Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Spring news

April 2nd, 2010
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The webdam team is very happy to welcome Fabian Suchanek as a new member, starting June 1th 2010. Fabian was previously a visiting researcher at the Search Labs of Microsoft Research.
We should be able to announce other great hiring soon…


News for the beginning of the year

January 15th, 2010
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The webdam team wish you an happy new year!

The project is now running for more than one year. We have already found some interesting results in a large spectrum of directions: task sequencing in data-driven workflow, querying probabilistic data, access control on the web and web archiving. You will find more results on the annual activity report . We are really excited by the new challenges we will meet this year.

More practicaly, Tova Milo and Balder ten Cate will both visit Webdam end of january.

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Sihem Amer-Yahia visiting Webdam

December 1st, 2009
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Sihem Amer-Yahia is visiting Webdam from Tuesday 1 December to Thursday 31 December. She is a Senior Research Scientist at Yahoo! Research New-York. She will present her work on recommendation Friday 4 December at 3pm in the meeting room G008.

Title: I’ll Have What She’s Having: Recommendations on Social Content Sites

Abstract: We examine the challenges behind recommendations in social content sites. We use collaborative tagging sites (think, YouTube and Yahoo!Travel) as our application and report on our experiments in harvesting the collective tagging behavior to serve relevant content (think URLs, videos, travel destinations) to users. We address well-known and lesser-known problems in recommender systems such as over-specialization and data management for the masses. We conclude with open questions.


Amelie Marian visiting webdam

December 1st, 2009
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Amelie Marian is visiting Webdam from Tuesday 1 September to Wednesday 30 September 2009 and from Tuesday 1 December to Thursday 31 December. She is an assistant professor at Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA. She will present her work on rating prediction using review texts Friday 4 December at 2pm in the meeting room G008.

Title: Beyond the Stars: Improving Rating Predictions using Review Text Content

Abstract: Online reviews are an important asset for users deciding to buy a product, see a movie, or go to a restaurant, as well as for businesses tracking user feedback. However, most reviews are written in a free-text format, and are therefore difficult for computer systems to understand, analyze, and aggregate. One consequence of this lack of structure is that searching text reviews is often frustrating for users; keyword searches typically do not provide good results as the same keywords routinely appear in good and in bad reviews. User experience would be greatly improved if the structure and sentiment information conveyed in the content of the reviews were taken into account. Our work focuses on identifying this structure and sentiment information from free-text reviews, and using this knowledge to improve user experience in accessing reviews. Specifically, we focused on improving recommendation accuracy in a restaurant review scenario.

We report on our classification effort, and on the insight on user-reviewing behavior that we gained in the process. We propose new ad-hoc and regression-based recommendation measures, that both take into account the textual component of user reviews. Our results show that using textual information results in better general or personalized restaurant score predictions than those derived from the numerical star ratings given by the users.


Webdam at BDA 2010 Summer School

October 22nd, 2009
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The thematic 2010 summer school of the BDA (Bases de données avancées) conference on distributed very large databases will take place in Les Houches (France) from May 16th 2010 to May 21th 2010 with the support of Webdam.

Webdam will also contribute to the summer school with the following presentation:

  • Web data processing, Pierre Senellart and Philippe Rigaux
  • Logical approach for uniform querying of distributed and heterogeneous data, Marie-Christine Rousset

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Yannis Papakonstantinou visiting Webdam

October 14th, 2009
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Yannis Papakonstantinou is visiting Webdam from Thursday 15 October to Friday 16 October 2009. He is a professor at the Computer Science and Engineering University of California, San Diego.
He will present his work on Database-Driven Web Applications Friday at 2:00pm in the meeting room G008.

