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CSCW Summary

Last week I was in Seattle-Bellevue for CSCW (Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Work). If you had the pleasure to follow me on twitter you might have seen my updates and retweet of events tagged with #cscw2012. But before the main track (or better the six parallel main tracks) started I had the pleasure to attend the Workshop on the Future of Collaborative Software Engineering.

Workshop on Future of Collaborative Software Engineering

The workshop started with two rounds of poster presentations, where everybody had a chance to give a quick one minute madness introduction to his/her poster to attract people to discuss it in greater “length” (well it was maybe 10 minutes) with other that were interested in the topic. I think that was a great start to get the creative juices flowing and was a good way to get a nice overview of what others had done.

The second part was somewhat disappointing. We had a set of speakers that where either presenting their own paper or a summary of the papers assigned to their session. The speakers were good and the topics interesting but it took up the rest of the workshop.

I would have loved to see us sit down and actually spend half of the workshop discussing and synthesizing the gathered insights and ideas into a set of future trends that we think will be most likely to occur. At the end of the workshop I somewhat felt left hanging without having derived a conclusion about the future outlooks.

CSCW main conference

The main conference was interesting but sadly offered only a small number of sessions that looked interesting and most of them where in parallel. But this gave me the opportunity to explore different tracks and although not directly (or even indirectly related) to my research area there are some remarkable things going on. One talk that in particular caught my eye was about eye tracking. This research group is able to track at which line of code participants are looking on the screen, super cool for program comprehension studies.

I also had the chance to contribute a talk to the main talk, here are my slides on, note I am currently working on webinizeing the slides so that they actually make sense. In the mean time you can get the paper from

The talk went well, I stayed on time, got some major laughs and got some good questions. The only down side was that it was the first on the first day after lunch. Which brings me to the following, never organize a conference with lunch on your own. Especially at the first day people had trouble finding a place close enough serving food fast enough and had trouble keeping track on time as a result many people came in late to the session, almost until the end of my talk people kept trickling in.

Oh well, the next day I had fun at the town-hall meeting by calling bullshit on some discussion that seems to happen at about every conference. With the new review process the acceptance rate got much higher and raising concern as to the worth of a CSCW publication and as always all the “senior” profs stated that it is an insufficient measure and we shouldn’t worry about, but somehow those same profs sit on the hiring and funding committees, strange. After I posed the question about “who then is using this measure if everyone agrees that it is inappropriate” and I got a lame excuse that we only use it because other research fields are relying on Journals and don’t think conference publications have any worth. Oh well, I guess after decades of dealing with that issue no one ever bothered to change the process to first submit to a CSCW journal and then invite the accepted papers to the conference, and be done with this pathetic crusade to convince others that our system is equivalent to the more traditional journal based systems.

Let’s move to some more fun things. The same day of the town-hall we had the conference banquette. It was at an Arcade with Bowling alley, sweet. All games were free it was just plain amazing. Bowling with friends check, racing friends in Ferrari simulator check, racing friends in Need for Speed check, Dance Dance Revolution check, and Air Hockey check. Man it was just plain cool, that event alone made the conference so worth it. Sorry, didn’t had the chance to make pictures and due to the dark nature I don’t think my iPhone would have produced anything of use.

Anther cool thing at CSCW was DoTastic a social to do app. You can assign tasks to yourself and to other. When you assign tasks to others you can give them points for completing them or you can chip in points to get your friends going on other tasks as well. During CSCW Microsoft had a competition running on who can gather the most points to win a Kinect and look you won (picture to the right).


2 Comments leave one →
  1. 26/02/2012 22:06

    I see you guys made yourselves seen at CSCW! well done Segals!

    and hey — you gotta bring the kinect in the lab one day so we can play (if you have not done it yet :)).


  1. Is an iPhone enough for a CS conference? « Adrian's Blog

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