Even though the BigDataEurope is a CSA (Coordination and Support Actions) project, this didn’t prevent some research to sprout and flourish here and there during the project adventure in the wild of Big data. The project coordinators as well as many board members were already heavy research contributors or supporters.
The project coordinator, Sören Auer, suggested in a project plenary meeting to co-author a research paper, shedding light on the BigDataEurope (BDE) Platform, the research work conducted in the course of the project, and showcasing some of the applications (aka. pilots) of the BDE Platform. The 17th International Conference on Web Engineering (ICWE) was a decent reachable target on the day of the discussion, so the project consortium geared up for an innovation momentum. Happily, the effort was rewarded and the paper was accepted for publication as a full-paper.
The conference was organized in the center of the ancient Roman Empire, the hometown of the legendary Gladiators, the more than 2500 years old city: Rome. I traveled filled with excitement to present the project’s first paper, accepted in such a renowned international conference: flagship conference for the Web Engineering community. I’ll give a bit of a hint about its popularity and competitiveness levels, taken from its online proceedings. During the last five years, the conference received increasing number of submissions: 92, 100, 110, 125, 139 submissions, in chronological order since 2013. The acceptance rate varied though 24,7%, 20%, 24%, 21%, 28%, respectively.
My presentation programmed on the main auditorium, caused me a little bit of stress, but that didn’t last long, as the pride of what we achieved during the project quickly prevailed. The audience was of about 30 to 40 attendees, from PhD students, PhDs, Professors, and also heads from companies. The questions I received were centered around the ability of BDE Platform to process streaming data and to perform analytics. The first misunderstanding pertained to the pipeline concept and initialization service I introduced in the presentation. I clarified that the pipeline can normally have among its components a stream processing component, such as Storm or Kafka, both of which are among the long list of Big data technologies we support. I next explained that, in fact, we do perform analytics, but for a special type of data, namely RDF, and referred to SANSA Stack. Then I clarified that the reason was because the original goal of BDE Platform was not to build any kind of application for users, be it analytics or other, but rather to help people get started building their own applications using Big data technologies. We make it as easy and flexible as possible to deploy and monitor those applications, by providing a set of services and graphical interfaces. Several attendees expressed to me in later occasions their impression about the project, its size and outcome.
Content-wise, the conference was loaded with very interesting, cutting edge research. Varying from Social Web, Semantic Web, Internet of Things, Crowdsourcing, Web application Modeling, Web Experience enhancing, to Big data. The full list of presented papers can be found here. There were three keynote speakers tackling advanced and hot topics, like: learning from influential information propagation in social networks and blogs, abstraction and quality in Big data applications and their interchange, and finally mining opinions and sentiments from online reviews to improve Recommender Systems.
Coming to the marking point of every conference, its social event. Undoubtedly, that would be a least of a guided tour to Rome’s most popular ancient ruins and monuments. As immemorial as it seems, Rome possesses some of the largest heritage ever survived in human history. You find thousands years old buildings and constructions standing tall almost in the exact form they were constructed in. Indeed, learning the origins and history behind a certain attraction gives a completely different flavor comparing to just observing it. The very well timed tour ended at the gate of the prestigious Pallavicini Rospigliosi Palace for dinner. Located in the neighborhood of Quirinal Palace the official residence of the Italian President, Pallavicini Rospigliosi palace is a masterpiece of art dating back to the 17th century. As expected, distinguished Italianish specialty food was served.
At the end, it is always a pleasure to attend such great events. Its biggest asset is the rare opportunity to meet the smartest and most skilled brains gathered in one place, you exchange contacts and inspirations.