Client: Microsoft & The Association for Computing Machinery

Type of event: Residential conference with reception and banquet

Group size: 380

Venues: The Guildhall, Cambridge; Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology; and Ely Cathedral

Date: 6th-10th February 2017

Credit Nicolas Rassam


Web Search and Data Mining (WSDM) is an annual international conference and in 2017 held its tenth event, the second largest ever held and the largest outside the US. A total of 380 delegates attended from more than 30 countries, mainly the UK, USA, Australia, China, Japan and different parts of Europe.

Cambridge was chosen because of the number of high-tech companies and universities in the area and nearby in London.


Milad Shokouhi, from Microsoft who was General Co-Chair of the Organizing Committee said: “We needed the main venue to accommodate up to 200-500 people for the conference, in addition to two other venues which could cater for around 300 for a drinks reception and conference banquet. Proximity to good hotels and student accommodation was also key, as was AV support for all sessions.

“Our packed programme included three keynote addresses, four invited talks, paper presentations, five workshops, three tutorials, a doctoral consortium and a Start-Up Day.

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Drinks Reception


Overall, everything went well and the Conference teams at all the venues were wonderful. We had our reception at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge which was founded in 1884 and has one of the most important collections of its kind in the UK. Our conference banquet was held at Ely Cathedral.

“We found out about Meet Cambridge online and were really pleased with the help they gave us both before and throughout the conference. It was nice to see them tweeting about our event which made everyone feel very welcome. Also, we got hundreds of Cambridge maps that we distributed among our delegates, as well as many useful tips and contacts from them.


“All in all, everything was positive. It was great that our main conference venue was within walking distance to restaurants, pubs and hotels which made things really easy for our delegates.

“An added bonus was that the event led to us holding a Start-Up day during which many local companies came and demoed their work. We also had several high-tech companies such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft sponsoring the conference and actively recruiting at their booths.”

Image credits: Nicolas Rassam (Guildhalls), WSDM (Guildhalls), Ely Cathedral (Ely Cathedral) and Damien Vickers Photography (Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology)