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Department of Computer Science Seminar
2011 Series

Finding and Connecting to the People that Matter the Most through Mobile Social Networks

Dr. Alvin Chin
Nokia Research Center, Beijing

Date: May 5, 2011 (Thursday)
Time: 4:30 - 5:30 pm
Venue: SCT909, Cha Chi Ming Science Tower, Ho Sin Hang Campus

We all are part of a social network, and many if not almost all, have heard of or are a part of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. We use social networks on a daily basis to connect with our family, friends and colleagues, to share content such as photos with others, to gossip, and to obtain real-time up-to-date information of the news and events that are most important to us. Social media pervades the web, and with the increasing number of social networking sites, people and content, we are encountering the same problems with e-mail: namely spam and relevance. How can I use the social network to meet what I want? What content should I be looking at and where, and who are the interesting people that I should connect with to grow my social network? In this talk, I will first explain what I believe are the gaps that currently exist in social networks, what are the current research issues, then introduce some of the research issues that we are exploring such as people recommendations and creating applications that integrate physical and social context to improve social networking using what we call ephemeral social networks. Then, I will talk about two projects that I am currently working on with regards to mobile social networks: finding relevant people through cohesive subgroups analysis and Nokia Find & Connect, a system for finding resources such as meeting rooms, desks and people and then connecting to the people through ephemeral social networks.

Alvin Chin is Senior Researcher at Nokia Research Center, Beijing working in the Mobile Social Networking group, which is part of the Rich Context Modeling research area of Nokia Research Center. His research involves examining how the mobile phone can be used for creating physical proximity social networks to capture and infer context for social activity and collaboration in real physical environments, designing rich user experiences to interact with others in an indoor environment as well as with other social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter, and also designing improved people recommendation systems that take into account physical context. Alvin's research objective is to bring social awareness to pervasive computing systems and applications so that they become easier to use and can assist in our daily lives, by creating a mobile social networking framework and platform. Alvin has Bachelors and Masters degrees in Computer Engineering from the University of Waterloo and a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Toronto. Previous to Nokia Research Center, he worked in industry researching emerging technologies in the wireless and pervasive computing area, especially Bluetooth and 802.11. His current research interests include social networking, computer-supported collaborative work, context-aware computing, and pervasive and ubiquitous computing. Alvin is an active user of social networking and Web 2.0 technologies, and is a member of various program committees such as IEEE SocialCom, ACM Hypertext, CPSCom, UIC/ATC, and MobiWIS. He is also an Associate Editor for the New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia journal. Alvin has published papers in conferences and workshops such as in Hypertext, SocialCom and CSCW, as well as in journals such as New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia and Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. He also has a book chapter in Computational Social Network Analysis, and has presented at both academic and industry events. He can be contacted at , and his web site is at

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