Thursday, November 13, 2008

3. tele-TASK Symposium am HPI in Potsdam

Heute und morgen (13./14. November 2008) findet am Hasso-Plattner-Institut in Potsdam das 3. tele-Task Symposium statt. Ich freue mich auf ein spannendes Programm als auch auf interessante Gäste (unter anderem von der ETH Zürich mit dem Projekt REPLAY, Andreas Nürnberger von der Uni Magdeburg, das Fraunhoher IDM aus Illmenau und viele mehr...).

Natürlich werde ich selbst auch im Programm vertreten sein zum Thema "Semantisch unterstützteu Suche und Navigation in audiovisuellen Datenbeständen" (Slides gibt es später hier via slideshare).

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Trendseminar "Semantische Technologien" in Stuttgart am 5. Nov. 2008

Morgen werde ich in Stuttgart die Moderation durch das Seminar "Semantische Technologien - Wissen intelligent und gezielt nutzen", initiiert durch die MFG Fazit Forschung - Informations- und Medientechnologien in Baden-Würtemberg. Dabei geht es insbesondere um die Anwendung von Semantic-Web Technologien in Unternehmen.

Auf der Gästeliste stehen unter anderem Prof. Rudi Studer vom AIFB Karlsruhe und Tassilo Pellegrini von der Semantic Web Company aus Wien, und ich freue mich schon auf die abschließende Podiumsdiskussion, in der ich von den Gästen ihre Meinung zum aktuellen Marktpotenzial der semantischen Technologien, den Chancen für mittelständische Unternehmen und die Zukunft des Semantic Web erfragen werde....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

W3C-Day, Berlin, 2008 (at XInnovations 2008)

Today, I'm going to visit the annual W3C-Day being connected with the XInnovations 2008 in Berlin. According to the program the sessions were supposed to start at 9 am (For this reason I got up rather early thismorning....) but also the first speaker seemd to think that 9 am is a little bit early ;-) So we started with a 20 minutes delay. In the introducing talk, Klaus Birkenbihl from W3C Semantic Web Activity Group is giving an introductory talk on the Semantic Web, solving the question, how to explain Semantic Web to an (more or less' ordinary web user. Not a simple task, but the best you can do ist to explain it via examples, showing that integrating information in the web today is a rather tedious and extensive manual work. Of course, with semantic web technologies, automated integration of heterogeneous data might soon be possible...

Unfortunately, the speaker for the second talk did not show up. Moreover, it should have been a presentation about the semantic search engine ConWeaver, which I know very well and I was rather curious about its progress. Therefore, the session continues with some kind of RDF tutorial being presented by Lars Bröker from Fraunhofer IAIS. Next, a short introduction in SPARQL is given by Thomas Tikwinski from Fraunhofer IAIS und W3C DE/AT.

[to be continued]

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

XInnovations 2008, Berlin, Day 02 - Sept. 23, 2008

Today, I'm going to visit the 'Corporate Semantic Web' workshop at XInnovations 2008 in Berlin. At least it seams that semantic technology has reached industry and corporations. "There is no market for semantic technology", as Christoph Tempich from Detecom Int. quotes a former oracle statement in his talk "Analytics drive the Corporate Semantic Web". Therefore, you just have to provide another label, which is 'Enterprise Information Management' with semantic web technology as underlying technology.

During the coffee break I followed a discussion on the planning of an 'Asocial Semantic Web Workshop' for the next WWW conference or ESWC conference. The goal o fthe workshop should be to show in which way the semantic web is vulnerble by SPAM or other offensive techniques, as e.g. denial of service by providing a deadly RDF-sequence that causes temporary data to grow exponentially.....sounds rather intriguing. I'm looking forward wo contribute ;-)

The 2nd session this morning starts with a presentation from Markus Luczak-Rösch from FU Berlin on 'Corporate Ontology Engineering'. Next, Holger Seubert from IBM is presenting 'Enriched Content Browsing', i.e. during page load in the traditional web, the web page is enriched with additional content. The text of the web page is analysed and terms of interest (info spots) are selected and linked with additional contextual information (from the web, from corporate data bases, etc. in another frame of the same window) without leaving the current context.

We had lunch in a small cafe underneath the nearby public railway with russian dishes (Cafe Chagall, Georgenstr. 4, 10117 Berlin). The pelmeni was really delicious!

