Friday, November 14, 2008

November Semantic Web Austin Meetup: The Data/Information Integration Aspects of the Semantic Web

Last Semantic Web Austin meetup turned out really well! After the presentation, Roger Nasr told me that he liked the format that I was organizing: presenting other peoples work and slides, and that he wanted to help! Roger attend the JavaOne conference in May and was at Dean Allemang's talk on the Semantic Web. Dean Allemang is the Chief Scientist of TopQuadrant, a company that develops semantic web tools and together with Jim Hendler wrote "Semantic Web for the Working Ontologist: Effective Modelling in RDFS and OWL".

Roger expressed his interest of presenting the data integration aspects of the Semantic Web, inspired by Dean's presentation at JavaOne. Therefore, this Monday, Nov 17, at 6:30pm we will have our next Semantic Web Meetup. It will be at Conjunctured (1309 E. 7th St)

Title: The Data/Information Integration Aspects of the Semantic Web

One aspect of the semantic web that is getting a lot of attention from enterprise IT quarters, is its good fit for tackling the data/information integration issues in that space. In this presentation, Roger will review presentations covering this subject, emphasizing one by Dean Allemang, TopQuadrant's Chief Scientist, earlier this year at JavaOne 2008. Note that Roger's presentation is mostly meant to set the context for a group discussion of these aspects of the semantic web.

Who is Roger Nasr?

Roger started his software career in the mid 1970s, working on operating systems at Digital Equipment Corporation. He later worked on compilers, run time systems, and applications of logic programming-based AI languages. This included a six-year stint at the Austin MCC research consortium, which brought him to Austin in 1985.

Later in his career, Roger got bitten by the startup bug, and hopped around a few companies in that space. In that context, he joined Vignette Corporation, an enterprise content management company, in 1996 as one of its first five founding engineers. In 2002 he retired from Vignette after capping his career there in the role of chief technologist responsible for research projects.

Between 2004 and 2006 he was co-founder and CTO of Content Discovery, Inc, a search technology company that served the litigation digital discovery industry. Roger is currently enjoying retirement, but staying involved by studying and exploring, among others, semantic web technologies and their applications.

See y'all on Monday!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Oct Semantic Web Austin Meetup Summary

Thanks everybody who came out to the Semantic Web Austin meetup. It was held at Conjunctured which was an awesome place to have this meetup. Looking forward to having our future meetups there!

I gave a presentation on Data Portability on the Social Semantic Web. I am no expert on this topic, so I just took the slides of the experts! I want to thank Uldis Bojar and Alexander Passant for letting me use their slides. The slides really say everything that needs to be said, and shows how FOAF and SIOC can solve the Data Portability problem.

But lets be honest. It will never happen this way. And this was the discussion that started at the end of the talk, and that I was of course expecting. What are the insentives for normal users, or big social networks to implement this? Live Journal already does, but so what? This is the famous chicken and egg problem that we have (meaning we as the Semantic Web community): who should start and why? The whole objective of the talk was to let the devlopers and enthusiast know about these existing tools. Chris St. John has already started to experiment with FOAF and XFN, so that is a start.

However, we have to acknowledge that having linked data would be cool! And this will lead me to my next post: Linked Data on the Web of Data -how to do it and -why it is cool!

Cool stuff coming soon!

This is going to be part 1 of several parts. I never had time to blog about our October Semantic Web Austin meetup because I was getting ready for the International Semantic Web Conference where I am right now, in Karlsruhe. Germany.

Tons of things are going on here, so this is my plan: I will try to blog about the meetup first because interesting things came out of that meetup which are now being answered at ISWC. After that post, I will hopefully start blogging every day to offer a short summary of everything that is going on here.

To finish, it seems that the word "ontology" has been transformed to "vocabulary" and "semantic web" is now called "web of data". Are these now official translations that the semantic web community is undertaking?

