Information Science Breakfast Series

A series to get familiar with the IS Faculty research projects

Organizer: Gilly Leshed, IS PhD student

FALL 2006 Schedule: Friday 10:00-11:00 AM in large conference room, at 301 College Ave



Title and Abstract

Sep 1

Dan Huttenlocher

DGS meeting with IS grad students

Sep 8

Sadat Shami

The Influence of Positive Affect in Solving a Computer Mediated 'Hidden Profile' Task

This talk proposes research using a 'hidden profile' experiment to develop a deeper theoretical understanding of the role of positive affect in improving information sharing in groups engaged in computer mediated knowledge work. Groups often do not effectively share the unique information each individual group member possesses. This is problematic since groups are formed on the assumption that each member's unique contribution will lead to a better decision than any one individual would make alone. In this research I examine the mechanisms through which inducing positive affect in group members may act as an effective intervention in facilitating sharing of unique information.

Sep 15



Sep 22



Sep 29

Thorsten Joachims

Using Clicks as Implicit Feedback in Search Engines

Adapting search engines to particular user groups or collections promises improvments in retrieval quality over the current one-size-fits-all approach. To direct this adaptation, implicit feedback from observed user behavior is a promising source of information. But how reliable is such implicit feedback? This talk addresses this question for implicit feedback generated from clickthrough data in WWW search. Analyzing the users' decision process using eyetracking and comparing implicit feedback against manual relevance judgments, we conclude that clicks are informative but biased. While this makes the interpretation of clicks as absolute relevance judgments difficult, we show that relative preferences derived from clicks are reasonably accurate on average.

Joint work with Geri Gay, Helene Hembrooke, Bing Pan, Laura Granka, and Filip Radlinski.

Oct 6

Happy Fall Break

Oct 13

John Abowd

Synthetic Data: We Made the Numbers Up, but It's OK to Use Them

Synthetic data, the practice of releasing scientific data that are subject to privacy and confidentiality protections by sampling from the joint posterior predictive distribution of the confidential data, is gaining traction in the official statistical community. Visit to see the U.S. Census Bureau's first official synthetic data product, which I helped to design. There is a fundamental tension between the extent of confidentiality protection and the analytic usefulness of the released data. Economists model this tradeoff by using a production possibility frontier for the two "goods"--privacy protection and information content. (Statisticians call this the risk-utility tradeoff, but I'll explain why I prefer to reserve "utility" to describe the data user's preferences and not the data provider's technology.) I've got lots of examples, but you should feel free to suggest some of your own problems. If you want more background, visit INFO 747 at

Oct 20

Phoebe Sengers

Staying Open to Interpretation: Engaging Multiple Meanings in Design and Evaluation

Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) often focuses on how designers can develop systems that convey a single, specific, clear interpretation of what they are for and how they should be used and experienced. New domains such as domestic and public environments, new influences from the arts and humanities, and new techniques in HCI itself are converging to suggest that multiple, potentially competing interpretations can fruitfully co-exist. In this talk, we lay out the contours of the new space opened by a focus on multiple interpretations, which may more fully address the complexity, dynamics and interplay of user, system, and designer interpretation. We document how design and evaluation strategies shift when we abandon the presumption that a specific, authoritative interpretation of the systems we build is necessary, possible or desirable.

Oct 27

No IS breakfast - Postponed to next semester

Johannes Gehrke

Postponed to next semester

Hilda: A High-Level Language for Data-Driven Web Applications

I will talk about Hilda, a high-level language for developing data-driven web applications. The primary benefits of Hilda over existing development platforms are: (a) it uses a unified data model for all layers of the application, (b) it is declarative, (c) it models both application queries and updates, (d) it supports structured programming for web sites, and (e) it enables conflict detection for concurrent updates.
We also describe the implementation of a simple proof-ofconcept Hilda compiler, which translates a Hilda application program into Java Servlet code. I will also describe several research challenges in the HILDA project where we need help from students with an information science background.

This is joint work with Fan Yang, Jayavel Shanmugasundaram, and Mirek Riedewald.

Nov 3

No IS breakfast

Nov 10

Eric Friedman

Manipulation and Efficiency of Reputation and Ranking Systems

Reputation and ranking systems have become increasingly important, in applications ranging from websearching to mechanisms for reducing free riding in P2P systems. However, due to user manipulations (such as link spam and sybil attacks) many of these systems have been significantly compromised. In this talk I will discuss some recent work (theoretical and empirical) on the manipulability and efficiency of such systems and the potential for designing useful and robust reputation and ranking systems.

Based partially on joint work with Alice Cheng.

Nov 17

No IS breakfast - Postponed to next semester

Dan Cosley

Postponed to next semester

Nov 24

Thanksgiving recess

Dec 1

Tracy Mitrano

Why Jon Kleinberg is Right (Again):  The Future of the Internet is Policy.


This discussion will address the three main policy issues from the perspective of three layers of the Internet:

Physical:  Net Neutrality

   Suggested Reading:

   Suggested Viewing:  Net Neutrality video, second from top, University Computer Policy and law seminar


Logical:  Open Source v. Propriety Intellectual Property in the World of Patent

   Suggested Reading:  Innovation and Its Discontents, Jaffee and Lerner


Application:  The Impact of Copyright Law on the Missions of Higher

Education: Cornell v. American Association of Publishers

   Suggested Reading:,


General Reading:

   Article Length:  The Generative Internet, Jonathan Zittrain

   Book Length:  The Wealth of Networks, Yochai Benkler

Spring 2006 IS Brown Bag

Fall 2005 IS Brown Bag

Organizer: Gilly Leshed