Title: Do-It-Yourself Custom Database-Driven Web Applications

Abstract: UCSD’s app2you project (commercialized as and its successor FORWARD project belong to the emerging space of Do-It-Yourself (DIY), custom, hosted, database-driven web application platforms that empower non-programmer business process owners to rapidly and cheaply create and evolve applications customized to their organizations’ data and process needs.
Generally DIY application platforms provide an application design facility (also called application specification mechanism) where the application owner (also called process owner and business architect) specifies the application by manipulating visible aspects of it or by setting configuration options. A DIY platform must maximize the following two metrics: First, how wide is its application scope, that is, what computation,
collaboration on a process, and pages (presentation) can be achieved by applications specified using the platform’s design facility? Second, how easy is the specification of an application using the platform’s design facilities? The two metrics present an inherent tradeoff.
This talk focuses on human-centric database-driven web applications.


Brainstorming on Foundations of Web Data Management

September 10th, 2009
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The Webdam Workshop on Brainstorming on Foundations of Web Data Management took place on August 28th, 2009 at Télécom ParisTech. It was an occasion to present Webdam first achievements to a panel of specially talented researchers, all known as being a leading force in their respective research fields. It was also an occasion to share and compare different and useful visions of how the data management of the web should be founded theoritically.
In particular, we got the following exciting presentations :

  • Serge Abiteboul, Webdam in brief: Serge presented the main motivations and goals of Webdam: noticing that management of distributed data on the web is not supported by robust models and theory, he proposes to focus on information residing in autonomous systems, following the direction of Axml. This talk raised interesting debate with the audience on concurrency control and more generally on expectations about Webdam.
  • Marie-Christine Rousset, Representing and Reasoning on Web Data Semantics, Survey and Challenges: Marie-Christine presented the importance of data semantics to constrain meta-data for web data management. This will allow reasoning on knowledge using logic. This talk raised questions on the best kind of logic to use, the limitations of RDF and extensions to numeric properties.
  • Stefano Ceri, Search Computing: Stefano presented his work on the ERC project Search Computing, mostly focused on data management and query optimization. This talk build natural bridges with Webdam, since the use of a rich data will deeply improve quality of search and process modeling; social network are also a natural path for promising interaction. This research also raises questions about the link between search and probabilistic databases.
  • Georg Gottlob, Web Data Extraction — Present and Future: Georg’s talk argued on the need of tools to bridge the gap between unstructured and structured information to feed the data management system. He proposed a langage for expressing such extraction methods and tools to support it. It raised questions about creating new annotations on Datalog and managing duplicates.
  • Tova Milo, Querying Past and Future in Web Applications: Tova presented applications which would more naturally grow on top of a rich distributed data management system. In particular, she focused on the need to understand and optimize the interaction with the user, considering past interactions. The main challenges which animated the debate is the generalization of the application to a more generic scenario, using in particular a representation of workflows.
  • Peter Buneman, Provenance in databases and workflow: Peter’s talk demonstrated the importance of where-, how- and why-provenance. It provided some tools and model to use in presence of complex workflows. This topic is of direct interest for Webdam, since keeping trace of provenance is fundamental in such distributed environments.
  • Dan Suciu, Belief Databases: Dan demonstrated the importance of the management of belief in distributed data management system where each user has a consistent view of the database even if inconsistencies may appears across views. This talk raised interesting discussion on the representation of belief and the kind of logic to use in such a system.
  • Val Tannen, Provenance Propagation: Val developed the analysis of the previous speakers about the need of provenance to update and feedback propagation in a web data management system. He proposed an algebraic view of provenance in order to better understand it and get general results. The debate focused on summarization of why-provenance and levels of abstraction.
  • Victor Vianu, Static Analysis of Active XML Systems: Axml is a first model of web data management system which may support tasks, controlled by guards. Victor presented how properties of the system could be expressed in tree-LTL logic and verified, providing theoretical insurance on the behavior of the system.
  • Pierre Senellart, Probabilistic XML: Survey and Challenges: Pierre presented how XML probabilistic databases could leverage the uncertainty to better represent the knowledge on a distributed data management system. He also explained how to reason on this database. It raised exiting challenges like continuous probabilistic distributions and dependency tractability.
  • Luc Segoufin, Links with FoX Project: Fox is an european project which focuses on safe processing of dynamic data over Internet. It deals with similar problems as Webdam: data modeling and specification, querying, extracting and exchanging XML data, modeling and verification of temporal behavior and handling incomplete informations. The two projects have already produced fruitful collaboration.
  • Balder ten Cate, Structural Characterizations of Schema Mapping Languages: Balder presented how important schema mappings are for data integration on a distributed data management system. He proposed a study of the languages of data mapping schema. It raised interesting issues on adapting this model to XML data and schema mapping optimization.
  • Serge Abiteboul, Recent works around AXML: In this presentation, Serge introduced an existing application of Axml: the business artifact. This allows representing a workflow in a data-centric way, well suited for highly distributed applications. This raised a large number of questions about interaction between autonomous system, synchronization, movement of artifacts, monitoring, quality of services, access control…

