Web Science: How is it different?
Daniel Tunkelang, LinkedIn
Keynote Address at ACM Web Science 2014 Conference
The scientific method of observation, measurement, and experiment may be our greatest achievement as a species. The technological innovation we enjoy today is the product of a culture of systematized scientific experimentation.
But historically scientific experimentation has been expensive. Experiments consumed natural resources, took a long time to conduct, and required even more time and labor to analyze. In order to be productive, scientists have had to factor these costs into their work and to optimize accordingly.
Web science is different. Not, as some have speciously argued, because big data has made the scientific method obsolete. The key difference is that web science has changed the economics of scientific experimentation. Thus, even as web scientists apply the traditional scientific method, they optimize based on very different economics.
In this talk, I'll survey how web science has changed our approach to experimentation, for better and for worse. Specifically, I'll talk about differences in hypothesis generation, offline analysis, and online testing.
Daniel Tunkelang is Head of Query Understanding at LinkedIn, where he previously formed and led the product data science team. LinkedIn search allows members to find people, companies, jobs, groups and other content. His team aims to provide users with the best possible results that satisfy their information needs and help to get insights from professional data. Tunkelang has BS and MS degrees in computer science and math from MIT, and a PhD in computer science from CMU. He co-founded the annual symposium on human-computer interaction and information retrieval (HCIR) and wrote the first book on Faceted Search (Morgan and Claypool 2009). Prior to joining LinkedIn, Tunkelang was Chief Scientist of Endeca (acquired by Oracle in 2011 for $1.1B) and leader of the local search quality team at Google, mapping local businesses to their home pages. He is the co-inventor of 20 patents.