UbiComp 2013 Social Media ChairMy first interview is with someone many of you might have already interacted – Wilhelm Kleiminger, who is responsible for registrations and the “voice” behind the visas2013@ubicomp.org and registrations2013@ubicomp.org email aliases. Will has been a PhD student in Prof. Mattern’s group at ETH Zurich for 3 years now, after receiving his MEng from Imperial College in 2010.

Will, could you briefly tell us what your responsibilities for UbiComp 2013 are?

Registration and VisaI am responsible for setting up the registration system, regonline.com, and for handling all issues related to the registration process, e.g., Visa letters, payment issues, cancellations or transfers. As you already pointed out, I also run the visas2013@ubicomp.org and registrations2013@ubicomp.org email aliases. Once the conference kicks off in earnest, I will also have to make sure that the technical infrastructure, that is, the WiFi, power plugs, beamers, etc., are working as planned.

You must have gotten quite a handful of email messages then?

Registration and VisaTo be sure. My total count is about 50+ visa requests and some 120+ registration issues so far – in particular during the last few days of the early registration deadline, the pace was frantic!

What were the main challenges of the work so far?

Registration and VisaRegonline is a very powerful piece of software, but it’s also very complex to setup. You don’t want to make a mistake here! Due to the many registration options we offer (full conference, day passes, workshops, doctoral school, etc) and the various registration types (members, non-members, students) I needed to setup over 70+ different registration types and create more than two dozen special codes, which in turn need to be carefully connected to each individual registration type. That certainly keeps me busy!

What about the visa process – what kind of work is involved here?

Registration and VisaFor each visa request, we need to check the eligibility of the requester: if it’s an author, we need to confirm the information in our authors’ list (we have over 250 accepted submissions with more than 500 authors behind them); if the person is not an author, we try to verify the genuine interest of an applicant with the help of the background information we ask for. I prepare the individual visa request letter which confirms the author status and/or the registration and payment. These are then sent out via fax, scanned by email, or by postal mail, depending on the individual Swiss embassy requirements in the applicant’s country (yes, they’re all slightly different)

Sounds like a lot of work indeed. What would you usually do if UbiComp wouldn’t keep you busy?

Registration and VisaMy “day job” is actually research in occupancy prediction, in order to optimize home energy use. I’m really excited that I have a paper in UbiComp, which my co-author Paul Baumann is going to present – look out for “The Influence of Temporal and Spatial Features on the Performance of Next-place Prediction Algorithms” in the program (hint: it’s in the Mobility session on Wednesday afternoon)  🙂

Many thanks for sharing this with us Will, I’ll sure try to catch that session!