The afternoon session starts with Thomas Hoppe from Ontonym with a presentation on 'Corporate Semantic Web'. According to his interpretation, the general 'Semantic Web' concept of Tim Berners Lee cannot be simply transported into the corporation as it is. Inside the corporation, it's a different world compared to the outside. All users are employees, vocabulary is (most times) strictly controlled, there are strict access restrictions, services have to be integrated in portals and corporations have to support corporate processes. The session continues with a presentation by Ralf Heese from FU Berlin on 'Corporate Semantic Collaboration'. He introduces the simple text-annotation tool loomp which has the purpose to enable nonexpert users to provide semantic annotations.

[to be continued tomorrow, W3C-Day, XInnovations 2008, Berlin, Day 03...]

Monday, September 22, 2008

XInnovations 2008, Berlin, Day 01, Sept. 22, 2008

For the third time, I'm attending the XInnovations (formerly known as XML-Days) 2008 in Berlin. Although I was often rather dissapointed about the quality of the conference program (you might refer to my previous posts about XML-Tage Berlin here), I decided to give it another try (simply because I can reach Humboldt University in Berlin with local public transportation in about 45 minutes). Also this time, there seemes to be some emphasis on semantic web technology (at least considering the program, there are Semantic Wikis in the Corporate Wiki track and anoteher Corporate Semantic Web Workshop, not to forget the Semantic Web topic in the PhD-Forum).

I started the first day of the coference with participating the Coprporate Wiki Infotag. Denny Vrandecic is talking about the "Semantic Media Wiki" from AIFB Karlsruhe. Denny is starting his talk with some historical facts about WIkipedia. Interesting thing to mention, according to a study from Aaron Swartz, only 2% of all Wikipedia users (it come up to 1.400 people) are primarily responsible for all article changes. This contradicts the commonly assumed opinion that wikipedia is written by millions of users. Then he was introducing the semantic web in general, by stating that the semantic web is nothing but things (nodes, concepts) being connected by certain relationships, forming graphlike structures that can again be related to each other. According to his definition, a semantic wiki is nothing but graphs being created from wiki data.

The next talk I'm attending is in the Ph.D workshop. Olaf Hartig is talking about 'Trustworthiness of Data on the Web'. With the Semantic Web more and more software agents are taking decisions based on (RDF-based) data on the web. But how can we trust those data? Olaf is developing an RDF trust model as a basis for trust assesment and trust-aware data acces. He suggests a scale from [1-;1], where -1 represents 'absolute distrust' and +1 'absolute trust' for a statement. Now, all relationships in an RDF-graph can be weighted with according trust values ranging from [-1] to [+1]. Trust into a set of statements can be expressed with aggregated trust functions ranging from a cautious (conservative) minimum to a slightly optimistic median. The formal trust vocabulary can be found here. Next, criteria for trust assessment are collected and three different trust assessment strategies are defined: user-based (ask the user on his/her opinion about the trustworthiness), provenance-based (taking into account the trustworthiness of the referring users), and opinion-based (recommendations by other users according to their own trustworthiness).

The afternoon session started with Nils Barnickel from Fraunhofer IOCS with a talk on 'Semantic Mediation between Loosely-Coupled Information Models in Service Oriented Architectures'. Semantic descriptions of Web Services are supposed to enable data and service interoperability. One problem being addresses ist the lack of efficient ontology mapping options in current existing onlology languages (although OWL does have a differentFrom or sameAs operator, complex mappings deploying concepts with totally different subgraphs or 1:n, n:m mappings are missing).

Ok, now it's definitely time for a coffee break. after that, I will be joining the 'World Cafe' session, where I will participate in the discussions instead of writing blog.

[to be continued tomorrow, XInnovations Day 02, Corporate Semantic Web Workshop]

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Happy 50th Birthday NASA

Well, NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, celebrates its 50th birtday. On July 29th, 1958 US-President Eisenhower signed the „National Aeronautics and Space Act“ and NASA started to work on October 1st, 1958. Just a few months earlier in autumn 1957, the Soviet Union launched the very first artificial satellite SPUTNIK 1, resulting in the so called "Sputnik shock", paraphrasing that the western world was shocked that the USSR was really able to do this...and by doing so the entire western world (esp. USA) was commited to an atomic thread. We all know the story of the Cold War.... (BTW, for this reason Eisenhower also founded ARPA, the "mother" of the Internet).
The race began and now, 50 years later, Russian and US-american astronauts are working together in the International Space Station ISS.