Hopefully another post tonight, after I get back from drinking german beer and talking about Linked Open Data!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Next Semantic Web Austin meetup: Wed Oct 15

Finally!!!! The next Semantic Web Austin meetup will be this Wednesday October 15 at 6:30pm. It will be at Conjunctured (1309 E. 7th St).

After talking to a lot of people in Austin, I realized that the social media crowd is big! And during these past months, I have personally gotten interested in the social aspect of the Semantic Web, especially data portability. Obviously I am no expert, but I am trying to read and learn about the current Semantic Web technologies that can help solve the data portability problem.

I've decided to title the presentation: "Data Portability on the Social Semantic Web". This presentation is based on another presentation titled "Data Portability with SIOC and FOAF" by Uldis Bojars, Alexandre Passant and John Breslin, highly recognized researchers in the Social Semantic Web community. I will be giving a brief recap on what the Semantic Web is (my personal definition) and explaining what FOAF and SIOC are and how they can help.

I am really excited about our first official meetup. Future meetups will cover other topics presented by others. If everything works out well, our next meeting will about Data Integration with Semantic Web technologies! I'm sure there is going to be a good crowd for that one too!

However, can't wait to see all the interested people this Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Want to know what companies are implementing Semantic Web technologies?

For a while, I have been following David Provost's post on his quest to create a report about industry companies who are using Semantic Web technologies and are on the Semantic Web boat.

And finally it is out! If you want to know how Semantic Web technologies can benefit your company, learn about other experiences, please read David Provost's report: "On The Cusp: A Global Review of the Semantic Web Industry"


Friday, August 22, 2008

Interview: Is the Semantic Web necessary?

I want to thank GeekAustin and Jana Thompson for interviewing me about the necessity of the Semantic Web. I really enjoyed the questions and it made me think about the Semantic Web in its true reality. I would really enjoy your comments on the interview.

Check it out here.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

My article on RDF and Relational Databases in the Talis Nodalities Magazine

This is a big thing for me! My article about RDF and Relational Databases was published in the Nodalities magazine from Talis, "The Magazine of the Semantic Web". I want to invite you all to read the article and I would love to get your comments back.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Somebody just got on the Semantic Web boat: The New York Times

I am impressed! Almost everyday I am reading about big companies and communities that are starting to embrace the Semantic Web. Just found this video where Michael Zimbalist, VP of R&D at The New York Times gets asked about the Semantic Web (min 2:30 of the video). He says "we are very interested [...] in the Semantic Web". Get a sneak preview of what The New York Times is planning to do with the Semantic Web, because "the opportunities are quite vast!"

Friday, August 1, 2008

Predicting the next 5,000 days of the web, a TED Talk

Got a link to this TED talk from @PaulMiller. For a long time, I have been looking for a TED talk that's about Semantic Web. Kevin Kelly gives the talk and gives a great explanation of the future of the web and what the Semantic Web is.

In a nutshell, at the beginning, the internet was just a net: linking computers. We now have a web: linking web pages. What are we moving towards? Kevin Kelly calls it "the one": linking data. And that is what the Semantic Web is about.

Another thing that was very interesting was something Kevin Kelly said about the fax machine. The first guy who bought the fax machine was an idiot, because he had nobody to send a fax too! LOL! But eventually he started to evangelize and more people got fax machines. That is how I sometimes feel in the Austin community. When it comes to me evangelizing about the Semantic Web, it may seem that I am talking to myself, but eventually we all have to get on the Semantic Web boat!

Enjoy the video!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Problems of Social Media/Networks on the Social Web

Just found about Seesmic, and I'm getting really hooked on it. Here is a quick video, where I am asking about problems of social media and social networks on the social web. Thanks to the people how have commented on my previous post. If you are a real social media person, you may be on seesmic and I would love to here your comments about this problem!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Data Portability and the Semantic Web

In the last week, I started emailing back and forth with @michellegreer. After her wuffie blog post, I got in touch with her about social media and stuff, because it is something that is starting to interest me a lot.

