trust in mediation

Abstract: Intermediaries have always been a part of the society. It was individuals who played a role of broker to orchestrate and facilitate transactions between various parties. Click here for more

Title: Narratives Plot Comparison

Abstract: Narratives are extremely versatile way of telling imaginary or fictional and true or empirical incidents whereas expositions are simple and concise documentation based on true and well researched content. Writing narratives is not bounded by any style, it is limited by the author’s intention to entertain, his experience and effort to compose. A similar message can be conveyed in varying grades of style and illustrative cases and hence comparing two narratives and scoring their similarity is non-trivial. Narratives have two aspects the flow of events called the Fabula and the expression style called Discourse, both aspects affect the reading experience and the impact of the intention or message to be conveyed by the author. Our hypothesis is that two narratives can be compared by matching the verbs and nouns of events of each subject. Click here for more

Title: Framework for Mediation Driven Learning

Abstract: Learning is a complex process in which the learner experiences permanent and lasting changes in knowledge, behaviour, or ways of processing the world. Every learner is unique and learns and perceives things differently, at a different pace. In the classroom environment which is designed for an average student, same content is delivered to all the students in the same way. There is a fundamental flaw in designing the curriculum in this way for an average student, since there are virtually no students who fit into this category of average [1]. Hence, there is a need to address the individuality of the student for effective learning. A learning theory called as “Independent Learning” addresses this. Independent learning encourages and enables students to become self-directed in their learning experiences and to have more autonomy and control over their learning. In addition to this, it is found that learning is very effective where there is a collaboration with other learners. In our work, we propose the concept of “mediation driven learning” which builds upon the theories of independent learning and collaborative learning and uses the power of Web to mediate or facilitate learning. We create a framework for mediation driven learning where we get the learners and tutors together on one platform and provide a mediation algorithm that finds an optimal matching between the learners and tutors for a particular learning concept. Click here for more

Title: Understanding the Marketplace of Opinions

Abstract: Our understanding of web has been evolving from that of a passive repository to a participatory socio-cognitive space, where human beings are participants rather than users of it. More than effecting the daily transactions this space has created a huge impact on how thoughts are shaping at individual level and also in a community. To be able to interpret how the society is transforming, it is very important to understand how the web is impacting the social cognition….Click here for more

Title: Semantic Summarization from User Generated Text Reports

Abstract:Text summarization is an active research area among Natural Language Processing research community. The community have been developed diverse paradigms for generating summary from long documents, even-though there is minimal effort on creating summary from large collection of short and noisy documents. Here, the short documents refers to user generated social media activity messages or any short reports which are generated as part of any closed domain. The proposed research aims to (semi-) automate the process of summary generation from a given set of short documents with more emphasis on the semantics of the document content. The research is initiated with a completely unsupervised techniques. The entire document collection is represented as an undirected graph of key phrases and later the graph clustering, graph centrality based measures and Markov Random Field based factor computation techniques are used to glean the important information. Further simple natural language generation techniques and natural language specific heuristics are applied to generate the candidate sentences for the final summary.

Open Discussion:

During the open discussion, all the participants will briefly share their individual views and comments on whether research pursuits have changed their approach in life towards achieving their passions or goals, and if yes, share their experiences.


Talk on “Web Annotation, Community Narratives and Familiarizing Stories” by Dr. Dinesh from Servelots

Speaker will visit the idea of Renarration Web with examples from Bio Diversity Protocol and Intangible Heritage of Hampi. He will then look at the ongoing Web Annotation Standards work at the W3C Web Annotation Working Group. Then we will spend some time discussing how the work of Web Sciences Lab can help in finding Similar Stories.

Date: 24th August 2016
Time: 3:00 PM
Venue: IIIT-Bangalore

About the speaker: Dinesh is the technical director at Janastu (, 2002) and Servelots (, 1999) in Bangalore, India which have been providing free and open source (FOSS) solutions and support, including R&D, to SME and NPOs/NGOs. They have introduced the concept of the SWeeT Web architecture and used it with platforms such as “re-narration web” in order to address the issue of contextualisation needs of web content, in particular for the case of low-literate web users who need a multi-lingual re-narration capable Web. He is a member of the W3C Working Group on Web Annotations as an Invited Expert.

Their work in recent years can be capture by these subject tags:
web annotations, social semantic web, location intelligence interpretation, 3d augmenting real spaces, re-narration, community radio, wifi-mesh and anthillhacks

Click here for more information about the speaker