Although I'm quite younger than NASA, NASA made a big impression on my childhood days. Remember the Apollo program and the first man on the moon. As almost every child I wanted to become an astronaut - or at least a scientist (got it!). Belief it or not, my very first memories of television are pre-launch cuntdowns of the Apollo Program (I really don't know which mission, but obviously one of the later). I remember the countdown was stopped several times and I was very angry, because I had to go to bed and could not watch the lift-off. I dimly remember even the Skylab program (as well as its early "re-entry" in 1979) and of course the first launch of the Space Shuttle in 1981 (and again with delayed countdown..., at Google Video you may watch the lift-off video of STS-1 Columbia).

But, the most interesting thing for me always have been NASA's planetary missions, giving us wonderful pictures of Jupiter or Saturn (Pioneer and Voyager) and the other planets.

NASA has opend up its Picture Archive with tons of pictures for free use. Nicely organized you may find pictures from Hubble, planetary missions, the space program, and many more....(But beware, today their servers have to keep up with an intense workload because of their birthday event).

Monday, July 28, 2008

Google findet mehr als 1 Billion(!) Web-Adressen...

Ich hatte es ja schon immer gewusst, dass der Gogle Suchindex "ziemlich" gross ist. Die letzten "offiziellen" Zahlenangaben, die mehr oder minder indirekt gemacht wurden, besagten, dass Google im Jahr 2005 einen Datenbestand von 24 Milliarden Webseiten im Index verwaltet [1]. Aber die Zeit bleibt ja nicht stehen und das Web wächst beständig....und jetzt schreibt der "official Google Blog" am Wochenende, das der Google-Suchindex die magische Marke von 1 Billion (!) Webseiten überschritten hätte.....[2]

Natürlich muss man bei US-amerikanischen Zahlenangaben stets vorsichtig sein. "One billion" steht ja lediglich für unsere "Milliarde". "Eine Billion" dagegen sind tatsächlich 10^12 (, im Englischen "one trillion", also eine ganze Menge. Jetzt stellen wir uns einmal vor, wir haben diese Billion Indexeinträge, die zudem noch untereinander verlinkt sind. Würde man diese Datenstruktur klassischerweise als Matrix speichern, bräuchte man 10^24 Einträge, von denen die allermeisten ja leer wären. Also speichert man eine derartige Datenstruktur doch besser auf effizientere Weise. Allerdings muss man dabei bedenken, dass der Zugriff auf Links immer noch sehr schnell erfolgen muss, da die iterative PageRank-Berechnung ja auch nicht ohne ist [3]. Ich wäre wirklich einmal daran interessiert, wie lange jetzt eigentlich eine komplette Berechnung des PageRanks für den Gesamt-Datenbestand heute dauert....

[NACHTRAG:] soll ja den Tag nicht vor dem Abend loben...
Der San Francisco Chronicle setzte heute einen Nachtrag zu o.a. Google Meldung, in der es hieß, dass der GoogleBot zwar mehr als 1 Billion Webseiten gefunden hätte, von diesen aber lediglich 30 - 50 Milliarden im Google-Suchindex verwaltet werden [4]. Naja, immerhin haben wir jetzt einen Anhaltspunkt, wie groß das WWW sein könnte.....und dass tatsächlich auch nicht alles bei Google gefunden werden kann.

[1] TNL Blog: Google has 24 billion items index, considers MSN search nearest competitor, September 2005.
[2] The Official Google Blog: We knew the Web was Big....., Juli 25, 2008.
[3] Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page: The anatomy of a large-scale hypertextual Web search engine, Computer Networks and ISDN Systems30(1-7):107--117(1998).
[4] SFGate: New Search Enging challenges Google, July 28, 2008.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ceci n'est pas Stockholm.....

...or even more "ceci n'est pas Google?"

Very nice allusion to Google's image search found at I hope we will soon find more of that kind :)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Das magische Medium....

...unter diesem Titel stand ein Artikel von Christian Schmidt-Häuer im ZEIT-Bildungskanon am 19. Juni 2008 (...jaja, ich weiss, ich bin z.Z. wieder einmal etwas hinterher, was das Lesen meiner ZEIT betrifft). Aber schön, dass sich hier einmal ein Artikel findet, der die Ursprünge unserer Basiskulturtechnik - die Schrift - zum Thema hat, zu dem ich ja auch schon publiziert habe (siehe unten). Ebenso war das Thema Schriftentwicklung auch schon in einigen meiner Vorlesungen mit von der Partie.

