Monday, September 28, 2009

Franz's AllegroGraph at Semantic Web Austin

On Saturday September 19, we had a terrific tutorial with Jans Aasman from Franz. He introduced their triplestore AllegroGraph. Personally, I was really excited about this tutorial and it lived up to all my expectations! Approximately 15 people attended from entrepreneurs, ATI startups, IBM, Hoovers and independent consultants. It was great to see this crowd excited about the real use of Semantic technologies. It is not a myth anymore! AllegroGraph showed us that it does things such as social network analysis, geo and temporal query that other databases cannot do.

Jans was a terrific presenter and everybody left with much more understanding of the role of RDF and triple stores in the real world! I already know that members of the Semantic Web Austin community are going to use AllegroGraph for their projects and companies!

We will be hosting another tutorial soon!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Semantic Web Panels at SXSW 2010

This past SXSW, I was amazed about the lack of panels on Semantic Web. So this year I thought, why not make sure that a lot of high quality panels on the Semantic Web are proposed. A month ago, I sent out emails to key people in the Semantic Web community in order to help submit panel proposals for SXSW. And it was a success because we were able to submit 12 panels (and we organized this in less than 48 hours!). I also realized that there are 7 panels on Semantic Web.

Hopefully the community will realize that it is important to start learning more about Semantic Web technologies and we get a lot of votes on these panels. Remember that 30% of the final decision are based on the votes! If we get a lot of votes, maybe we could lobby for a Semantic Web track at SXSW! Why not?

I want to personally thank Ian Davis, Andraz Tori, John De Oliveira, Tom Heath, Leigh Dodds, Peter Mika and Nik Daftary for helping me organize the submission of all these panels.

So now we ask for your help! Please go and vote for these panels!!!!!!!!!!!

Set your data free
Ian Davis, CTO - Talis
Data isn't like content: it's infinitely remixable, machines churn through it by the bucketload and it isn't covered by copyright. But there are other rights that get in the way of reuse. This panel will tackle how we can free our data more effectively.

Semantic Tagging and Blogging
Andraz Tori, CTO - Zemanta
How can bloggers and social media websites take benefit of the rise of the Semantic Web? Efforts such as CommonTag and Rich Snippets are offering bloggers new options to add semantics to their blogs. This panel will discuss how bloggers and social media sites can leverage semantic tagging for their benefit.

What the hell is the Semantic Web?
Juan Sequeda, Co-Founder - Semantic Web Austin
In the past year, the Semantic Web has gained a lot of publicity. However, many may still not understand what the Semantic Web is. This panel of experts will address the myths, realities and all the open issues that the public may have about the Semantic Web

The Semantic City
John De Oliveira, Co-Founder - Semantic Web Austin
Imagine a metropolitan area with highly coordinated residents, where rich online and real world experiences amplified each other. Economic and social improvement would dramatically outpace other cities. This is the vision of Semantic Web Austin, the most active and well-funded Semantic Web organization in the United States.

Bin the Browser? Interacting with Linked Data
Tom Heath, Researcher – Talis
In among the Web of documents we've built a Web of Linked Data. It's huge, it's heterogeneous and it's here. So what are we going to do with it? Is the search/browse paradigm the right basis for Linked Data applications, or are we selling ourselves short?

Big Data, Big Dream
Juan Sequeda, PhD Student - University of Texas at Austin
How can we have applications that can scale with large amounts of data? Are relational databases sufficient? What other technologies are out there that can scale? This panel will talk about existing technologies that manage large amounts of data.

I Have Never Believed in the Semantic Web
Leigh Dodds, Program Manager – Talis
It turns out a six-year old can understand the basic idea of the Semantic Web. So why do so many developers think it's so complicated? If you're a skeptic then come and have your assumptions challenged. Find out how the web of data is being built today.

Metadata Wars: Untangling Microformats, RDFa and Microdata
John de Oliveira, Co-Founder - Semantic Web Austin
Microformats, RDFa and microdata are largely incompatible ways of annotating HTML documents with metadata. What is the difference and why do we need them all? Organizations such as Google, The Associated Press and Yahoo all have their opinions about metadata. Where is this all going?

Semantic Search: Life Beyond Ten Blue Links
Peter Mika, Yahoo!
Ten blue links with a title and an abstract have dominated the lives of search users for over a decade now. Semantic technologies have the potential to change the face of search through a deeper understanding of the needs of users and the content on the Web. Will it be a revolution in search?

Semantic Search: Off to a Good Start
Peter Mika, Yahoo!
Pursued by a number of search companies both large and small, semantic search turned into one of the hottest trends in search innovation. What's the benefit for publishers, end-users and developers? This presentation examines the case for semantic search.

Semantic Music
Yves Raimond, BBC
By publishing music information on the web as Linked Data, artists ensure that their material can be reused and discovered in new ways. Sites such as BBC Music and Myspace have been publishing structured web data enabling a wide range of innovative third party applications and mashups.

Making Dollars And Sense Out Of The Semantic Web
Nik Daftary, CEO – Turn2Live
With the advent of the semantic web, powerful new ways to consume and disseminate information will emerge. Information that once proved difficult to contextualize will now become commonly easy. So, what does that mean for consumers? In this panel discussion, we will cover what the Semantic web means to you as well as how it will change online advertising as we know it today.

