Responsible use of Data key theme in successful SIGMOD/PODS 2019 Amsterdam

Drawing over 1000 visitors and record industry sponsorship, this year’s edition of the ACM SIGMOD/PODS conference turned Amsterdam into the world’s hotspot for data management research. The week-long conference on one evening also featured the biggest ever Amsterdam Data Science (ADS) meetup for local data scientists.

Publication date: 25-07-2019

Drawing over 1000 visitors and record industry sponsorship, this year’s edition of the ACM SIGMOD/PODS conference turned Amsterdam into the world’s hotspot for data management research. The week-long conference on one evening also featured the biggest ever Amsterdam Data Science (ADS) meetup for local data scientists. The conference was locally organized by the Dutch data science research community, led by CWI researchers from the Database Architectures research group.

‘This year’s conference was really high quality’, says CWI researcher Peter Boncz, who together with Stefan Manegold and Hannes Mühleisen took the lead in organizing SIGMOD/PODS 2019 in Amsterdam, ‘I specifically recommend the keynotes on differential privacy and responsible data science, as well as the tutorial on algorithmic fairness’. The SIGMOD Best Paper Award was won by an article by University of Washington on bias in data, which described new methods to define and improve fairness in machine learning systems.

ADS Meetup
The conference also included a special one evening event, jointly set up with Amsterdam Data Science (ADS). Prominent researchers (principle scientist Luna Dong from Amazon, and prof. Matei Zaharia from Stanford), speaking about machine learning infrastructures and distilling knowledge from raw data, drew an audience of more than 500, making this the largest ever ADS meetup. This meetup had two goals: to highlight top data research for the local data scientist community, and to show the data management research community that Amsterdam and The Netherlands are hot-spots for data science.

Backdrop of art and historic architecture
The conference was held in Amsterdam’s iconic former commodity exchange Beurs van Berlage, and the opening reception took place in the Van Gogh Museum. ‘The backdrop of art and historic architecture definitely contributed to the ambience of the conference’, says Boncz. ‘we contrasted that with a dinner-festival at the urban-industrial Noorderlicht cafe. It may have produced the coolest SIGMOD/PODS ever’.

Data science hub
This year’s edition of SIGMOD/PODS was the second-largest in attendance, only little behind the 2016 edition which was held in San Francisco. Apart from more than 1050 visitors, record sponsorship revenue kept the registration fee reasonable, coming from large tech companies, but also local players such as Elsevier, MonetDB and Databricks. Boncz: ‘we think events like this will strengthen the emerging importance of Amsterdam as a data science hub.’

Dutch research community
‘Organizing a conference with such high standards was a true team effort’, says Boncz. It involved the entire Dutch community of data management research, including George Fletcher (Eindhoven University of Technology), Asterios Katsifodimos (Delft University of Technology), and Maurice van Keulen (University of Twente) and their students.



Relive the conference
All presentations of SIGMOD/PODS 2019 were live-streamed in HD, thanks to the CONREC conference recording service. If you missed SIGMOD/PODS 2019 or want to relive it, please follow the video links below.

More information
SIGMOD/PODS: https://sigmod2019.org/
CONREC video portal: https://av.tib.eu/series/667/sigmod+2019
Video highlights: http://bit.ly/2NRpZvC
Pictures: https://www.icloud.com/sharedalbum/nl-nl/#B0T532ODW4qTZy
Paul Groth’s (Uva) report: https://thinklinks.wordpress.com/2019/07/15/trip-report-sigmod-pods-2019
ADS event: https://www.cwi.nl/events/2019/special-meetup-ads-meets-sigmod