Daher habe ich den ZEIT-Artikel mit großem Vergnügen gelesen, insbesondere da als Aufhänger der Geschichte sogenannte Quipus auftauchen, präkolumbianische Knotenschnüre, also weniger ein echtes Schriftsystem als vielmehr eine Art komplexer Merkzettel oder - um mit heutigen Hilfsmitteln zu sprechen - eine Art frühzeitliche Excell-Tabelle.

Interessante Bemerkung am Rande: Quipus sind auch eines der wenigen Schriftsysteme, die nicht Einzug in den universellen Unicode-Standard genommen haben - was wohl auch an der schwierigen Darstellungsform inkl. Farbe und Dreidimensionalität liegt (zumindest wurde mir dies in einem lange schon zurückliegenden Vortrag eines Vertreters des Unicode-Konsortiums so erläutert...).


Friday, June 27, 2008

Adaptive Multimedia Retrieval 2008 in Berlin, June 26-27, 2008 - Day 02

After the dinner cruise along the river Spree, the second day of Adaptive Multimedia Retrieval 2008 again starts with an interesting invited talk on the European answer to Google search engine technology - THESEUS.

Karsten Müller from Fraunhofer Heinrich-Hertz-Institute is presenting on "THESEUS Project - Applications and Core Technologies for the Semantic Web". First, Karsten makes clear, that THESEUS doesn't want to be Google ;-) THESEUS is a research program for a new internetbased knowledge infrastructure....which from my point of view means nothing else but "the semantic web"....
One part of the THESEUS project is ALEXANDRIA, the virtual library, being lead by Yahoo! with the objective of semantic processing of different forms of content to enable faster access to relevant content, which again means an increase in information quality. Concepts such as an automated tagging framework (including language error correction, synonym & tag merging, and topic focussing, identification of semantic relations), innovative navigation (by presenting thematically related contents) and interaction concepts are involved.
Another part is ORDO, which deals with "Organizing your digital life" with the goal to unify various data formats, multilingual information, structured and unstructured data on the web to enable homogeneous information sources.Problems such as separating important from unimportant, ordering information instead of searching, priorization, identification and visualization of interrelations are addressed.
TEXO is another part with the objective of "Realizing the internet of services" (being lead by SAP Research), offering personalized customized services, community involvement to improve services, as well as a smooth & seamless (userfriendly) adaption and integration of services.
PROCESSUS deals with the "Optimization of business processes" aiming for the objective of anytime providing the user with theright information at any stage of the business process.
MEDICO is another subproject dealing with "Towards Scalable Semantic Image Search in Medicine" and being lead by Siemens.
CONTENTUS, as being the last Use case "Content access and generation from cultural institutions is lead by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Being part of CONTENTUS are tasks such as Digitizing books as well as audiovisual material (including the German Music Archive in Berlin) protecting the cultural heritage. The goal is the semantically interlinked collection of content to achieve a next generation multimedia library.
.....impressive and ambitious project!

The upcoming section this morning is on "Image Tagging" and Marius Renn (at least I hope so) from TU Kaiserslautern is givig a presentation on "Automatic Image Tagging using Community-Driven Online Image Database". Automatic image tagging requires a lot of training data....and flickr is delivering tons of tags per day...but are these flickr data really good candidates for learning? So, in the end, unfiltered community image sets directly do not provide satisfying results. Alas, these databases at least allow large scale image aggregation...
The next talk in this session is given by Christian Hentschel from Fraunhofer HHI Berlin about "Automatic Image Annotation Refinement using Object Co-Occurences". Again, flickr is the target image set with its huge collection of more than 2 billion images, growing by 3 million photos every day. Objects always appear and are perceived in a semantic context.

The following session is on "Symbolic Music Retrieval" and starts with Rainer Typke from Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (ÖFAI), but I had to skip this talk. Anyway, the samples of the reduced MIDI files were quite interesting (although I'm not a fan of the Scorpions!). OK, I had to ask afterwards about the usefulness and application of his approach. In music retrieval it can be used to reduce the index size down to 30% of the original index. Also QBE-processing will become much easier while on the other hand you might connect this MIDI-collection to real music files.
The last talk of the morning session is given by Giancarlo Vercellesi from University of Milan on "Automatic synchronization between audio and partial music score presentation". He presents the ParSi architecture, which perfoms an alignment of PCM signal and partial MIDI scores.

