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Programme Co-Chairs' Message

On behalf of the WWW2006 Programme Committee, we are delighted to welcome you to WWW2006, the 15th conference in the International World Wide Web Conference series.

This year we had a record number of submissions (667) to the refereed technical track. This was despite a major fire at the web site host, (The University of Southampton,UK), during the week submissions were due. We accepted 75 papers, which translates into an acceptance rate of just 11%. This makes this conference the most competitive yet, though it also forced us to decline some very good papers.

The programme committee was divided into eleven research areas, each with at least two chairs. This year we introduced a new track, E* Applications, with the intention of unifying and broadening previous WWW tracks in each of e-commerce, education, and applications and extending its remit to include e-Science and e-Communities. The intention was to provide a unique forum both for describing innovative E* applications and scenarios as well as innovative technologies for these areas. The track proved hugely popular, attracting 106 submissions to make it the second most popular track, after Search (120), and just beating Data mining (105). It also proved very competitive, accepting just 9 papers giving the track an acceptance rate of 8%. E*Applications, Search and Data mining make up the most popular cluster of tracks (Figure 1). A second cluster of XML and Web Services, Semantic Web and Web Engineering have submission numbers in the 60-80 range, reflecting continued interest and activity in these areas. A final cluster picks up the remainder of the tracks with submissions in the 20-45 band.

Acceptance and submission statistics for each research track

Figure 1: Acceptance (top) and Submission (bottom) statistics for each Research Track.

All papers were reviewed rigorously by the technical programme committee. Every paper was reviewed by at least three reviewers. Candidate accepts, borderline, and controversial papers were subject to lengthy discussion and meta-reviewing. Finally, a two-day meeting, attended by all track chairs, discussed the nominations and finalised the programme choices. An innovation this year was that the meeting was split over two physical sites yet operated as one virtual meeting; the programme committee gathered at Edinburgh and Boston and worked together very successfully as one using the Access Grid virtual conferencing system (http://www.accessgrid.org).

The novel organisation of the Programme Committee meeting and the E*Applications Track were not the only innovations. This year we also introduced position papers for potentially groundbreaking new ideas, stimulating opinions pieces, or exciting preliminary results that would be overlooked in a regular research paper. We were pleased to see that 45 position papers were submitted and 6 accepted. These are identified in the proceedings by the words "position" in the paper title.

Looking at the topics of the papers we see some common themes emerge that cross the boundaries of the tracks. The so-called "Web 2.0" movement is making an impact. Social movements for creating and organising the content of the web, including social tagging and "folksonomy", appeared in a number of tracks including the Semantic Web, Web Engineering, Search and e-Applications. Social tagging, social networks and e-Communities warranted dedicated sessions at the conference. We also saw a coming together of social content annotation and the Semantic Web activity, which continues to be popular; this year the Semantic Web track re-emphasized the Web aspects of the Semantic Web in order to better understand how semantics can provide new levels of Web functionality. The Web as a platform continues as a theme with a large number papers submitted to the Web Services and Web Engineering tracks. The struggles with the democratic nature of the web are reflected in this year clutch of papers on combating link spam.

All the papers accepted to the programme are of the highest standard, and deserve their place. Picking out the best papers and the best student papers, has been a challenge. The reviewers, advocates, and track chairs have helped us whittle down the final nominations to these papers. Please go along to hear their presentations.

Best Paper nominations:

  • Ziv Bar-Yossef and Maxim Gurevich, Random Sampling from a Search Engine's Index
  • Boanerges Aleman-Meza, Meenakshi Nagarajan, Cartic Ramakrishnan, Li Ding and Pranam Kolari Semantic Analytics on Social Networks: Experiences in Addressing the Problem of Conflict of Interest Detection
  • Margaret Kostoulas, Morris Matsa, Noah Mendelsohn, Eric Perkins and Abraham Heifets XML Screamer: An Integrated Approach to High Performance XML Parsing, Validation and Deserialization
  • Zan Sun, Jalal Mahmud, Saikat Mukherjee, I.V. Ramakrishnan, Model-directed Web Transactions under Constrained Modalities
  • Micah Dubinko, Ravi Kumar, Joseph Magnani, Jasmine Novak and Prabhakar Raghavan Visualizing Tags over Time

Best Student Paper (first author is a student) nominations:

  • Harald Weinreich, Hartmut Obendorf, Eelco Herder and Matthias Mayer, Off the Beaten Tracks: Exploring Three Aspects of Web Navigation
  • Mingyu Feng, Neil Heffernan and Kenneth Koedinger, Addressing the Testing Challenge with a Web-Based E-Assessment System that Tutors as it Assesses
  • Seung Jun and Mustaque Ahamad, FeedEx: Collaborative Exchange of News Feeds
  • Nicole Oldham, Kunal Verma and Amit Sheth Semantic WS-Agreement Partner Selection
  • Shuohao Zhang and Curtis Dyreson, Symmetrically Exploiting XML

Alternate Tracks are reviewed as rigorously as the Research Tracks but to different criteria reflecting their different emphasis or the level of maturity of the field. This year, as well as the usual Industrial Practice and Experience, we introduced a new track on Technologies for Developing Regions. The goal of this track was to promote research that benefits those in developing regions, broadly construed; in essence to make the World Wide Web a little wider. We encouraged work from all countries, as long as the target beneficiaries are in resource-constrained regions of the world. We were delighted to attract 15 submissions, equal to the industrial track, and accept 5, one more than the industrial track. We see this as an important maturing of the Web as a force for change in developing societies.

We also had a record number of 220 poster submissions. Each submission was reviewed by at least two reviewers, and 124 were accepted, covering the full range of all the themes, tracks and issues of the Web.

Many people contributed to the success of the programme. We would like to thank the entire WWW2006 Programme Committee for their exceptional hard work and dedication. The General Chairs Leslie Carr, David De Roure and Arun Iyengar provided overall guidance and allowed us to introduce several innovations. We worked together as a team. Simon Harper provided outstanding technical support as we adopted a new reviewing management system, OpenConf, and we would also like to thank the OpenConf team for their reliability, responsiveness and willingness to support the idiosyncrasies of the conference. Jennifer Teig von Hoffman and Ariella Rebbi at The University of Boston, and Iain Soutar and Yvonne Anderson at the National e-Science Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland were wonderful and deserve a huge vote of thanks. They hosted the Programme Committee, enabled us to use the Access Grid virtual meeting environment despite the time zone differences, and were willing to work unsociable hours and over the weekend. We would also thank Susan Davis and Sean Bechhofer for organisational support. Finally, Lisa Tolles of Sheridan Printing assembled the conference proceedings. Thank you to them all.

A conference is nothing without its authors and its participants. So we would finally like to thank the World Wide Web Community for continuing to support this conference by submitting excellent papers and attending a stimulating week of activities in Edinburgh.


Carole Goble
The University of Manchester, UK

Mike Dahlin
The University of Texas at Austin, USA

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