Some thoughts about theoretical (and not only) computer science

In his blog post, Mark C. Wilson very nicely summarizes some concerns about (theoretical, but applied also to general) computer science:

– why people tend to produce too many publications with too few results?

– very weak link between theory and practice

– not much linkage between different areas of CS research

…and so on.


Collaboration between LiquidPub and

We are happy to announce the collaboration between the LiquidPub project and The Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering (ICST). ICST is a professional society that sponsors research, innovation and technology transfer to harness and maximize the benefits and impact of ICT in all sectors of human society. It actively uses Web 2.0 technologies to improve the way science is conducted, in particular, to promote democracy, transparency and quality in science. We are mainly interacting with the team of CreateNet.

You can read more about collaborations on the following links: – describes how LiquidBook and LiquidJournal concepts will be used, in particular, you are able to propose a new liquid book series – describes UCount index, which is a community-defined reputation index that is calculated using the ResEval service of LiquidPub

SURVEY: Scientific Publishing and Web 2.0 – Please participate!

The LiquidPub team has just launched a questionnaire on Scientific Publishing and Web2.0.  The aim of the survey is to gauge the potential acceptance of a Web 2.0 inspired production and dissemination of scientific publications by different scientific communities and by practitioners. The survey is hence tailored for researchers in all domains as well as for people working in the publishing industry.
You can find the survey at the following link:

For us to develop tools that are useful for reseachers from different backgrounds it is essential that we know about the needs and wishes in different academic domains. Therefore your participation in this survey is very much appreciated and will have effects on the tools being developed!

Please note that the survey is  completely anonymous and that the data will be analyzed in an aggregated form only. Results will be disseminated through the project’s website:

For any questions, please feel free to contact Judith and Diego at

Gelee: The Prototype of LiquidPub’s Lifecycle Management Tool is available now!

Nearly everything, from real-world objects (a car, a house) to creative work (web pages, documents, scientific papers, code, etc.) goes through a lifecycle from their creation to their end, whatever this end is. Gelee is the LiquidPub’s online platform for modeling, managing en executing these kind of lifecycles, for artifacts of any kind, available in the web.
Lifecycles allow us to model the state of any object, and if we focus on online resources (e.g., a Google Doc) then we can also automate some lifecycle actions. If we apply Gelee to composite artifacts, such as a set of web services, lifecycles provide for the human-driven orchestration of services. Gelee enables universal resource lifecycle management. We use the terms universal and resource as we want the system to manage whatever can be identified by a URI, regardless of its nature, managing application, owner, or location.
Gelee is an open source tool and its development is ongoing. You can test our prototype and find more information at our website. Currently, we are starting to migrate the project to launchpad,  and if you want to collaborate, visit our developers page to learn how. We will be happy to have you on board! Please contact Cristhian Parra (surname at disi dot unitn dot it) if you have any questions.

New LiquidPub paper: Solving the apparent diversity-accuracy dilemma of recommender systems

Congratulations to the Fribourg team whose paper on Recommender Systems has just been published in PNAS! You can find the abstract as well as the link to the paper below:


Recommender systems use data on past user preferences to predict possible future likes and interests. A key challenge is that while the most useful individual recommendations are to be found among diverse niche objects, the most reliably accurate results are obtained by methods that recommend objects based on user or object similarity. In this paper we introduce a new algorithm specifically to address the challenge of diversity and show how it can be used to resolve this apparent dilemma when combined in an elegant hybrid with an accuracy-focused algorithm. By tuning the hybrid appropriately we are able to obtain, without relying on any semantic or context-specific information, simultaneous gains in both accuracy and diversity of recommendations.

Read more here:

Podcast: Open Access in Philosophy

For those of you who understand German there has been a recent broadcast on “Open Access in Philosophy” at the Vienna Radio Station Radio Orange. Hakan Gürses and Herbert Hrachovec, both from the Department of Philosophy at the University of Vienna, talk about the theoretical basis of „Open Access“ as well as its potential to change philosophy as an academic discipline.

Here you can find the abstract – in German though:

Modelle freien Zugangs zu wissenschaftlichem Wissen gewinnen durch wachsende Möglichkeiten des “Online-Publizierens” an Bedeutung. “Open Access” betrifft jedoch nicht nur die Frage der Urheberschaft, sondern Produktion, Auswahl, Evaluation und Zirkulation wissenschaftlichen Wissens überhaupt. Hakan Gürses spricht mit Herbert Hrachovec über theoretische Grundlagen von „Open Access“ sowie dessen Potenzial, Philosophie als akademische Disziplin zu verändern. Gesendet am 17.02.2010 auf Radio Orange 94.0.

And here is the link to the podcast:[pointer]=0&tx_relecture_pi1[showUid]=1224

On the Epistemic Value of Reputation: The place of ratings and reputational tools in knowledge organization

Gloria Origgi and me have presented a paper at the ISKO 2010 in Rome last week.  Here is a link to the conference on “Paradigms and Conceptual Systems in Knowledge Organization”:
There have been many interesting papers – a list of them can be found here:

I have attached the abstract of our own paper as well as a link to a pre-version of the article on Gloria’s Blog below.


In this paper we want to explore the epistemological relevance and value of reputation understood as evaluative social information. Using reputation to classify and assess an agent or an item can be epistemologically useful in the absence or – as is especially relevant today – overabundance of information. However, in order to be and remain epistemically useful and ethically just it has to be open to constant scrutiny and revision. We will introduce a model of rational consensus as an example for the rational use of reputation for epistemic purpose before analyzing different reputational tools on the Web. We will conclude our paper with a critical comment on the potential danger of using social information to evaluate information and knowledge claims, resp. to warn from epistemic injustices on the Web and elsewhere.

Read more at: