Intent Tag Clouds and 6th Sense Devices

25 02 2009

Recently, my research group has been doing some work on Intent Tag Clouds or – in other words – Intent Annotations. The idea of Intent Annotations is not to focus on what a given resource is about, but what goals it refers to/ what goals it helps to achieve / what goals it aspires to.

Here’s an example from a small project a student of mine is working on right now, which shows a comparison of Intent vs. Traditional Tag Clouds generated from speeches given by US presidential candidates in 2008:

Intent Tag Clouds vs. Traditional Tag Clouds, Based on transcripts of political speeches given by the two US presidential candidates in 2008.

Intent Tag Clouds vs. Traditional Tag Clouds, Based on transcripts of political speeches given by the two US presidential candidates in 2008.

On the left, you can see an Intent Tag Cloud describing what goals are referenced in the political speeches given by the candidates, while on the right you can see a traditional tag cloud of the same text, based on word frequency and a simple stop word list. The difference lies mainly in the observation that intent tags reference future states (often in combination with a verb) focusing on aspirations, while traditional tags focus on reflecting content. In cooperation with A. Gordon from USC, we have developed an algorithm for intent annotation based on an existing social-psychological theoretical framework [1] that can produce intent annotations with useful results. However, our approach is a prototype, and some flaws can easily be identified from the intent tag clouds above.

Which brings me to a recent demonstration of Pattie Maes (MIT Media Lab) presenting some of their research on Ambient Intelligence (Now Fluid Interfaces) at TED 2009, particulary their research on portable “sixth sense” devices:

Media Lab Sixth Sense Device

Media Lab Sixth Sense Device

Here’s a link to the full video (it seems that you have to endure a sponsor message in order to watch). Make sure to have a look at min 01:40 – 02:00. Pattie’s group demos a vision of a device that can project relevant information on arbitrary objects in a person’s immediate surroundings. An example that was shown is what I would call a “Human Tag Cloud”: Projecting a tag cloud onto a person’s body while talking to him/her. The idea here is that the Tag Cloud provides some clues about the person’s interest or character during interaction.

While having a traditional tag cloud projected on a person’s t-shirt could definitely spark interesting conversations, such an approach is limited in terms of what it can say about a person (an example from the video would be the projection of the tag “Canon EOS 650” on the person’s T-shirt, it’s not quite clear what that would say about a person). Of course this is by no means a limitation of the 6th sense interface, but imagine how interesting it would be to have an idea about a persons goals, his aspirations and motivations, before entering into a conversation – Knowing that a person cares deeply about the environment or is enthusiastic about charity! Apart from privacy concerns that would certainly have to be dealt with, such technology could prove useful in the formation of real-world groups or the initiation of conversations.

A paper describing the technical details of our approach is currently under review, and we are working on a web interface to produce intent annotations from different textual resources, so stay tuned!

[1] Chulef, A. S., Read, S. J. and Walsh, D. A. (2001), A Hierarchical Taxonomy of Human Goals. In Motivation and Emotion, 25 (3), 191–232, 2001.

CfP’s for Upcoming Information Retrieval events

16 02 2009

I’d like to point you to two upcoming IR events in which I’m involved in:

  • International Workshop on Text-based Information Retrieval (TIR 2009), colocated with DEXA 2009, Deadline for paper submission April 01, 2009, 24:00 (CET)
    this event is co-organized by Benno Stein, and my colleague at the Know-Center Michael Granitzer
  • ACM SIGIR Conference, Posters (SIGIR 2009)
    Posters submission deadline: Feb 23, 2009

CfPs for upcoming events

16 02 2009

This is another upcoming event, organized by my colleague Ralf Klamma from RWTH Aachen:

  • IEEE Workshop on Human Computer Interaction (WoHCI 2009), colocated with COMPSAC 2009, paper submission deadline: March  7, 2009 12 p.m. (CET)

And this event is organized by the Know-Center / Graz University of Technology:

  • 9th International Conference on Knowledge Management and Knowledge Technologies (I-Know’09) 2-4 September 2009, Graz, Austria, Paper Submission Deadline: 9 March 2009

WWW 2009: list of accepted papers

11 02 2009

… is now available online.

Papers I’m particularly interested in include:

  • Jian Hu, Gang Wang, Fred Lochovsky and Zheng Chen. Understanding User’s Query Intent with Wikipedia [PDF download]
  • Xing Yi, Hema Raghavan and Chris Leggetter. Discover Users’ Specific Geo Intention in Web Search [PDF download]
  • Andrei Broder, Peter Ciccolo, Evgeniy Gabrilovich, Vanja Josifovski, Donald Metzler, Lance Riedel and Jeffrey Yuan. Online Expansion of Rare Queries for Sponsored Search [PDF download]
  • Deepayan Chakrabarti, Ravi Kumar and Kunal Punera. Quicklink Selection for Navigational Query Results [PDF download]
  • Elena Zheleva and Lise Getoor. To join or not to join: the illusion of privacy in social networks with mixed public and private user profiles [PDF download]
    the premise of this paper – personal attributes can be predicted by studying our social environment – sounds like a fascinating idea with implications beyond privacy

  • Ben Markines, Ciro Cattuto, Filippo Menczer, Dominik Benz, Andreas Hotho and Gerd Stumme. Emergent Semantics of Social Tagging [PDF download]
  • Ulrik Brandes, Patrick Kenis, Juergen Lerner and Denise van Raaij. Network Analysis of Collaboration Structure in Wikipedia [PDF download]
  • Shilad Sen, Jesse Vig and John Riedl. Tagommenders: Connecting Users to Items through Tags [PDF download]

Update: the full proceedings appear to be online here.