Department of Informatics – DDIS

Dynamic and Distributed Information Systems Group

Wikidata Datathon

14. June 2018 | Suzanne Tolmeijer | Comments Off on Wikidata Datathon

On Saturday June 16 we will host the Wikidata Zurich Datathon at UZH (BIN building):
We will help data providers prepare and publish their data in a Wikidata-friendly way. The statistical offices of the city and the canton of Zurich (Open Data ZH and OGD Kanton ZH), Open Data Thurgau, SBB and PLAZI will be there.
If you would like to learn about Wikidata and help modelling data, transforming data, linking entities, injecting data into Wikidata and setting up local Wikibase repositories, you are welcome to participate.
Registration is free and it can be done here:

Abgelegt unter: Allgemein

Celebrate everyone!

22. May 2018 | Suzanne Tolmeijer | Comments Off on Celebrate everyone!

The 8th of March was International Women’s day, and reason for our male colleagues to show their appreciation for their female colleagues through flowers and sweets. As they said, unfortunately, it is not a given that women have equal rights and opportunities, and it is important to strive for this. A gesture that was much appreciated!

Flowers, sweets, and an equally sweet speech

However, striving for equality implies that when women are celebrated, so should men. For this reason, last Thursday, DDIS-Men’s day was initiated and used the assumption ‘the way to a person’s heart is through the stomach’. It turned out to be a solid premise, and a tradition that will remain at DDIS.

Besides, any reason to have cake is a good one!

Dynamic and Distributed Systems – Men’s cake

Double chocolate cupcakes with extra chocolate, anyone?

Abgelegt unter: Allgemein

First Wikidata Zurich Meetup

1. May 2018 | Suzanne Tolmeijer | Comments Off on First Wikidata Zurich Meetup

Last Wednesday 25.04 our colleague Cristina Sarasua organised the first Wikidata Zurich meet up, together with Wikimedia CH. It took place at Kraftwerk by Impact Hub Zurich. Cristina gave an introduction to the meet up series and the Wikidata ecosystem, and then Jens Ohlig from Wikimedia DE showcased and explained the Wiki and the Query Service of Wikidata. The vibe was great and there were many interesting questions. The next Wikidata Zurich Meetup will be closer to the summer. We look forward to seeing you all there!

Impression of the event and link to materials:

Abgelegt unter: Allgemein

Article accepted at the Journal of CSCW

1. May 2018 | Suzanne Tolmeijer | Comments Off on Article accepted at the Journal of CSCW

Cristina Sarasua, together with her co-authors, Alessandro Checco, Gianluca Demartini, Djellel Difallah, Michael Feldman and Lydia Pintscher, got a paper accepted in the Journal of Computer Supported Cooperative Work. The link to their paper, titled ‘The Evolution of Power and Standard Wikidata Editors: Comparing Editing Behavior over Time to Predict Lifespan and Volume of Edits‘, will be added as soon as the special issue of the journal is published. More information about the paper can be found below.

Knowledge bases are becoming a key asset leveraged for various types of applications on the Web, from search engines presenting `entity cards’ as the result of a query, to the use of structured data of knowledge bases to empower virtual personal assistants. Wikidata is an open general-interest knowledge base that is collaboratively developed and maintained by a community of thousands of volunteers. One of the major challenges faced in such a crowdsourcing project is to attain a high level of editor engagement. In order to intervene and encourage editors to be more committed to editing Wikidata, it is important to be able to predict at an early stage, whether an editor will or not become an engaged editor. In this paper, we investigate this problem and study the evolution that editors with different levels of engagement exhibit in their editing behaviour over time. We measure an editor’s engagement in terms of (i) the volume of edits provided by the editor and (ii) their lifespan (i.,e. the length of time for which an editor is present at Wikidata). The large-scale longitudinal data analysis that we perform covers Wikidata edits over almost 4 years. We monitor evolution in a session-by-session- and monthly-basis, observing the way the participation, the volume and the diversity of edits done by Wikidata editors change. Using the findings in our exploratory analysis, we define and implement prediction models that use the multiple evolution indicators.
Cristina Sarasua, Alessandro Checco, Gianluca Demartini, Djellel Difallah, Michael Feldman and Lydia Pintscher



Abgelegt unter: Publications

Double success at WWW for Tobias Grubenmann

14. March 2018 | Suzanne Tolmeijer | Comments Off on Double success at WWW for Tobias Grubenmann

Good news for PhD student Tobias Grubenmann: not one, but two of his papers got accepted at the next Web Conference in April. This conference, formerly known as the WWW Conference, is a highly regarded conference in the field of the world wide web. Tobias will be there to present ‘Financing the Web of Data with Delayed-Answer Auctions‘, in which he and his colleagues suggest an auction mechanism with delayed answers to a query on the Web of Data, to make sure sponsored data gets privileged over non-sponsored data. With this new concept, a first step is taken towards a free yet financial sustainable Web of Data.

