Monday, May 28, 2007

1st European Semantic Technology Conference

This week, on Thursday, May 30 and Friday, June 1, the First European Semantic Technology Conference (ESTC2007) takes place in Vienna. The final, detailed program can be found here (pdf, 3MB).

70% of the participants is coming from industry, which is the target audience. Major companies attending include SAP, Nokia, Oracle, France Telecom, British Telecom, T-Systems, Vodafone, Siemens, Telefonica, Verizon, and Atos Origin. Spanish organizatinos involved include among others Vodafone, Bankinter, City of Zaragoza, Fundación M. Botín, Atos Origin and Telefonica.

Sectors where Semantic Technology is applied and that present at ESTC include Public Sector, Telecommunications, Automotive, Aerospace, Cultural Heritage, Healthcare & Lifesciences, Media and eBusiness.

Countries well represented include Austria, Germany, UK, Spain, France, Norway and the Netherlands.

Press release in El País can be found here (pdf).

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

New Gartner Report on Semantic Technologies

In a recent report of May 9, 2007, Gartner gives its view and recommendations to organizations concerning “Finding and Exploiting Value in Semantic Technologies on the Web”. You can buy it here. My interpretation of this report is:

Value Proposition
  • Semantic Technologies will are gradually being taken up by organizations.
  • It will offer extraordinary advances for exploitation and visibility of information, in particular regarding the automatic interpretation of documents (unstructured information), i.e. without human intervention.
  • This will unleash information in organizations that currently is hidden in documents such as html, doc, ppt. pdf, xls, etc.

    Industry Uptake and Recommendation to Organizations
  • Industry uptake will be gradual starting with focused applications using semantic hypertext (microformats, a Web2.0 technology) that embeds semantic tags in web pages
  • By carefully selecting focused projects to start with, Industry can already gain significantly today

  • In the next 10 years, web-based technologies will be increasingly able to embed semantics in documents.
  • By 2012, 70% of public web pages are expected to include some level of semantic mark-up
  • The full blown public semantic web, using OWL, will take several more years to come to maturity.

    In short, the web will gradually incorporate semantics starting with lightweight semantic hypertext (microformats) to more heavyweight ontologies. This vision is consistent with my own experience with clients: start small and simple, but with the big picture in mind. Semantic technologies owe to Web2.0 technologies -where semantic tags are attached to content out of pure necessity- in the sense that it is now widely recognized that (some kind of) semantics is needed to keep the web a friendly place to be. Some people (e.g. Mor Naaman of Yahoo!Research) express the same trend in a (very) different way, but the essence of the message is the same.
  • Monday, May 21, 2007

    Free Office to PDF converter
    In my experience, much quicker and more robust than Adobe's. The reason for posting this on my blog, while it has nothing to do with Intelligent Applications, is that I generate lots of PDF documents from MS Office (Word, PPT), and more often than I want, I waste time in this process through slowness and errors of PDF writer (at least on my machines).

    So I thought maybe others experience the same problems in execution of this boring task.

    EC publishes statistics of FP7, ICT, Call1 Submissions

    In total, 1838 proposals have been submitted. Popular areas include: Future Network (175), Software and Services (184), Cognitive Systems (184), Digital Libraries (191), Content and Semantics (149), and Ageing (152).

    Lots of competition! Who is going to evaluate all this, with so many experts involved in the proposals. For all evaluators, make sure you reserve your hotels in Brussels as soon as possible. It will be crowded in June ...

    The overview can be downloaded (pdf) from the CDTI website (among others, I am sure).


    Monday, May 14, 2007

    The Future of Search Engines (outgoing links in Spanish)

    On May 10, 2007 in the beautiful city of Santiago de Compostela I participated in a round table discussion on the future of search engines. The event was organized by FESABID: the tenth Spanish Days of Documentation. This is the main Spanish event for libraries and other institutions that manage very many documents. About 800 persons attended. The panel was formed by (in parenthesis appear the topics of the talk):

  • Richard Benjamins, iSOCO (Vertical search engines and Semantic Technology)
  • Eva Méndez, Universidad Carlos III (Dublin Core)
  • José Ramón Pérez Agüera, Universidad Complutense de Madrid (IR algorithms, Semantics and Natural Language Processing).
  • Antonio Pareja Lora, UCM, colaborador del Grupo de Ingeniería Ontológica (OEG) de la UPM (Ontologies)
  • Antonio S. Valderrábanos, (Natural Language Processing)
  • Isidro Aguillo, CINDOC/CSIC (moderator)

    The presentations given by the panel members formed an interesting mix of different by complementary views on the matter of search engines: an excellent starting point for setting up a new breakthrough project to advance the state of the art.

    The presentations of the whole conference are made available here. My presentation can be downloaded here.