We are just a few days away from the 2012 ACM Recommender Systems Conference (#Recsys2012), that this year will take place in Dublin, Ireland. Over the years, Recsys has become my favorite conference because of its unique blend of academic research and industrial applications. If you are not familiar with the conference, you might get a flavor by reading my report from last year. Needless to say that it is also dear to my heart because of my involvement as General Cochair in its 2010 edition in Barcelona.

If you had to mention a single company that is identified with recommender systems and technologies, that would probably be Netflix. The Netflix Prize started a year before the first Recsys conference in Minneapolis, and it impacted Recommender Systems researchers and practitioners in many ways. So, it comes as no surprise that the relation between the conference and Netflix also goes a long way. Netflix has been involved in the conference through the years. And, this time in Dublin is not going to be any different. Not only Netflix is a proud sponsor of the conference, but you will have the chance to listen to presentations and meet some of the people that make the wheels of Netflix recommendations turn. Here are some of the highlights of Netflix’ participation:

  • Both Harald Steck and myself are involved in organizing the workshop on “Recommender Utility Evaluation: Beyond RMSE“. We believe that finding the right evaluation metrics is one of the key issues for recommender systems. This workshop will be a great event to not only discover latest research in the area, but also brainstorm and discuss on the issue of recsys evaluation. Unfortunately, I will miss the workshop because of my traveling schedule. But, Harald will be representing Netflix on the organization side.
  • On that same workshop, you should not miss the keynote by our Director of Innovation Carlos Gomez-Uribe. The talk is entitled “Challenges and Limitations in the Offline and Online Evaluation of Recommender Systems: A Netflix Case Study“. Carlos will give some insights into how we deal with online A/B and offline experimental metrics.
  • On Tuesday, I will be giving a 90 minute tutorial on “Building industrial-scale real-world Recommender Systems“. In this tutorial, I will talk about all those things that matter in a recommender system, and are usually outside of the academic focus. I will describe different ways that recommendations can be presented to the users, evaluation through AB testing, data, and software architectures. I look forward to seeing you all there.

Besides Harald, Carlos and myself, you should also look forward to meeting other members of the personalization team at Netflix. Rex Lam, Justin Basilico, and Kelvin Jiang, will also be attending the conference. We are all looking forward to meeting old and new friends and interacting with the Recsys community during the conference. If you want to make sure we meet, feel free to send me an email (first name initial+last name at netflix.com) or contact through twitter.