Wednesday, November 08, 2006

International Semantic Web Conference 2006 (ISWC 2006), Athens (GA), USA - Day 1

Tuesday morning 9 a.m. ... the ISWC 2006 starts with the keynote of Tom Gruber (godfather of computer science based definition of the term 'ontology') on 'Where the Social Web Meets the Semantic Web'. He focused on 'Collective Intelligence' as being the reason that companies as google or amazon did survive the first Dot-com bubble, because they where making use of their users' collective knowledge. Google uses other people's intelligence by computing a page rank out of the users' links to other webpages. Amazon uses the people's choices for their recommentation system, and ebay uses the people's reputation. Interesting thing about that is that the notion of 'Collective Intelligence' (aka 'Social Web', aka 'Web 2.0') - was already addressed by Douglas Engelbart in the late 60's. Engelbart did not only invent the mouse, the window-based user interface, and many other important things that are part of today's computing environment, his driving force - as Gruber said - was 'Collective Intelligence' cope with the set of growing problems that humanity is facing today. Thus - as I have also stated in another post - also the semantic web depends on collaboration and participation of the users and therfore, on 'Collective Intelligence' to become a success.

BTW, I prefer using the term 'Social Web' instead of 'Web 2.0'. From my point of view 'Social Web' hits exactly the point and does not suggest any new and exciting technology (but only the fact that people are using existing web technology in a collaborative way to interact with each other).

After the keynote I visited the 'Knowledge Representation' session with an interesting talk of Sören Auer on OntoWiki (a semantic wiki system .. interesting, because one of my students is alsoimplementing a semantic wiki). In the afternoon sessions I esp. liked the talks about representation and visualization (esp. the talk of Eyal Oren on 'Extending faceted navigation for RDF data', where he presented a nice server application that is able to visualize arbitrary RDF-data). In the evening, a dinner buffet (including cuban music) was combined with the poster sessions and the 'Semantic Web Challenge' exhibition, where I found the possibility for a cooperation with Siegfried Handschuh from DERI (on semantic authoring and annotation....).

Oh...I already forgot to mention that there is also a flickr group with ISWC photographs...