The afternoon session is simply entitled with "Systems". Fernando Lopéz from Madrid is giving a presentation on "Towards a fully MPEG-21 compliant adaption engine: complementary description tools and architectural models". Within the MPEG-21 framework several aspects of metadata-driven adaption is not clearly covered. He introduces CAIN, a tool for adapting Digital Items e.g. to different output devices.
The session continues with a presentation on "Mobile museum guide based on fast SIFT recognition" with the objective to identify paintings in galleries simply with the help of mobile pattern recognition without any extra installation on site. The SIFT (Scale Invariant Feature Transform) method is a rather cool algorithm for detecting local features within images that are used to map photographs taken with your PDA or mobile phone in the image gallery with reference pictures from a given database. And actually the live demo did work :)
I guess, we will also use the SIFT-algorithm in yovisto for synchronization of ppt/pdf-slides with the lecture video.

For the last session - "Structuring of Image Collections" - only one speaker showed up. Marc Gelgon is presenting on "Geo-temporal structuring of a personal image database with two-level variational Bayes mixture estimation".

[to be continued...]

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Adaptive Multimedia Retrieval 2008 in Berlin, June 26-27, 2008

The next two days, we are attending the Berlin Adaptve Multimedia Retrieval 2008 Workshop at the Heinrich Hertz Institute being located in downtown Berlin. So, it's pretty close to home and the only travelling involved was by S-Bahn :)

The first speaker is Francois Pachett from Sony CSL giving a keynote entitled "What are our audio features worth?"
The fundamental questions are "What makes objects what they are?", ""What are the features of subjectivity?", "How do we perceive objects and how can we transfer this to a machine?" Pachet's research is concerned with the classification of musical objects based on the so called polyphonic timbre that describes the sum of all features of a music object. Interesting thing is the identification of hubs, i.e. songs that are pretty close to every other song. Hubs in general seem to be mere artefacts of static models.
Interesting fact ist that there are companies now, predicting if your song is going to be a hit. Their judgement also relies on feature analysis and they even give recommendations how your song can be improvent to become a hit. Of course you have to pay for that service...but does it really work??

After the coffee break, there's a session on User-Adaptive Music Retrieval. The first talak is presented by Kay Wolter from Fraunhofer IDMT Ilmenau on "Adaptive User-Modelling for Content-Based Music Retrieval". They are adapting a content-based music retrieval system (CBMR) according to user preferences that are determined by acceptances and rejections of recommended songs by the user, which is furthermore used to improve the quality of music recommendations....Reminds me somehow to Pandora or
The second talk is presented by Sebastian Stober from Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg on "Towards User-Adaptive Structuring and Organization of Music Collections". So, wouldn't it be nice to structure your music collection automatically...but not in the way the software tells you, but the way you like it? The presented system is based on an general adaption approach using self-organizing maps that can be adapted by user interaction.

The first afternoon session is on "User-adaptive Web Retrieval" and starts with a presentation of Florian König from Johannes-Kepler-Universität Linz on "Using thematic ontologies for user- and group-based adaptive personalization in web searching". He introduces Prospector, which is a generic meta-search layer for Google, not constrained only to web search, based on re-ranking of search results and deploying user modells based on Open Directory Project (ODP) taxonomies. As far as I have understood, the applcation is based on the carrot2 framework for open source search engine result clustering.
Next, David Zellhöfer from BTU Cottbus presents on "A Poset Based Approach for Condition Weighting". Similarity search can be determined according to different conditions w.r.t. the search query. Esp. different people have different expectations if it comes to similarity. So, condition weights have to be determined by psychological experiments.