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Members update

September 8th, 2009
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A number of researchers joined Webdam on September 1st

  • Yannis Katsis, PhD from UCSD
  • Amélie Marian, Prof. Rutgers, for September and December
  • Philippe Rigaux, Prof at U. Dauphine
  • Marie-Christine Rousset, Prof at U. Grenoble – part time

One extended his stay for a year

  • Evgeny Kharlamov, PhD student at Bolzano

Two are leaving us

  • Bogdan Marinoiu who finished a PhD and is joining SAP/BO
  • Bruno Marnette, PhD student at Oxford, after a 2-month internship

A new assistant joined the project

  • Isabelle Biercewicz

We thank Marie Domingues for her help during the first year of Webdam.


A logo for Webdam

August 20th, 2009
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Serge did a wonderful logo for Webdam. There are some of the versions you may find useful.


Webdam logo in pdf


Webdam logo in eps

Webdam logo in png

Webdam logo in png

Small Webdam logo in png

Small Webdam logo in png


White Webdam logo in pdf


White Webdam logo in eps

White Webdam logo in png

White Webdam logo in png

Small white Webdam logo in png

Small white Webdam logo in png


Francois Bancilhon visiting Webdam

May 4th, 2009
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Francois Bancilhon is visiting Webdam Monday 4 May 2009. He is currently working on creation of PACMAN, a cooperative R&D project, based in Paris and focused on mobile Internet applications
He will present the PACMAN project at 2:00pm in the meeting room of building G.

Title: The PACMAN project

Summary: PACMAN is an r&d project submitted to the last call for projects (March-April 2009) of the Systematic and Cap Digital Competitivity Clusters.
The participants of the project are Agence France Presse, Alcaltel-Lucent, Bearstech, Dexxon, Haploid, INRIA (Arles and Indes projects), LIP6 (SMA and SPR projects), Mandriva, Streamezzo, and the City of Paris.
The project is focused on Mobile Internet Applications. It considers that the hardware/software platform for mobility is the Smartphone (i.e., iPhoneOS, Android, Windows Mobile, Symbian and WebOS).
The objective of the project is to deliver a set of technologies supporting mobile application development, to validate the use of these technologies by a significant set of mobile applications and to distribute these applications through and on line store (PacStore). Technologies include development and runtime tools and middleware. One of the key problems addressed by the project is that of portability (a single code for the same application running on different Smartphones).
Applications targeted by the project include social applications, training application, multi-player games and ubiquitous applications.

Short Bio: François Bancilhon is currently working on creation of PACMAN, a cooperative R&D project, based in Paris and focused on mobile Internet applications. Before this, he was the chairman and CEO of Mandriva (formerly Mandrakesoft), one of the top world Linux publishers. Prior to Mandriva, he has founded and/or managed several software startups in France and in the US. Before becoming an entrepreneur, François was a researcher and a university professor, in France and the US, specializing in database technology. François holds an engineering degree from the École des Mines de Paris, a PhD from the University of Michigan and a Doctorate from the University of Paris XI.

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