I’m having a great time at CHI (including my first time two-stepping today) but I strongly believe, as Jonathan Grudin asserted today, that we can make use of data to improve the conference. I’ve already analyzed historical data that demonstrates that we can substantially reduce reviewer workload. We’ve also created a way you can use current data to meet new people at CHI. And if you’d be willing to share some of your own data, I’d like to try to use it to improve future conferences.
For the current conference, there’s a nice tool, created by Alireza Sahami, for meeting interesting new people at CHI this year. If you visit the mobile version of the CHI program (which also works fine in a regular laptop browser) you can mark some papers you’ve attended or noted to read (just as you can with the CHI program apps—unfortunately, the data is not shared between them, so you’ll need to repeat). Then, clicking the recommendations link and enabling recommendation will give you a list of users who are most similar to you in terms of the papers they’ve chosen to attend. If you don’t know them, send an email and meet them to discuss your shared interests!
For future conferences, I’d really like to investigate the talk attendance data to see if we can do a better job of scheduling the conference to avoid conflicts. In a past life I did a lot of work in combinatorial optimization, and I have my eye on some algorithms that I believe would do an excellent job of automated low-conflict scheduling. But to test this hypothesis (and convince the CHI chairs to give it a try for real) I need actual talk preference data from the attendees. Right now, if you’re marking those interesting talks using the android or iphone apps , that data is locked inside the app. Would you be willing to share it with me so I can experiment with it?
I still need to get IRB approval to use this (personally identifying) data. So I don’t want it yet. Instead, please fill out this form that will let me contact you once I have set up a repository and a procedure for collecting the data? In the meantime, don’t delete your app! It’s the only place where your talk selections are stored.