AAAI Spring Symposium

Social Information Processing

March 26-28, 2008, Stanford University, California, USA
Thank you all for making the symposium such a success. We had many interesting talks and more discussions. I look forward to reconvening with this group at future meetings.

Kristina Lerman introducing the symposium.

Invited talk by Bernardo Huberman.

Gustavo presenting his Flickr work.

Gustavo with Kristina (photo courtesy of Gustavo Glusman).

Luc Steels giving his talk (photo courtesy of Gustavo Glusman).


Symposium schedule.

Introduction to the symposium


The label social media has been attached to a quickly growing number of Web sites whose content is primarily user-driven. Examples of these sites include: blogs --- personal online journals that allow users to share their thoughts and receive feedback on them; Wikipedia --- collectively written and edited online encyclopedia; Flickr, and Digg --- Web sites that allow users to share, discuss and rank photos, Web pages and news stories respectively. Other sites (e.g., Amazon's Mechanical Turk) allow users to collaborate to find innovative solutions to hard problems.

In the process of using social media sites, users are adding metadata in the form of:

While each of the metadata types above offers a rich source of evidence, the connections between the metadata, users and content create a treasure trove of rich interlinked data that will revolutionize information processing. We envision that the collective opinions and knowledge generated independently by many users will lead to new solutions to hard information processing problems. New applications enabled by these metadata will include personalized information discovery; applications that exploit the "wisdom of crowds," e.g., emergent semantics and collaborative information evaluation; deeper analysis of community structure to identify trends and experts, and many others we cannot yet imagine.

Social media facilitate new ways of interacting with information --- what we call social information processing. Social information processing allows users to collaborate implicitly to solve problems by leveraging the opinions and expertise of others. For example, in order to find good images on Flickr, the user may check what images a photographer he admires has marked as her favorite. In addition to collaborative problem solving, social information processing may lead to wholly new kinds of knowledge, that emerge from the distributed activities of many users, for example, "folksonomy" arising from the independent tagging activities of many users.

Social media sites allow for new types of signals, or "digital gestures," and use old ones in new ways. Digital gestures, like forwarding, recommending, sharing, tagging, are ephemeral instances of a web of changing relationships between users and information. We are at a point where enough computing power is available to process an increasingly larger number of these signals, which machine learning or other quantitative multidimensional analysis tools can analyze in real-time to present a highly-filtered view of the world to the end user. Such tools can address the ever-increasing noise on the Web at large. Social Information Processing could be considered as a human-centered way of addressing the pervasive and growing noise problem. Machine learning and related methods will be used to synthesize the vast amounts of socially created data in order to produce an adaptive context, or filter, for an individual user's interactions with information.

At a global level, we can see an information ecosystem arising through the interactions among users, as well as between users and information. The structure of the ecosystem gives meaning to content. For example, a community of users interested in a specific topic may emerge over time, and the linkages to users in other communities may give insight into relationships between these topics. Information ecosystems also change in time, reflecting the dynamic nature of human communities themselves. Tracking these changes may yield additional insights into the inter-relationships between users and information.

This is a rich new area of inquiry, potentially drawing on a number of disciplines from within AI as well as outside of it. The symposium is open to researchers from the academia and industry who are interested in the emergent field of social information processing.


Papers on the following topics are encouraged for submission. Research on other topics relevant to social information processing is also welcomed.

Invited Speakers

We are excited to have the following speakers agree to give talks at the symposium


Preliminary schedule of accepted papers. Unless otherwise specified, talks are 20min long with 30min discussion at the end of the session.


Program Committee (preliminary)


Registration is now open. Invited participants should register by Feb 2, 2008. Registration remains open til Leap Day, 2008.

Instructions for Uploading Camera-Ready Papers

Accepted papers will appear in the symposium proceedings, published as AAAI technical reports. Authors are invited to upload camera-ready papers directly to AAAI by January 25, 2008.

The "accepted authors" button on the left hand side will take you to the Publications area of the web ( After reviewing this page, click on "electronic submission form" under Point 5. or "Electronic Submission Instructions" under "Instructions" to access the submission site ( Each of these pages contain important author instructions and guidelines, so please spend a few minutes reviewing these in order to complete your submission properly.

When you are ready to submit your paper, select the "AAAI Spring Symposium Series" option, and you will then be asked to choose a symposium from the list on the submission form. please select
Spring Symposium 6 (SS-06): Social Information Processing

Participants who are unable to use the web-based form should send their abstracts and electronic files to Kristina Lerman

You must complete the AAAI Distribution License form (available from AAAI)
The signed original should be mailed to AAAI, AAAI-08 Symposium Permissions, 445 Burgess Drive, Menlo Park, CA 94025 by January 25. If the original will not reach AAAI by January 25, please also fax a copy to 650-321-4457.

Fill out the A/V form (if necessary) and submit no later than January 25 to

Important dates

  • October 15, 2007: Papers due
  • November 12-15, 2007: Notifications of acceptances mailed out
  • February 8, 2008: Invited participants registration deadline
  • February 29, 2008: Final (open) registration deadline
  • March 26-28, 2008: Spring Symposium Series, Stanford University