Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Aaron Swartz Case Dismissal

Only three days after Aaron Swartz's death on Saturday January 11th his case was dismissed by the prosecutors, Carmen Ortiz and Stephen Heymann. It is remarkable how fast the prosecutors reacted after Aaron Swartz's suicide. Here is the PDF of the document.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Permanent Faculty Positions at NUI Galway with Research in Semantic Web with DERI

The National University of Ireland, Galway has two open permanent
academic faculty positions with teaching
and research commitments which
will support the research agenda of the Digital Enterprise Institute.

This is an opportunity to work with the largest Semantic Web Research Institute
(DERI (http://www.deri.ie) has about 130 people working on the Semantic Web)
and be part of a hub for Web Science in a permanent academic
University position.
The successful candidates will be full faculty members in the College
for Engineering and Informatics of the National University of Ireland, Galway
with all academic rights and obligations including PhD student supervision.

Applicants will be expected to possess:
· A PhD in Computer Science/Engineering, Information
Science/Technology or closely related areas.
· Significant experience of University teaching, excellent
communication skills, and a demonstrable commitment to continuous
improvement in all aspects of teaching and learning.
· An international peer-reviewed track record of publications
in relevant journals and internationally-ranked conferences.
· Demonstrated experience of successful graduate student
supervision at PhD level.
· Demonstrated experience of competing successfully for
national and international research funding.
· A clear vision for how their research can contribute to the
achievement of NUI Galway’s research priorities in Computer Science
and ICT, specifically Web Science, Linked Data and the Semantic Web.
· Ability and commitment to develop collaborative
relationships with other academic staff in related disciplines in the
pursuit of teaching and research objectives.
· Demonstrated experience in working with industry and strong
commitment to future industrial engagements.

Salary is €55,853 p.a. to €73,288 p.a. for new entrants
(€62,059 p.a. to €81,431 p.a. for people already working in the Irish
public sector).

Closing date for receipt of applications is midnight (local time) on
Thursday, 21st June 2012. It will not be possible to consider
applications received after the closing date. Applications should be
sent to nuigposts@publicjobs.ie

For more details please see:

Feel free to contact me regarding questions about DERI and the research in DERI.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Semantic Interlinking of Online Communities

The W3C Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities (SIOC) Ontology Submission has been acknowledged. My greatest hope with the submission is that the specification will show to people what the semantic web is and it not - that it is not some magic, but something grounded, simple and easily deployable which can lead to new ways how data on the web can be used and interconnected - e.g., with the SIOC Explorer. And of course there are commercial opportunities opening up as well, since the SIOC adoption is developing nicely. Thanks to John and Uldis and all the other contributors for the hard work they have put it!

Monday, September 4, 2006

Web 2.0 and SOA

I recently found the article 'Is Web 2.0 The Global SOA?' which creates a linkage between SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) and Web 2.0. The article readily admits that "both Web 2.0 and SOA are already slippery, nebulous concepts", but that nevertheless there are "unmistakable patterns within each that actually are very tightly related, though wrapped in slightly different cloth".

The article does a good job in identifying the common aspects and the differences. Coming from a business perspective, both concepts deal with best practices for building business processes into vast supply chains. In contrast to Web 2.0, SOA has the concept of orchestration - (although mash-ups in Web 2.0 are coming close).

On the other hand, "Web 2.0 embraces people, collaboration, architectures of participation, social mechanisms, folksonomies, real-time feedback, etc. All things that SOA, in its grey, dull, corporate clothes, does not, at least not explicitly."

The article concludes with "Yes, so Web 2.0 is a global SOA, done right for the whole world. It's big, it's everywhere, and it's here today."

A similar article notices a dysfunctional gap between SOA and Web 2.0. This gap can be bridged by making the semantics of it's parts more explicicit, allowing the different parts to interoperate (and also making both concepts less nebulous and slippery). There are currently several efforts to add semantics for SOA and Web 2.0. Efforts like WSMO (Web Services Modeling Ontology) are aiming at adding semantics to SOA, whereas efforts like SIOC (Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities) are adding semantics to Web 2.0.

It will be interesting to watch how the different efforts converge - my expectation is that Semantic Web 2.0 gets more service oriented, whereas the semantic SOA need to get more consumer oriented and lightweight in order to facilitate such a convergence.

