Greetings from CIKM 2017 in Singapore!

Written by Jaakko Peltonen

Part of the Singapore skyline in the Riverside district.

As I am writing this, I am just about to finish my attendance at CIKM 2017, the ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management, which was held this year in Singapore. The conference was held over five days, and included workshops, tutorials, demos, and 50 paper presentation sessions in up to seven parallel tracks. There were also four keynote talks on machine learning at Amazon, combining deep and transfer learning, hyperconnected smart cities, and deception detection. Attendees came from numerous countries representing both academia and industry; one presented paper raised chuckles from the audience, as its authors included representatives from multiple companies including Facebook, Google and Microsoft.

It was a hectic schedule, and due to the six-hour time difference between Finland and Singapore, when the afternoon was ending in Singapore, remote meetings and duties with colleagues in Finland continued for many hours more, but it was worth it. The content of the conference was highly relevant to ongoing work where we are developing novel methods for analysis of online consumer behavior, and to projects that are beginning next year including novel work on exploratory search.

I was fascinated by Singapore, a sovereign city-state with a land area similar in size to the capital area of Finland, a population size similar to Finland, and a diverse culture including influences from Britain and many Asian countries.  I would have loved to explore, but the conference schedule kept me busy, and ultimately I could only do a few brief excursions outside the conference area. Perhaps I will be able to return for a future conference.

The conference hotel Pan Pacific Singapore had a similar number of floors as the Pinni building of University of Tampere, or perhaps just a few more…

Listening to Dr. Rajeev Rastogi’s keynote on machine learning at Amazon.

The Merlion statue – part lion, part fish – is a symbol of Singapore.