From October 19 to 23, 2020, the 29th International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management, CIKM took place in a virtual setting. Prof. Dr. Stefan Dietze from the working group for Data & Knowledge Engineering at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (HHU) was one of the two General Chairs of this series on AI and Data Science topics such as knowledge management, information retrieval and machine learning, which has been taking place since 1992. More than 850 people from 40 different countries participated this year.
The aim of the conference was to identify challenging problems in the development of future knowledge and information systems and to shape future research directions. To this end, high quality applied and theoretical research results were brought together and discussed in a very diverse program consisting of more than 450 presentations, up to eight parallel sessions, and a variety of associated satellite events such as workshops and tutorials. The content focus was on the topics of sustainability, transparency and fairness in the field of artificial intelligence.
"Transparency is currently an important topic in machine learning," explains Prof. Dr. Stefan Dietze. "Many models are trained in such a way that the background of AI decisions cannot be understood. Further challenges are fairness and reproducibility". In order to address these problems, the "Research Track" and the newly introduced "Resource Track" of the conference explicitly presented papers in which not only the methods but also the complete data sets were prepared and presented. The lack of transparency is a technical as well as a political problem: Often, institutions from industry and science do not want or are not able to provide transparency on models and data because it contradicts their corporate policy or because data protection aspects are opposed. "This problem must therefore be tackled both at policy level and with the help of technical approaches," says Dietze.
In addition to the overall management by Prof. Dietze and Prof. Dr. Mathieu d'Aquin from the National University of Ireland in Galway (NUI), Prof. Dr. Stefan Conrad from the HHU Working Group on Databases and Information Systems played a central role in the conference's organizing committee as workshop co-chair.