Decentralized Search

In a world where health data is at the forefront of our digital lives, the need for data privacy and control has become paramount. Today’s Web landscape confines user-generated health data within centralized data silos, limiting individuals’ autonomy and insight into the management and utilization of their own health information. These developments have highlighted the crucial importance of individual sovereignty when it comes to personal health data. This paradigm shift has given rise to new approaches in application development, focusing on personal online data stores known as “pods.” In these systems, individuals have full authority over which applications can access their personal health data and specify the purposes for which such access is granted. However, the journey toward decentralization presents its own set of challenges, particularly when it comes to enabling secure and efficient search and distributed queries over such decentralized platforms

To this end, our workshop seeks to blend research and industry engagement, encouraging active participation from the public. Our primary goal is to collectively explore viable solutions and engage in fruitful discussions that address the challenges of decentralized web search and privacy-preserving information retrieval, especially in the context of health data.  This workshop offers a structured and interactive platform, fostering knowledge exchange and collaboration within the specified timeframe and objectives. We firmly believe that workshops that bridge industry and academia will play a pivotal role in advancing our understanding and development of decentralized online services. Through these collaborative efforts, we aim to drive the creation of new techniques and technologies that can revolutionize the way we store and process our personal (health) data. Ultimately, this research trajectory has the potential to pave the way for innovative approaches that could influence the global adoption of transformative systems, revolutionizing how personal health data is managed and enhancing data sovereignty for individuals. Your participation is key to shaping the future of health data privacy and security. 



  • Participation is free of charge but requires registration. Kindly fill out the form [] to confirm your participation.


  • Mohamed Ragab, University of Southampton 
  • Thanassis Tiropanis, University of Southampton 
  • Helen Oliver, Birkbeck, University of London 
  • Alexandra Poulovassilis, Birkbeck, University of London 
  • Age Chapman, University of Southampton 
  • George Roussos, Birkbeck, University of London 


Day 1 (13-June):  

8:30 AM – 09:00 AM: Registration and Breakfast 

09:00 AM – 09:15 AM: Opening Remarks 

09:15 AM – 09:45 AM: Keynote 1, Prof. Jon Crowcroft, University of Cambridge

09:45 AM- 10:15 AM: Empowering Secure Search on the Decentralized Web 

10:15 AM – 10:45 AM: Coffee Break 

10:45 AM – 11:15 AM: Keynote 2, Prof. Irene Ng, Dataswyft  

11:15 AM – 11:45 AM: Keynote 3, Dr. Esther De Loof, SolidLab Flanders

11.45 AM- 12:25 PM: Research Session 1 (Frontiers in Querying and Decentralized Search), Session Chair (Prof.Alexandra Poulovassilis): 

12:25 PM – 01:35 PM: Lunch 

1:35 PM – 2:20 PM: Keynote 4,  Prof. Mirjam van Reisen, Leiden University & Tilburg University

2:20 PM – 3:00 PM: Research Session 2 (“Privacy over Personal Health Data”), Session Chair (Prof George Roussos):

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Panel Discussion (“Challenges and opportunities of decentralizing personal data”), Moderated by Prof. Age Chapman

4:00 PM – 4:15 PM: Coffee Break 

4:15 PM – 5:00 PM: Breakout Session 

  • Two sessions on (1) the Challenges of decentralization, and (2) the pursuit of key policies needed for data decentralization.

5:00 PM – 5:30 PM: Reporting back from break-out groups & Closing Remarks 

6:00 PM-8:00 PM: Workshop Reception 

  • Institute of Computer Science, Birkbeck, University of London, 5th Floor 

Day 2 (14-June): 

9:00 AM – 09:30 AM: Registration and Breakfast 

09:30 AM – 11:00 AM: Tutorial on SOLID (by Jackson Morgan)

11:00 AM -11:15 AM: Hackathon launch (including quick demo): Let’s make “Populate Personal Datastores” Apps!

11:15 AM: Hackathon activity starts – Coffee available 

1:00 PM – 1:30 PM: Lunch available 

1:30 PM – 2:00 PM: Show and Tell tutorial on Dataswyft eco-system (by Terry Lee)

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Solid & Dataswyft Surgery (seek help for your App) – Coffee available 

3:00 PM – 4:30 PM Hackathon activity continues 

4:30 PM – 5:00 PM: Reports from the Hackathon 

5:00 PM – 5:30 PM: Closing Remarks, Acknowledgments and Next Steps