Other Semantic Web related panels:

HTML5: Tales from the Development Trenches

Semantic Web From FAIL To Flourish In 2 Short Years

Beyond Algorithms: Search and the Semantic Web

Scaling the Semantic Web

Content & Semantics: The Wild, Wild Web of Data

Go Big or Go Home: Scaling Semantic Apps

Discovery Identity: API’s of the Semantic Web

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Update and Semantic Web Austin's next event: Semantic Search in Practice

I should start blogging again! Just a quick update. I am currently a researcher at the Ontology Engineering Group of the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid over the summer. My goal this summer is to start a project on data integration with sensor and stream data, all with semantic web technologies! Therefore, I won't be at any of the events this summer in Austin. However, I will be traveling to SemTech in San Jose (thanks for the free registration!). Nevertheless, I am still organizing events for Semantic Web Austin and fun things are going to happen.

Tonight, we were suppose to have a meetup with Jans Aasman, CEO of Franz and creators of the AllegroGraph triplestore. Unfortunately due to a personal emergency, Jans had to cancel. We hope to reschedule this event for July.

However, June is still going to have an event! I am very please to announce that Peter Mika from Yahoo! Research in Barcelona will be coming to Austin to give a full day hands-on tutorial on "Semantic Search in Practice" . Here is the abstract:
Saturday June 27
MCC Building
3925 W Braker Lane
Austin TX 78759

While current search techniques aim at ever more sophisticated methods for searching over hypertext, the Semantic Web promises to break new boundaries in search by transforming the content itself into a form that is more easily processable by machines.

In this talk we discuss in-depth some of the technologies that can be used to annotate content for machine processing and showcase some of the ways that semantic annotations can be used to improve the search experience for users. Each part will consist of 60 minutes of presentations and 30 minutes of hands on work. This talk is intended for developers and researchers new to the Semantic Web, but also for publishers of Web content (site owners) and SEO specialists interested in preparing content for use by semantic-aware search engines and other applications. We will focus on the Web and formats used on the Web, although similar techniques are applicable to search in other contexts such as enterprise search or desktop search.

Part 1
In the first part of the talk, we describe existing and upcoming formats for embedding metadata inside Web content, including microformats, RDFa, and microdata. We illustrate these formats with practical examples, show some of the tools that can help authoring and give guidance on best practices and point out some of the pitfalls in annotating Web pages, drawing on our experience from working with large web publishers.

Part 2
In the second part, we discuss how semantic annotations are being used to improve the search experience for Web users. We introduce Yahoo's SearchMonkey platform and build a simple SearchMonkey application. We show ways to access the metadata indexed by Yahoo through the use of the BOSS API (Build Your Own Search Service) and the YQL (Yahoo Query Language) service. We also compare Yahoo's SearchMonkey platform to Google's Rich Snippet's effort. We close by discussing some of the open challenges in building semantic search engines on the Web.

9:00AM - 12:00AM: Tutorial
12:00PM - 1:00PM: Lunch
1:00PM - 4:00PM: Tutorial
4:30PM - 6:30PM: Networking at North by Northwest

We are really looking forward to this event and hopefully you are too! We have more suprises for the Austin community, so stay tuned!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Semantic Web and Linked Data: what does this all mean

This is a topic that a lot of people are discussing:

First things first. We are all up to putting names on things and making things even more confusing: Semantic Web, Web of Data, Web 3.0, Giant Global Graph. We all have the same objective: make the web's data more valuable, interoperable and accessible.

We can make smart applications once we have raw data that can be understood and accessed easily by machines.

The W3C has worked on a series of recommendations and technologies: RDF, OWL, SPARQL, RDFa, GRDDL, etc. All in order to fulfill TBL's original Semantic Web vision. In my opinion, a Semantic Web application is one that uses these technologies that have been standardized.

However, this is not the only way! I agree with you., etc do awesome "smart" stuff with movie and music data respectively. These are definetely semantic applications. However they do not use the specific W3C technologies. So following my definition, they are not Semantic Web applications, only semantic applications.

Linked Data is NOT the Semantic Web. I agree. It is an important outcome of the Semantic Web effort to put the Semantic Web technologies (RDF, OWL, etc) in practice! You can't do "smart stuff" with only linked data. You need to apply more AI techniques. However, when the data is linked, you will be able to provide the Serendipity and Discovery that the Web 3.0 promises (ouch.. not sure if I should say that, however here is my definition of the Web 3.0

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Linked Data Tutorial

Semantic Web Austin is organizing the Linked Data tutorial this Friday and Saturday from 9am to 5pm. The tutorial is exactly the same on each day, so just decide which day suits you better. The tutorial will be delivered by Tom Heath, one of the many researchers and developers of this technology. He is coming in from the UK!

However, the question is... What is Linked Data? Linked Data is about using Web technologies to connect data that is related but stored in different locations. Linked Data techniques are increasingly being used by organizations worldwide to improve the portability, reusability, and interconnectedness of their data. So if you are interested in doing mashups, and want to learn about this new technology, you better come!

More info:
Register at:

Linked Data has been the buzz word in the last month. Just last week, Tim Berners-Lee gave a presentation at TED about Linked Data.

The work that BBC Music has launched their site which is a mashup of Musicbrainz and Wikipedia...all linked data! An article about this can be found in Business Week and RWW.

Even the Wall Street Journal has commented on how Linked Data can help solve the problem in Wall Street.

The Harvard Business Review has an article of what are the things people need to know about the Semantic Web.

The Linked Data tutorial is sponsored by ATI of the University of Texas at Austin and also The Guardian newspaper of the UK (yes!! they are sponsoring us!). ATI is providing the venue and food and The Guardian is providing the BEER! We plan to have an "after-party" after the event on each day. Details will be announced on the day of each event.