At the same time, in the Semantic Web community, the International Semantic Web Conference is coming up and the submission deadlines are around the corner (meaning Friday!). One of the new workshops that are going to take place is "Social Data on the Web", which I am really looking forward to! This workshop puts together my new interest of social media with the love of my research life: Semantic Web.

The last couple of days I started reading about Social Media, Data Portability and the Semantic web and came up on a lot of cool papers. I still of tons of stuff to read, but I am going to recommend one that stands out the most right now: "Data Portability with SIOC and FOAF" (slides of the presentation here). I immediately emailed all this stuff to @michellegreer because I new she was going to be at Social Media Camp Austin, and host a session on Data Portability. (Just this morning we talked about holding the session together, even though I am in Zurich right now. I was able to get my voice across for a couple of minutes, but looking forward to talking more about this at the next Semantic Web Austin meetup.)

Once you understand the interaction between the Semantic Web and Social Networks, you realize that the Semantic Web is THE solution to all this Data Portability problem.

Quoting from the paper:
To better enable a user's access to multiple sites, portability between social media sites is required in terms of (1) identication, personal profiles and friend networks and (2) user's content expressed on each site, whether it is about blog posts, pictures, bookmarks or any type of data. Such portability would allow users to easily exchange content between services, or merge and share their social network between various websites.
So what is FOAF and SIOC?
Two Semantic Web projects SIOC (Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities) and FOAF (Friend of a Friend) can be combined to enable data portability between social media sites:
  • The FOAF vocabulary allows us to represent people and their social networks, providing the social network component of data portability. It can be used in a combination with the the OpenID identity system.
  • The SIOC vocabulary is an open format for expressing information about user-generated content in an interoperable way. It provides the content object component of data portability. The SIOC Types module can be used to further specify different types of Social Web / Web2.0 objects that we may want to describe.
If you read the paper and look at the slides, you will definitely realize how FOAF and SIOC can solve the Data Portability problem.

I still have a lot more reading to do! But more importantly, I would like to know what common social media users think about the current problems of social network, social media, etc. I would really appreciate your comments.

In a couple of weeks, we will be hosting our next Semantic Web Austin meeting and this will be our first topic! So hopefully I can get a lot of feedback about problems the common users see in the social media world, and see if/how the Semantic Web can help.

Monday, July 28, 2008

BBC Music just got on the Semantic Web boat!

Last week I wrote about how Crunchbase data is now in Semantic Web format as Linked Data. This week it is BBC Music! On one of the developers blog, they posted the news.

Enough said! Just read that post! So glad that the Semantic Web is becoming a reality!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What do the Semantic Web and Crunchbase have in common?

Last week Crunchbase announced the release of their API. Austin Startup is starting to use it!But more interesting, is the Semantic Web side of it.

Even though I don't know him personally (but I follow him on twitter), Benjamin Nowack is a true Semantic Web evangelist. He is a semantic web developer and runs a web firm calles Semsol. He has developed really cool Semantic Web framework over Apache and PHP. So for all you php developers who are interested in getting on the Semantic Web boat, this is a company that you guys have to check out!

But going back to Crunchbase and the Semantic Web. Last week, I saw Benjamin's tweet that he was starting to play with Crunchbase API and was going to start creating a SPARQL interface. In less than 3 days, Benjamin organized a how Semantic Web portal for accessing Crunchbase data in RDF: Semantic CrunchBase. I am amazed on how somebody so passionate can get stuff done so quickly and start exposing data into the Semantic Web.

What I really like is CrunchBase's response on twitter: "much props Ben. looking really good so far. Maybe we should look into this whole 'semantic web' thing :) keep us updated". You know what CrunchBase, you should definitely get on the Semantic Web boat! And not only you, but everybody else!

Hopefully very soon we will see a cloud in the Open Link Data that belongs to CrunchBase. And then all blogs that show info from CrunchBase (like AustinStartup) can also get interested in getting their data on the Semantic Web.