The second afternoon session is about "Music Tracking and Tumbnailing" and starts with a presentation of Tim Pohle from Johannes-Kepler-Universität Linz on "An Approach to Automatically Tracking Music Preference on Mobile Players". Ok, so the basic problem is, someday you will get bored by the music selection on your ipod. Therefore, the goal is to remove songs that you don't like anymore and replace them with new songs that you probably will like. How do you achieve this? Well, with according user feedback, i.e. by tracking the user's decision on choosing or skipping tracks. Tracks that have recently been skipped often will be dropped and replaced by tracks that are similar (according to some feature analyses) to the remaning tracks.
Next, Björn Schuller from Technische Universität Münschen is presenting on "One Day in Half an Hour: Music Thumbnailing Incorporating Harmony- and Rythm Structure". Music thumbnailing is some really cool feature, Just imagine, your sitting in your car and you are looking for another track to hear, but your player always starts songs at the beginning and they have long and boring intros. Therefore, getting to the most interesting (or significant) part of the song immediately would really be something...

The sessions close with an invited talk given by Stefan Weinzierl and Sascha Spors on "The Future of Audio Reproduction. Technology - Formats - Applications". Promissing title, let's see.... We start with a brief history of audio recording and reproduction technology starting from the very first phonograph to modern multichannel spatial surround sound systems. So, the future seems to be real sound field synthesis (wavefield synthesis, WFS) instead of relying on psycho-acustic effects as in today's stereo. Here, an array of loudspeakers reproduces exactly the wave front of the original sound source. For transmitting signals like this, no single channels are recorded anymore, but the original sound signal (without spatial characteristics of the room where it has been recorded, because this would interfere with the characteristics of the room, where it is reproduced) including movement and position of the sound source. Besides existing VRML and MPEG-4 Audio BIFS that focus more on visual scene description than on audio scene descriptions, there is the proposal of a new modeling language for high resolution spatial sound events called ASDF (Audio Scene Description Format).

[ be continued in Adaptive Multimedia Retrieval 2008 in Berlin, June 26-27, 2008 - Day 02]

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Visualization of large document data sets

Of course, there are a lot of books at amazon. To find a specific book, you have several possibilities. Either you try the 'search'-frame (be careful to write your keywords in the correct way as they do appear e.g. in the title) or you try to follow the categories and the proposed selections (Top10 lists, etc.) of books there. A great feature of course is the similarity based search or the search based on recommendations. This is the only way to discover something new by serendipity, something you did'nt even know to exist . In real life this way to find a book comes equal to finding by recommendation of friends or by your local librarian or book seller.

But, what about good old window-shopping. If I come to a bookstore or to a library, I love to wander around the book shelves and to look here and there and to spend (sometimes to waist...) lots of time.

Something that comes visually close to this experience is It's an amazon add-on for browsing (a considerably large set of) books (they say its about 20.000 books right now) with the look and feel of book shelves, ordered by categories, with (right sized) book covers in the shelves. You can walk around, zoom in and out, and of course you can browse by categorie or search via keyword.

It's really some nice way to visualize large sets of documents. I would like to see an API for visualizing documents on the web that way!!

[via netbib.log]

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Smithsonian's Photographic Archive at flickr!

The Smithsonian's photographic Archive (at least parts of it) is available at flickr! The pictures are in high-resolution und published under Flickr commons copyright regulations, i.e. copyright-free.

Most interesting is the Folder 'Portraits of Scientists and Inventors' including many famous scientists from the 19th century (including G. Marconi from the upper left corner...). The pictures are from the Smithsonian Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology that has a collection of more than a thousand portraits of scientists and inventors through the centuries. Only a small sampling of 144 pictures of the collection is available at flickr and gives you an idea of the range of the collection. Visit “Scientific Identity: Portraits from the Dibner Library” to see the entire collection.

Other interesting folders include 'Portraits of Artists' or 'People and the Post' from the Smithsonian's National Post Museum.

[via boing boing]

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

to boldly go....

For sure, there are a lot of nice little visualisation tools for flickr and even more has been written about tagging, folksonomies, and web 2.0 search (including the 'flickr!' article in this blog...). Nevertheless, I found a new flash-based application for flickr tag / search visualisation that is worth while taking a look: The Tag Galaxy.

Tag Galaxy visualises the search process in a bold star trek manner. Your search keywords (tags) are shown in a central star/planet with related tags spinning around it. you can refine your search by clicking on one of the small tag planets. This is only a one step ahead search...why not showing related tags of related tags....with according interrelationships...? Sounds weird? Should be worth a shot. Clicking on the central star/planet guides you to another view, where the search results (images) are shown on an animated globe. Really neat....and interesting what comes out if people have enough time to play around with flash ;-)

Anyway, the trouble with neat search visualisations often is that the visualisation is nice to look at but it gets boring after a few tries. Real good visualisation gives you more information than without the visualisation. Only if its worth while, you will keep on using it. Just think of Google Maps. Your search related with geographical information always improves your search results...and thus you will also use it next time....

