Invited Keynote: Sep Kamvar, MIT Media Lab
Languages and Social Systems
Building social question answering systems is difficult. As a consequence, many people think about social question answering, but fewer people build working systems. I contend that one of the main reasons why building these systems is difficult is that our current programming languages were not designed to build interactive multi-user applications. The disconnect between the application and the available languages makes writing a social question answering system in Python or Ruby or Java feel as natural as writing a Shakespearean Sonnet in Mandarin. In this talk, I will introduce a new programming language that we have been writing, called Dog, intended for social applications. I will show how to write several Social Question Answering systems in Dog, including simplified versions of Aardvark and Yahoo! Answers, with just a small amount of code. My hope is that by lowering the barrier to building social applications, including Social Question Answering systems, more of them will be built, and crazy ideas can be more easily tried.
Sep Kamvar is the LG Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT, and the Director of the Social Computing Group at the MIT Media Lab. His research focuses on social computing and information management. Prior to MIT, Sep was the head of personalization at Google and a consulting professor of Computational and Mathematical Engineering at Stanford University. Prior to that, he was founder and CEO of Kaltix, a personalized search company that was acquired by Google in 2003. Sep is the author of two books and over 40 technical publications and patents in the fields of search and social computing. He is on the technical advisory boards of several companies, including Clever Sense and Etsy. His artwork has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Victoria and Albert Musem in London, and the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens. Sep received his Ph.D. in Scientific Computing and Computational Mathematics from Stanford University and his A.B. in Chemistry from Princeton University.