Once again, this reminds me of something important that the Semantic Web community needs to do: offer easy and straightforward ways to export data from the "web2.0" onto the "web3.0" in RDF format. Next time somebody like CrunchBase comes along, they can create their own SPARQL interfaces and extract RDF data easily, without the need of somebody like Benjamin (no offense at all! On the contrary... your work is brillant, but you will not always be available to create SPARQL interfaces for everybody... or will you?)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Semantic Web in Costa Rica and Spain

I just realized that blogging is a hard thing to keep up with. So a short summary on what I have been up to.

Before the Semantic Web Austin launch party, I was in Costa Rica at a Workshop for biologist and computer scientist, acting as a Semantic Web evangelist. This is a great community that can really benefit of Semantic Web technologies, because they need to integrate their data.

After Costa Rica, I went back to Austin to be at our launch which was a huge success. Many people blogged about it and now the LinkedIn group has more than 50 members. We are planning to have a first meeting in mid August at the Conjunctured space (congrats you guys!!!)

Now I am in Europe till mid August and just came back from the Summer School of Semantic Web and Ontology Engineering. This was an incredible experience because I was with the gods and goddesses of the Semantic Web. Made excellent contacts but specially realized that all the theoretical work is done in Europe and some of the commercial work is done in the US (Twine, Powerser, PeoplePad, etc..). Semantic Web research is not being funded by US universities, partially because DARPA has realized that the Europeans are doing everything... so why should we spend money on the same thing. Lets hope that with this new administation, things are going to change.

Anyways, I am promising myself that I am going to take 20 min of my time twice a week to sit down and write, and not wait a month and a half for the next post.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

GeekAustin hosts the Semantic Web Austin Launch Party June 17th

It's official! We are starting our official monthly Semantic Web meetings. As described in my previous post, Lynn Bender from GeekAustin realized a common denominator between the techie Austinites: Semantic Web. Therefore GeekAustin will hosts the Semantic Web Austin Launch Party June 17th at Union Park. Keep post for new updates!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Get on the Semantic Web Boat

All developers out there can start talking the Semantic Web language. In the last couple of weeks, I have been trying to get the top applications that the Semantic Web community is putting out there so people can start using. This is just a brief overview of what is out there, and it is up to you guys to start putting this in your websites, blogs, etc.

Remember that Yahoo announcement about their involvement in the Semantic Web? People have been expecting a killer app (maybe Twine?? ) But Yahoo said "Without a killer semantic web app for consumers, site owners have been reluctant to support standards like RDF, or even microformats. We believe that app can be web search." So if this is becoming the new trend of search, shouldn't the SEO people be concerned? Digg is on the Semantic Web boat by adopting RDFa in all there content.

But what is RDFa? Check out RDF first. Its the Semantic Web "data language" where all data is represented in a triple format, just like an English sentence: Subject-Predicate-Object, or for all you CS: its a labeled graph. So RDFa is a way of getting RDF content inside your HTML, XHTML and XML documents.

Anyways.. back to the SEO. Dapper is a new service that can "semantify" your website. With Dapper, you can create "dapps" to help create RDFa for your website. Now, all your content in your website will have semantic meaning and relationship, and will be accessible by semantic search engines. Digg is already doing this, so you guys don't want to be left behind. Get on the boat!

But what happens if my website is database-generated and you don't have a static html page to embed RDFa? Triplify can help. Initially for PHP, it is a small plugin that generates Semantic Web content (RDF). Another application is OpenCalais which automatically creates rich semantic metadata for the content you submit.

Three examples to get your web content on the Semantic Web. People, please!!! Don't hesitate. You have to get on the Semantic Web boat!