It is an interesting space to participate...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Semantic Web 2.0 Tutorial at World Wide Web Conference in Edinburgh

I just got the notification that our tutorial proposal (together with John Breslin) for the World Wide Web Conference 2006 on "Semantic Web 2.0: Creating Social Semantic Information Spaces" has been accepted. The contents of the tutorial will be about Semantic Blogging, Semantic Wikis, Social Semantic Collaborative Filtering and other new approaches related to applying and deploying semantics and social networks for information dissemination and assessment. We will introduce the audience in the state of the art in this area, including the approaches that are developed in the Semantic Web cluster at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute. The tutorial is scheduled for Friday, May 26, 2006 in Edinburgh, at the WWW Conference.

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Social Networks for Organizing Information becomes Mainstream

SNARF, the Social Network and Relationship Finder, developed by Microsoft Research, deploys social network information for organizing information, helping users to organize their email in Outlook. A quote: “The coolest thing to me,’ Brush says, “is the power of collecting and presenting ‘simple information.’ I was surprised and pleased by how much power you can get from simply counting the e-mails you send to people and using that information to organize e-mail for users. Social information is very powerful.” It looks like we are on the right track with NEPOMUK and the Social Semantic Desktop: social networking information is relevant for assessing all information that we get and also send - not only email, but instant messaging, documents, websites, VOIP calls etc. Developing open standards is the challenge in front of of us. FOAF is a beginning, but we need far more: standards and protocols for dissemination of information and documents within social networks, ranking of information etc. Develping these standards is an important aspect of the NEPOMUK project.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Database Community and the Semantic Web

The PODS/SIGMOD/VLDB database community is developing interest in the Semantic Web. Enrico Franconi will give an invited tutorial on the Semantic Web at the PODS 2006 conference. Also the article "From Databases to Dataspaces: A New Abstraction for Information Management" by Michael Franklin, Alon Halevy and David Maier (Sigmod Record, Dec. 2005) contains the following quote in section 5.1 (Relationships to Other Field): "Recent developments in the field of knowledge representation (and the Semantic Web) offer two main benefits as we try to make sense of heterogeneous collections of data in a dataspace: simple but useful formalisms for representing ontologies, and the concept of URI (uniform resource identifiers) as a mechanism for referring to global constants on which there exists some agreement among multiple data providers."

It is nice that these developments are acknowledged in the database community. However, the database community is very heavily invested in the XML stack, and this paper is no exception. So I am curious how the database community is planning to integrate ontologies and URIs into the XML stack and at the same time get global consensus on that integration - when there is already an alternative stack (based on RDF) building on URIs and ontologies. Interestingly enough, query processing and data management questions relating to the RDF stack are so far ignored by the database community (with a few notable exceptions). This leads to the fact that data management solutions including query languages for RDF are mostly developed inside the Semantic Web community without much involvement from database people. But maybe this will change now.

In that respect it is also insightful to read the transcripts of the The Lowell Database Research Self-Assessment Meeting, May 2003, of which conclusions have been recently published in the Communications of the ACM, since it shows the understanding that senior database researchers have of their field in relation to the Semantic Web. Here are some extracts:

  • Bruce Croft - IR & structured data.
    semantic web - "if you made the web a database" - this is make the web into a knowledge base and that won't happen - we've had a debate for decades about manual vs. automatic representations of what documents "mean" and both work better than either one but creating the manual versions is very hard. That's the lesson from the IR work
    go for knowledge or statistics?
  • Ullman - Re semantic web - you talk about semantics but when you have to do something you do syntax. If you take the temperature in Lowell thing you ought to be able just to say "temperature Lowell" - How much more is there to do? Crawlers are bad at this because it is timely. History in Lowell would work better on Google. I’m curious as to what you think is the advantage of focusing on deep understanding rather than giving people tools to use?
  • Widom - When did you add semantic web? I'm not responsible for that.
  • Abiteboul - All this is syntax. Makes Ulman happy; the most fundamental difference from relational DB to web is that you don't know the semantics.

These statments indicate to me that senior database researcher are mostly not interested in the Semantic Web. However, the final report then has the following paragraph (in section 3.11: New User Interfaces):

"Perhaps most interesting is the research opportunities suggested by the term “semantic Web.” While it may be unclear what the concept truly entails, much of the recent work has centered on “ontologies.” An ontology characterizes a field or domain of discourse by identifying concepts and relationships between them, usually in a formal language. We mentioned in Section 2.2 how this work may support information integration, since a fundamental problem in that area is the inability to combine databases that at a deep level are talking about the same thing, but do so in different terminology. Work on ontologies may likewise enable users of databases and other resources to use speech or natural language to query in their own terminology. The database community should be looking for opportunities to exploit these developments in future database management systems."

This paragraph indicates some interest - although this section does not acknowledge that the Semantic Web is build on the RDF stack of technologies and it rather sees the result of the Semantic Web as only relevant for user interfaces.