Archive for the 'travel' Category

The Web of Data Grows and Grows…

Posted by Knud on September 21st, 2010

Back in September 2009, Bob DuCharme highlighted the growth of the Web of Linked Data by comparing versions of Richard Cyganiak’s LOD cloud diagramme. Now I’m sitting in Chris Bizer’s keynote at FIS2010 and just got to see the latest version of this diagramme. The amount of growth looks amazing; just by looking at it you get the impression that things are really happening now. 24.7 billion triples, 436 million links. Also, what I like about the diagramme is how it uses colour to show the different domains the various datasets belong to.

LOD Cloud, September 2010

The new version of the LOD cloud will be published later today or tomorrow, but you get a sneak peak here first! ;)

Close, but a Cigar Nevertheless

Posted by Knud on May 4th, 2010

I just came back from this year’s Web Science Confernce in Raleigh, NC. The idea of the conference – as of Web Science in general – is to give a holistic, multi-disciplinary view on the Web, and while I’m still not sure if and exactly how this will work like in the end (there was a heated discussion between social and computer scientists in the closing panel), I found the event very interesting and a lot of fun. Of course, the best surprise came right at the end, when our paper on Linked Data Usage (I had reported on early stages of this quite a while ago on this blog) was shortlisted as one of three papers for the best paper award! In the end we didn’t win (the prize went to the paper by Metaxas and Mustafaraj: From Obscurity to Prominence in Minutes: Political Speech and Real-Time Search), but just to get the nomination was pretty awesome. I really didn’t expect this, considering that this paper had been in the pipeline for more that a year now, but never quite made it for any submission deadline, and was therefore delayed time and time again. This is great encouragement for continuing our work in this area!

The Value of Advertising

Posted by admin on November 1st, 2008

So, ISWC2008 is over and I’m back in Galway. What did I learn this year?

  • There are more and more Semantic Web applications out there, and they are getting slicker and more user-friendly every year. The demo and poster session and the Semantic Web challenges clearly showed that. Some highlights were probably paggr (semantic widgets) by Benjamin Nowack and several different apps that make use of mobile technologies (on the iPhone, no less). Incidentally, those two also won the first and second prize in the challenge (Benjamin won this for the second time already, after having won with CONFOTO (seems to be offline at the moment) at ISWC2005.
  • Interestingly for me, a lot of people are working on solutions to make SPARQL-querying more accessible to end users. There is our own work on a SPARQL builder component for Konduit, there is the web-based graphical interface NITELIGHT, and some cool SPARQL extensions by Benjamin Nowack (again!). While those were all presented during the poster session, I also talked to some other people in the coffee breaks who told me about their work in this area – this clearly seems to be an area where a lot of developments and improvements are going to surface soon!
  • OpenCyc – this is of course not really a new development, but after having attended the tutorial of using OpenCyc for the Semantic Web, I’m starting to think that their ontology and knowledge base are, at the very least, a very interesting point of reference for linked open data. Those guys have worked on their ontologies for a long time, and a lot of reasoning technology is already in place. Therefore, if we hook up our linked data to (Open)Cyc terms, the hope is that we can finally have the inferencing magic that people are dreaming of for the Web.
  • And finally, to come to the title of this post. I learned the hard way this year that one cannot put enough effort into advertising one’s work and also oneself. I think Richard and I did a pretty good job with the conference metadata this year, and set up a very nice site with a lot of interesting functionality for developers and conference attendees. Unfortunately, we didn’t spend an equal amount of work on making the people at the conference aware of that, with the result that e.g. way too few knew that there was an option to discuss papers online and make those discussion become part of the metadata about the paper. Also, to my surprise, some people even didn’t seem to know that I had been acting as metadata co-chair at all. Note to self: be more proactive next year.

VoCamp Oxford 2008

Posted by admin on September 30th, 2008

I just came back from the first VoCamp, held at Wolfson College in Oxford. It was the first in what will hopefully become a series of small, hands-on, community-driven events where people get together to build and work on vocabularies and ontologies for the Semantic Web. Peter Mika had a nice blog post recently on why such activity is badly needed.

VoCamp2008 Oxford

The whole event was pretty organic and loosely organised. Compared to big, official events with lots of pretty boring talks (not saying that _all_ talks are always boring), VoCamp was refreshingly fun and engaging. I actually had the feeling that I was doing something useful. Ad-hoc groups formed on the spot, working on varied topics such as an IRC vocabulary, a whiskey ontology, something which could be called a “vocabulary starter pack for SemWeb newbies”, an evidence ontology, bio-med vocabularies, etc. The idea is that we will have a number of VoCamps in rapid succession (the next one will be in November here in Galway), and so, even though probably none of the individual topics will have enourmous impact just now, I think VoCamp can definitely create a lot of momentum over time.

On Thursday, we planned to take the opportunity to join the Oxford SWIG meeting, but unfortunately there didn’t seem to be a lot of Semantic Web interest just that evening in Oxford. However, I did manage to say hello to Kal Ahmed of TM4J (Topic Maps) fame!

Culture and Computer Games 2008

Posted by admin on April 4th, 2008

(Wow, I havn’t been blogging for months…)

Last week I attended really fun and interesting games research workshop at HUMLab, Umeå University in Sweden. Originally, this workshop started out as a get-together of the Truants World of Warcraft guild, but then quickly turned into an actual workshop, with presenters coming from all over Europe and even the US. Since everybody except me came from an arts and social sciences background – games and media researchers, sociologists, history, ethnology – this was an experience which was rather different from the IT conferences I usually attend.

Twinked Soccer?

The schedule was a good mix of lectures and hands-on activities, ranging from Games as Social Systems, Gaming and the Gender Gap, Leadership to a Machinima Workshop. The highlight was probably the presentation of star guest Mia Consalvo, who talked about The Cultural Practices of Cheating in Digital Games. I found all of the lectures really interesting and engaging (a welcome change from some of the dry and boring technical talks I’ve seen elsewhere), even though I must admit that I probably lack a lot of the background knowledge. In revenge, I was able to torture an audience of arts researchers with a really technical talk about a World of Warcraft Mashup, including topics such as the internals of WoW addons and Semantic Web and other Web<->Game mashups, such as an Ultima Online Hack or RDFRoom. Actually, this mashup is something I will also present at the upcoming Semantic Web Scripting Workshop at ESWC2008. More about this soon, stay tuned…

I just have to add that, going very well with the topic of the workshop, the social event was a match of laser tag to the death! Basically a three team Warsong Gulch with laser weapons (And a dinner, of course…)