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

SPAM - Vermüllte Briefkästen und die Märkische Allgemeine

Kaum hatte ich mich in meinem letzten Artikel über das Medienecho hier am HPI ausgelassen, gibt es doch noch einen weiteren Artikel in der Märkischen Allgemeinen Zeitung, in dem ich zitiert werde. in "INFORMATIONSTECHNIK: Vermüllte Briefkästen
Die Flut sogenannter Spam-Mails kostet Zeit, Geld und Energie
" von Ulrich Nettelstroth werde ich zitiert mit dem Aufruf, "Porto für E-Mails" einzuführen, um der tagtäglichen SPAM-Flut Herr zu werden. Eigentlich hatte ich erwartet, dass ein Aufschrei durch die Nation gehen würde und ich als kapitalistischer Handlanger der Globalisierungs-Aktivisten gebrandmarkt werden würde, da ich damit doch die Grundprinzipien des des ökosozial-anarchischen Internets "verrate". Aber keiner hat es gemerkt ;-)

Was steckt dahinter? Nein, es geht nicht darum, dem Verbraucher noch mehr Geld aus der Tasche zu ziehen. Stellen wir uns doch nur einmal vor, in den monatlichen Kosten unseres Internetzugangs wären 10 Cent als Portoäquivalent für ein Freikontingent von 3000 E-Mails mit enthalten. 99,99% aller "normalen" Nutzer fallen derzeit mit Sicherheit in diese Kategorie (entspricht das doch 100 versandten E-Mails pro Tag inklusive Sonn- und Feiertage, Urlaub, etc.). Keinem fällt es auf, niemand wird durch diesen Obulus vom Internet ferngehalten, da die üblichen Verbindungs- und Bereitstellungskosten jeglicher Art von Datenkommunikation ein Vielfaches dieses Betrages darstellen.

Die typischen SPAM-Versender aber, versenden Ihre Kauf-Aufrufe üblicherweise an 10 Millionen und mehr " Kunden" pro Mailing-Aktion. Hochgerechnet ergeben sich dabei so etwa 300 Euro für 10 Millionen versendete E-Mails. Ich denke, damit wäre man schon an der Rentabilitätsgrenze der SPAM-Versender angekommen. Wenn nicht, muss man den Betrag noch etwas nach oben "tunen". Heute - da der Versand von SPAM E-Mails nahezu kostenlos erfolgt, rentiert es sich für den SPAM-Versender bereits, wenn pro Mailingaktion 100 Euro hereinkommen......Tun sie das? Ich weiss nicht, ob es hierüber verlässliche Studien gibt (falls jemand dazu eine Quelle bekannt sein sollte, ich wäre für Hinweise dankbar!).

Allerdings verlangt ein Porto für E-Mails auch ein entsprechend manipulationssicheres Accounting-Verfahren, d.h. mehr Aufwand und mehr Ressourceneinsatz wären notwendig. Wenn auf der anderen Seite aber der SPAM-Datenverkehr abnehmen würde, sinkt auch die aktuelle Belastung der Datenkommunikations-Infrastruktur....und damit auch der zugehörige Energieverbrauch. Somit könnte das "Porto für E-Mails" auch für eine günstigere weltweite CO2-Bilanz sorgen ;-)

Friday, June 06, 2008

In den Medien....

Das Medien-Echo, das mir entgegenschlägt, seit ich hier am Hasso Plattner Institut in Potsdam bin, ist schon etwas anderes als das in meinen Jenaer Zeiten. So auch der hier gefundene Artikel zu der gerade in Arbeit befindlichen Neuauflage unseres Buches "WWW - Kommunikation, Internetworking, Web-Technologien". Die Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung kündigte diese bereits in einem Artikel "Vom Homo sapiens zum Homo surfiens" am 29. Mai 2008 an.

