WebSci’20 Main conference begins today

Making the Web Human-Centric? New Directions in the Web and AI
The 2020 ACM Web Science Conference is finally here! It’s looking a little different than usual…but we have a packed programme lined up for you this week. You can check it out and register your attendance here.

We have recently added a number of social events in the breaks. We’re sure you’ll agree that there’s something here for everyone:

  • Music from The Southampton Ukulele Jam (starring some of the Web Science Institute staff)
  • Hampshire Music Service ensemble members present ‘This Is Me’ from The Greatest Showman
  • Future Worlds talk with Anne Boden of Starling Bank
  • The Web Science Trust “Untangling the Web” Podcast: Susan Halford
  • Jazz is Data: Listen to Tom Irvine’s selection of his favourite jazz tunes
  • Comedy Show: His fringe show may have been cancelled, but Web Science Institute Executive Director, Les Carr, brings his comedy to the conference
  • David De Roure: Jazz music
  • Virtual Student Gallery (we couldn’t arrange a poster session but come and find out what PhD students are researching, at our virtual Bar)
  • Several Virtual Brown Bag and Water Cooler Sessions (join us at the Gather Town beach location, where you can find other delegates and chat over coffee)


Full details of the social events and their timings are listed in the Conference Programme.

Here’s a reminder of what’s happening in between the breaks (!) :

The main conference will be formally opened on Wednesday 8th July by ACM President, Gabriele Kotsis, followed by “In Conversation” with Ruby Wax. Ruby is Chancellor of the University of Southampton and she has had a hugely successful career with BBC television as an interviewer and comedian.

The first Keynote Presentation will be delivered by Gina Neff from the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, followed by the Founders Panel which is titled “Web Science – now more than ever”. This event is not to be missed! It will be chaired by Rennie Fritchie who will be joined by the pioneers of Web Science Wendy Hall, James HendlerNigel Shadbolt, Daniel Weitzner, Noshir Contractor and Tim Berners-Lee. Discussions will focus on the key role played by Web Science in addressing the challenges we face in society today.

In the evening we have the first “Meet the Author” session, in conversation with Sasha Costanza-Chock, author of “Design Justice: Community-Led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need”.

One of the highlights on Thursday 8th July is the Spotlight Panel on Policy and Practices. It will be chaired by Anni Rowland-Campbell who is the Director of Intersticia – a global charity and social enterprise which focuses on helping to develop emerging leaders for the 21st Century.

After lunch our second Keynote Speaker James Hendler will be discussing the future of the web. This session will be followed by a Spotlight Panel chaired by Steffen Staab, which will focus on the Research Roadmap for Web Science.

On Thursday evening we can look forward to another “Meet the Author” event. It features Philip Howard, author of “Lie Machines: How to Save Democracy from Troll Armies, Deceitful Robots, Junk News Operations, and Political Operatives”.

Friday 10th July features a talk by JP Rangaswami, who will discuss the role of Web Science in the age of Covid-19. This session will be followed by the final Spotlight Panel chaired by Bill Thompson where participants will debate the future of Web Science.

We hope to see you taking part in both the formal and social events over the next few days!
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Pauline Leonard & Emilio Ferrara (Program Chairs)
Wendy Hall (General Chair)

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