Well Austinites... it seems that most of you are already interested in RSS, RDF and Microformats. Lynn Bender from is organizing a series of events and he wants the first one to be about the Semantic Web! Why, I asked him. He said "I went through my database to find the largest group(s) of people whose topics of interest intersect and what came up was InfoArch, knowledge managment, rss/rdf/microformats anyway, I was looking for a one or two word locus that would attract those folks, and to a limited extent, they seem to have in common -- the semantic web."

I am really excited now. I just bought and and with John De Oliveira from Cyc Foundation, we are starting to organize the official monthly Semantic Web meeting in Austin. Together with Lynn, we will have our official kick-off next month. So keep your ears open!

In conclusion, your homework: Get on board the Semantic Web boat and come with questions for next month's Semantic Web Meeting. It's going to be a blast!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Semantic Web Meeting on Tuesday May 13

Cycorp and the Cyc Foundation organize a monthly Semantic meeting. This month, the Semantic meeting will be on Tuesday May 13 at 7pm at the Cycorp Headquarters. Last month, John Erik Metcalf mentioned that he wanted to get more entrepreneurs together so they could learn more about the Semantic Web and ask "stupid questions" about it. Well, this is your chance!

Please RSVP here if you are planning to attend and come with questions!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Semantic Web in the Startup School

Startup School was excellent! I met Paul Graham and Peter Norvig personally, the two people I was mostly looking forward to meet and ask them questions. What kind of questions? Well, you guessed it. About the Semantic Web.

Paul Graham said: "Semantic Web is a red flag". I was shocked! "Explain what you are doing. Don't say it is the Semantic Web. Once your application is ready, then say its part of the Semantic Web", said Graham. And he is totally right. People have gone on saying what is the Semantic Web, and haven't been able to explain it very well. The best way to explain anything is with an example, so we are still waiting for the killer app. Kingsley Idehen, from OpenLink Software, had a very good response. The lesson: start building Semantic Web apps fast. Start now! I already started!

The climax of the day was Peter Norvig. I summarize his talk in the following: use existing data to do better. He talked about improving image search with existing data on the web and continued by explaining a text segmentation problem. One example, where existing data could be useful, is to create a set of words, given a couple of words as input. For example, given lion, tiger, bear, you could search the web and get related words like elephant, monkey (other animals), but the words wood, musical, toddler would appear. Why? In my words, its the syntactic problem of the Web. If you have a text about animals in a musical wood box for toddlers, well obviously these words may have some "syntactic" relationship with animals. We can assume that there is a relationship, but actually, semantically, there is no relationship.

Please check his slides and videos, to view his talk. But the best thing, is that I was able to make a question. To hear my question and his answer, look for 20:55 or -5:01. He said, "there are already a lot of semantics in the web", and then points to the examples of his talk. I completely disagree! That is an example of the syntactic web, and not the semantic web. You can extract semantics out of the syntax, but that doesn't mean that it is accurate. Peter Norvig is known for being against the Semantic Web, well, that is what most people consider. This post here and here will explain.

But to my surprise, he actually did give Semantic Web the credit it deserves. He considered "great that communities can get together and agree in biogenomics area. That is a good model. Its a community that has a need." He considers that academic and friendly instead of competitive and "those kinds of attributes, I think that will coalesce together and grow. But for the world as a whole, you wont necessary see that." Aha! So it will work for the bio-community (as it is now) but for the WWW, it won't?

He was about to finish answering my question, but I was able to ask him about the Linked Data. He answered saying that "we need more flexible ways to link data." And I agree with him completely! But that is what the research community is working on. Personally, I work on integrating the data in relational databases (that are the biggest source of data on the WWW) with the Semantic Web automatically. Norvig continued saying that the "Semantic Web is a treaty between parties to say we are going to agree on this particular ontology. The more treaties, the better. You shouldnt expect everbody to lay down their arms on this." In my opinion the linked data image is a demonstration that more and more people are getting together.

So is Google interested in the Semantic Web? "We are interested", said Norvig. He continued, "we do want to support it and see where it goes, so far, we don't see it making an impact."

