This September the People and Information Research Team (PIReT) made a virtual visit to the 14th edition of the ACM Conference on Recommender Systems (RecSys). This conference is the premier international forum for the presentation of new research results, systems, and techniques in the broad field of recommender systems. Due to the COVID pandemic, the conference was moved from its original location of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to an online format, but that did not prevent the more than 1,000 attendees from engaging with workshops, tutorials, keynotes, and industry and academic presentations related to recommender systems.
The 8 undergraduate and graduate PIReT students who attended the conference (3 of which served as Student Volunteers), along with Dr. Michael Ekstrand and Dr. Sole Pera (PIReT co-directors and faculty in the Department of Computer Science), were able to not only learn from international experts in this area of study but also showcase the active research work conducted at Boise State (PIReT members underlined):
- Computing PhD student Amifa Raj presented her work on measuring the fairness of recommender systems at the 3rd FAccTrec Workshop on Responsible Recommendation, part of the RecSys workshop program. This work also involved two undergraduate students over the summer, funded through the NSF’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program. (Amifa Raj, Connor Wood, Ananda Montoly, and Michael D. Ekstrand. 2020. Comparing Fair Ranking Metrics. Presented at the 3rd FAccTrec Workshop on Responsible Recommendation. arXiv:2009.01311 [cs.IR].)
- Computer science M.S. student Ashlee Milton discussed groundwork related to children and book recommenders in the main conference’s Late-Breaking Results track; this work is a collaboration with faculty and students at both Boise State and Brigham Young University (Ashlee Milton, Levesson Batista, Garrett Allen, Sophie Gao, Yiu-Kai Ng, & Maria Soledad Pera (2020, September). “Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover”: Exploring Book Traits Children Favor. In Fourteenth ACM Conference on Recommender Systems (pp. 669-674).)
Ekstrand and Pera have been active members of the RecSys community for many years, organizing the conference as General Chairs in 2018 and continuing to help lead the community through the conference’s Steering Committee. To further support its mission, this year Ekstrand served as co-chair of the Doctoral Symposium, which supports and mentors the next generation of RecSys researchers, and Sole served as inclusion and accessibility co-chair, as RecSys strives to continue to be an inclusive and welcoming environment for all its members. Pera will be continuing in that role for RecSys 2021 in Amsterdam and has been elected to the conference’s newly-formed Executive Committee.
The work presented was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. 17-51278 and 17-63649. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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Article written by Dr. Sole Pera and Dr. Michael Ekstrand.