Michael Ekstrand

2017

Published on 31 Dec 2017 and tagged with academia and career.

2017 is almost over! What's happened?

Quite a few things. Surviving the year feels like an accomplishment, for a bunch of reasons. And I have by no means experienced the worst of it.

But in the spirit of last year, here's a rundown of 2017's win list:

  • Had 2 papers (one full, one short) accepted & published at FLAIRS. I believe this is the first time that I have succeeded in publishing papers with all necessary reproducer scripts in a usable package.

  • Reviewed a lot of papers again. Cut back slightly on that this year, and will be cutting back some more for 2018.

  • Adopted two rabbits, Nyssa and Adric, from the Idaho Humane Society. They have been an incredible amount of fun to have around.

  • Built a platform bed frame, and then learned it was a terrible idea. Learned how to work with pocket-hole screws, though.

  • Served on the Ph.D committee of Felix Sommer, who successfully defended in October.

  • Submitted a full and a short paper to RecSys, both of which were rejected.

  • Took a 2-week trip through Belgium and the Netherlands, meeting with colleagues and giving talks on recommender ethics and my overall research.

  • Traveled back to the Midwest with Jennifer to see our families in the summer.

  • Organized the first workshop on fair recommendation.

  • Accepted an invitation to join the inaugural steering committee of the Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (FAT*).

  • Secured a venue, organizing committee, and other preparatory things to announce RecSys 2018 in Vancouver, BC; co-chairing that is the major service responsibility from last year's list.

  • Attended my first meeting as a member of the RecSys Steering Committee.

  • Published the first collaborative work with Sole Pera & the PIReTs, first as a poster at RecSys and then as a full paper to appear in FAT*. These are also the first publications to come out of my new research agenda on algorithmic fairness in recommender systems.

  • Wrote a position paper on fairness and privacy with another colleague, Hoda Mehrpouyan, and her student that has been accepted for FAT*.

  • Published a position paper on evaluating recommender systems for children at KidRec.

  • Finished rebuilding the Recommender Systems MOOC.

  • Created a new graduate-level Introduction to Data Science class. Its first offering was rough, but I've learned a lot about how to make it work better next time.

  • Participated in the Dagstuhl Perspectives workshop on performance prediction for IR, NLP, and recommender systems.

  • Submitted 2 NSF grants as PI (including a credible attempt at CAREER), 1 NSF grant as a major collaborator, another as a minor collaborator, 2 private-sector grants (1 as lead, 1 as co-PI), and an internal proposal.

  • Won the first competitive research funding for PIReT research, an internal seed grant from the College of Education. Katherine Wright in education led the proposal, and it will fund a collaboration with her, Sole Pera, and myself.

  • Arranged 4 research seminars for our department & Ph.D program.

There are probably a few things I am forgetting, but that covers a lot of it. Some good things happened this dumpster fire of a year.