After his presentation, I was able to talk to him personally. I told him that before he seemed that he was against it, but now, he is even kind of for it. He said. "eehhh". I will take that as a "we are secretly doing work on the Semantic Web, but not publicizing anything until we have good results."

The cool thing was that everybody in the auditorium now new that I was a Semantic Web guy, so immediately I was able to meet the people I was looking forward to meet: people interested in Semantic Web. Unfortunately it was a small number, but at least it wasn't zero. I was glad to finally meet somebody from TopQuadrant, which was Keefe. I also met Waleed Abdulla from Zooov, which was one of the persons who initially started to work on SPARQL four years ago. And it was great to meet people interested in the Semantic Web like Daniel from Biographicon and Sebastian from Intalio, and how it can help their ideas and business.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Austin Tech Happy Hour: a review

I just got back from the Austin Tech Happy Hour. I've been wanting to go to this for a while and I'm glad I made it this time. I also convinced JohnDeo to go at the last moment. I went with my UT friends Adam Nirav and Ronak. When I got there, I met Kristine (or @gloriakt in twitter). She is one the the techy girls in Austin. Its great to have boys and GIRLS interested in technology!

The first people I bumped into was the qcue team. They are longhorns!!! If you haven't heard about them, they are a very promising startup that helps promote price live events and concerts and resell tickets, and give death to scalpers! They were the winners of the 2008 UT Moot Corp Competition. One of them is a PhD in CS and the other one is a PhD in Economics. As JohnDeo said, CS and Economics together... they are going to take over the world.

Later JohnDeo and I sat down and started to talk about our favorite thing: the Semantic Web! I was mentioning him the new venture I am working with: This site will provide Austinites a search of live music experience using latest Semantic Web technologies. And again... this deserves another post.

During our conversation, we started to talk to Anne Pritchard, who is a communications expert and helps companies be more productive. With our Semantic Web vibe, we decided to explain her what the Semantic Web. To be honest, we weren't that successful, but Anne very kindly gave us some tips. She told us that we should be able to pitch the idea in 45 seconds with maximum 2 examples. And again... my next post will be about how can you explain the Semantic Web in 45 seconds. Anyways, we tried doing this all night and I have to say that I did get better at it (with a couple of beers). I then got the opportunity to take with Brad Davis, a Global IT Professional. In 45 seconds, I got him intriguied about the Semantic Web and how it can help the data integration problem. I am sure he is googling about Semantic Web right now as you read!

As always, I had a great time with Casey Grooms, JohnDeo, John Erik and with Cesar T (who I finally met!). JohnDeo came up with a clustering theorem for networking that was even proved. If a group of people are talking in a closed circle, nobody will come up to you to be part of the conversation. But if you leave an open space, somebody will! We put the theorem to test, and it worked twice! This is what geeks do at bars!

Great night! Met awesome people. There is a StartupDrinks this Sunday but unfortunately I will not be there because I will be at the Startup School in Stanford. Conclusions for the night? We need to figure out how to explain what the Semantic Web is, in 45 seconds.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What is the Semantic Web?

I just finished working on a poster about my research for the Research Forum at UT. The public will be the College of Natural Sciences in general, so it wasn't worth getting to technical. I knew this was my opportunity to do a great "What is the Semantic Web" poster, and then on the side talk about my research. And now, I have the opportunity to share with y'all what the Semantic Web is, or at least, what I consider the Semantic Web to be. I would really appreciate your comments!

Obviously, we need a definition and this is mine: The Semantic Web is an extension of the current web which provides a common framework that allows effective discovery, integration and reuse of data in which the semantics of the data is defined, making it possible for the web to understand the request of people and machines to use the data.

So what next? Oh... that famous Semantic Web Layer Cake. As long as you know what URI, XML, you can then research what RDF, RDFS and OWL is and even understand it! If not, I'll explain it very briefly.

A URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) is a compact string of characters used to identify a name or a resource. A URL ( is a URI. When I met Tim Berners-Lee, he specifically said that URL should not be used anymore. Instead, everybody should use URI. If you have a problem with that, you should take it up with him. XML (eXtensible Markup Language) is like HTML, but you can also make up your own tags.

RDF, RDFS and OWL deserve their own post, and that will happen in the future (maybe next week). Briefly RDF is a framework for describing resources. What??? RDF represents triples. What??? If you the sentence "Juan is a Student", this represents a subject-predicate-object, and that is the triple that RDF represents. RDFS and OWL are ontology languages. So what is an ontology? The best definition I have seen is a "specification of a conceptualization". In other words, it represents the concepts within a specific domain and the relationship between the concepts.

Well, now that I kind of explained the layer cake, let me go on. In this poster I wanted to show some how what the Semantic Web is going to be. So obviously the terms Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 came to mind. The three-tier architecture represents the Web 2.0 while the Semantic Web will be part of the Web 3.0. I don't believe that it is the Web 3.0 There are a lot of definitions of what Web 3.0 and that also deserves another post. But with that in mind, I thought of this image:

Somehow what I wanted to do explain that the current three tier architecture that supports the Web 2.0 should be integrated with the Semantic Web. The problem is that the layer cake is very overwhelming and so complicated to explain. The interesting thing is that the three-tier architecture is very similar to the following...

If you compare the bottom layer of both images, you can see that the three-tier architecture only has databases while the Semantic Web has a web of data (html, xml, relational databases, etc). In the application layer, RDF and the ontologies need to integrated with the application layer of the three-tier architecture. Applications will use SPARQL and inference engines to do the sweet stuff of the Semantic Web. The red stuff shows my research interest. There is no standard way of integrating relational database content with the Semantic Web, but again, that is for another post.

Another way to explain how the Web 2.0 should be "transformed" to the "Web 3.0" (or Semantic Web)...

And this is left for an open discussion.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

My first post

My name is Juan Sequeda and I consider myself a Semantic Web evangelist. I was first exposed to the Semantic Web through Oscar Corcho while I was studying at the Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia, South America. I then transfered to UT Austin to finish my undergrad in Computer Sciences in the Fall of 2006. I will be graduating in exactly 1 month and then starting my Ph.D here at UT Austin under the supervision of Daniel Miranker. My current research area is integration of relational database and ontologies for the Semantic Web.

So enough about me and lets cut to the chase. In the last couple of weeks, I have realized the interest about Semantic Web in the Austin tech community. It all started when I met Casey Grooms and his start-up idea. Through him, I got in contact with several more entrepeneurs in Austin including John Erik Metcalf and John De Oliveria. John Erik is leading a co-working company in Austin called Conjunctured which will finally allow techy and entrepreneurs in Austin get together in a common place and "exercise their minds". JohnDeo is the founder of Cyc Foundation, which gives access to the Cyc Knowledge Base. Anyways, a couple of weeks ago I got an email about a Semantic meetup. I was excited because I was looking forward to meet more people in Austin who are interested in Semantics. At that meeting JohnDeo told us about Cyc's monthly meetup to discuss the Semantic Web. 

Last week several of us got together at the Cyc headquarters and had a teleconference with Mike Bergman, the CEO of Zitgist who showed us is UMBEL project. At the beginning, this was hard to understand, but after looking at a visual example, it all came together. UMBEL can be considered the way to create an upper ontology for all the ontologies used in the Linked Data cloud. And the cool thing, is that it uses Cyc's Knowledge Base. Therefore, Austin will be the center of a lot of new and cool Semantic Web applications. 

At the end of our meeting, John Erik announced that he wanted to get all the young entrepreneurs together to explain them what the Semantic Web is and what it can accomplish. I truly believe this is the start of something big in Austin.

Therefore I will keep up to date any events that we will be having in Austin, and also share interesting links, ideas, projects about the Semantic Web.

lets start...