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CSE Researchers Win Award at VLDB Conference

Friday, October 17, 2014

A team of researchers from the Computer Science and Engineering Department recently won an Excellent Demonstration Award at the 40thInternational Conference on Very Large Data Bases (VLDB) in China

CSE team wins Excellent Paper AwardOnly three of 42 presentations at the conference earned awards.

The paper, entitled “Data In, Fact Out: Automated Monitoring of Facts by FactWatcher,” was written by CSE doctoral students Naeemul Hassan, Afroza Sultana, and Gensheng Zhang, their dissertation advisor Associate Professor Chengkai Li, You Wu and Jun Yang from Duke University, and Cong Yu from Google Research. 

The paper presents FactWatcher, a system developed by the team that helps journalists identify “data-backed, attention-seizing facts” to serve as news leads. The system tracks situational facts, “one-of-the-few” facts, and prominent streaks. Modern journalism increasingly relies on automatic fact-finding to identify newsworthy stories that will attract readers. 

“FactWatcher is an important milestone of the computational journalism project that we have been investigating for the last several years. It is a practical tool that assists journalists in finding newsworthy stories. This is particularly valuable when we consider the diminishing readership and resources that traditional news media is facing,” Li said. “VLDB is one of the most prestigious publication venues in computer science. This year the conference received 115 demonstration paper submissions, out of which 42 were accepted. We are the only team from North America to win the award. This is truly a significant achievement.”

To learn more about the group’s work, visit