Besides this paper, he will also present his work at the PhD Symposium, where PhD students can present their ongoing research. In his paper, called ‘Monetization Strategies for the Web of Data‘, he introduces his take on how to make the Web of Data sustainable by finding ways to finance the creation and maintenance of content on the Web of Data.


Abgelegt unter: ConferenceDDIS-People

‘Everyone should learn how to deal with data’

7. March 2018 | Suzanne Tolmeijer | Comments Off on ‘Everyone should learn how to deal with data’

For their first news bulletin of 2018, Swiss ICT association Asut interviewed Prof. Bernstein concerning the theme ‘Kids and Codes: education for a digital world’. In this interview, Prof. Bernstein expressed the opinion that in our current information society, it is important for people to learn the skills necessary to deal with digitalisation, such as coding, and more importantly, how to deal with data. To read the entire article, click here (article in German).

Which skills are needed in the 21st century? How should digitisation change our education? Source: Asut



Abgelegt unter: Press

Digital Democracy – Too risky or the chance of a generation?

25. January 2018 | Suzanne Tolmeijer | Comments Off on Digital Democracy – Too risky or the chance of a generation?

In an article on SWI on the risks and chances of a digital democracy, Prof. Dr. Abraham Bernstein gives his view on the matter. He argues in favour of “making citizens aware of political issues online and via smartphones, fostering discussions, getting quick feedback from the people on political issues, and simplifying the collection of signatures”. More about the current state of the debate can be found here.

Democracy and political engagement right in your pocket?


Abgelegt unter: AllgemeinPress

Abraham Bernstein on SRF Radio about digitalisation and politics

14. December 2017 | Suzanne Tolmeijer | Comments Off on Abraham Bernstein on SRF Radio about digitalisation and politics

Increasing digitalisation is happening in many different domains in Switzerland, but politics does not seem to be among them (yet). In radio show ‘Heute Morgen’ on SRF1, different experts were asked about how digitalisation could impact politics in Switzerland. Abraham Bernstein thinks politicians should be more courageous and adapt partially obsolete political processes by using the available technology. More people can be involved in the debates around political issues using tech, an opinion he also expresses with other researchers in their manifesto on digital democracy. The radio fragment can be found here (German audio and text).

What if voting was only one click away? Image Source

Abgelegt unter: Press

Shen Gao successfully defends his thesis

11. December 2017 | Suzanne Tolmeijer | Comments Off on Shen Gao successfully defends his thesis

On the 4th of December, Shen Gao successfully defended his thesis on ‘Efficient Processing and Reasoning of Semantic Streams’. Both his supervisors Prof. Dr. Abraham Bernstein of the University of Zürich and Prof. Dr. Jeff Pan of the University of Aberdeen were present to challenge Shen with questions and ultimately grant him his doctor’s title. As for the future, he has been hired to join Google. We wish him all the best!

Shen presenting his thesis

Dr. Gao!

Abgelegt unter: DDIS-People

NZZ Z-Magazine contribution by Abraham Bernstein

29. November 2017 | Suzanne Tolmeijer | Comments Off on NZZ Z-Magazine contribution by Abraham Bernstein

Prof. Dr. Bernstein was approached by NZZ to give his opinion on the following statement: ‘Algorithmen treffen bessere Entscheidungen’. (Algorithms make better decisions)

As both Professor in Informatics and Director of the Digital Society Initiative, he felt the following way:

“Menschen entscheiden anders als Algorithmen, ihre Stärken und Schwächen unterscheiden sich deshalb. Computer sind schnell und urteilen bei denselben Voraussetzungen immer gleich. Wir Menschen haben verschiedene Ansichten und kommen oft zu unterschiedlichen Schlüssen. Wir lassen uns durch unseren Gemütszustand beeinflussen und müssen motiviert werden. Bei raschen, wohldefinierten Entscheidungen, die ohne Beeinflussung zu fällen sind, haben Computer oft die Oberhand. Wenn es aber um komplexe, vage definierte Fragen geht, dann kommen Menschen – vor allem in Gruppen – meistens zu besseren, originelleren Lösungen. Das Ziel ist deshalb, die Stärken von menschlicher und künstlicher Intelligenz zu kombinieren, um die Gesellschaft weiterzubringen”

For those that do not speak German, Abraham highlights the differences between how humans and computers function, and states that the goal should be to use the strengths of both humans and computers to advance society.

Abgelegt unter: Allgemein