Um also die Fan-Gemeinde auf dem Laufenden zu halten: Die Arbeiten gehen voran. Neue Kapitel, wie z.B. Suchmaschinen, und Web 2.0 sind bereits geschrieben, alle Kapitel werden sorgfältig überarbeitet und auf den neusten Stand gebracht (ich kämpfe gerade mit den Varianten der Videokomprimerung....) und weitere neue Kapitel, wie z.B. Semantic Web und SOA werden folgen. Eine Aussage über den geplanten Umfang der Neuauflage kann ich noch nicht geben, befürchte aber, wir werden die 1500-Seiten-Grenze erreichen und damit könnte es dann doch noch ein zweibändiges Werk werden....

Ch. Meinel, H. Sack: WWW: Kommunikation, Internetworking, Web-Technologien, Springer, Heidelberg, 2004.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Semantic Web Podcast Interview

Gestern wurde ich von meinem guten alten Bekannten und Kollegen Steffen Büffel im Rahmen des 3. Dresdner Future Forums zum Thema Semantic Web interviewt. Ich war zugegebenermaßen ein wenig unvorbereitet und via skype geführte Interviews klingen immer etwas hölzern (eher blechern...), aber immerhin, hier ist es nun, mein erstes Podcast-Interview....und natürlich meinen besten Dank an Steffen.

[Link zum Original-Artikel in media-ocean]

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Classical Mechanics made popular by Walter Lewin

As you might know, my lectures are recorded and archived ever since 2004. I really do know, how difficult it is, to fit the lecture into the exact 90 minutes frame, to develop a dramaturgy to get the student's attention. But, looking at MIT Prof. Walter Lewin's lectures on Classical Mechanics (MIT 8.01) you really can become frustrated -- well at least as being a lecturer myself. From the listener's perspective, Walter Lewin's lectures are really great! Each single lecture follows an escalating dramaturgy leading into some astonishing experiment - often with Prof. Lewin being part of the experiment himself.

Let it be a life threatening pendulum experiment (here you can jump directely to the experiment in the video), or his funny safari costume for 'shooting the monkey'. The videos are profesisonally produced - no wonder, MIT invested 100.000 $ per lecture series. Each hour of Lewin's lectures requires 40 hours of preparation -- at least if you want to keep his quality standard.

Of course, simply by watching lectures at youtube or yovisto you don't learn. This fact holds since the times of Sokrates. You need practical experience under the guidance of a teacher. But hey, it's also pure fun to listen to Prof. Lewin and there's a lot to learn, esp. for teachers....

Yovisto has indexed the entire 35 lectures of 8.01 Classical Mechanics. By registering at yovisto, you can place tags and comments to every single point of time within Lewin's videos as well as you can bookmark only the highlights out of his lectures.

Friday, May 16, 2008

bibcamp in Potsdam, 15.-17.5.2008

Bibliothek 2.0 - von der Theorie zur Praxis....
Unter diesem Motto steht das erste deutsche bibcamp, das heute hier in den 'interessanten' Räumlichkeiten (i.e. das 'Schaufenster') der FH Potsdam stattfindet. Geografisch und strategisch günstig in der Nähe des Hauptbahnhofs gelegen präsentiert sich das Gebäude-Ensemble der FH-Potsdam, das sich in direkter Nachbarschaft zur klassizistischen Nikolai-Kirche befindet (die mit ihrer riesigen Kuppel die Skyline von Potsdam dominiert), mit dem diskreten Charme des mir aus Weimar wohlbekannten 'Gauforums' (einem der größten Betonhässlichkeiten, die uns der Bauwahn des dritten Reichs hinterlassen hat...). In einer guten halben Stunde geht es los und ich werde heute vom ersten Tag des bibcamps berichten....

Wie immer beginnt die Konferenz mit der kollektiven WLAN-Suche, die sich hier für manchen Benutzer etwas schwieriger gestaltet, da das WLAN der FH-Potsdam nur in Verbindung mit einem VPN-Tunnel genutzt werden kann...insbesondere mussten wohl Benutzer eines älteren Windows eine hohe Frustrationstoleranz an den Tag legen (zumindest schaute Jörg quasi als 'Guter Geist' dem ein oder anderen über die Schulter und versuchte zu helfen).

Das bibcamp hat sogar ein eigenes Maskottchen, das allerdings noch nicht eingetroffen ist. Die Maskottchen-Idee ist über eine Google-Suche entstanden. Gab man im Vorfeld der Veranstaltung den Suchbegriff 'bibcamp' ein, wurde man von der Suchmaschine vorsichtshalber gefragt, ob man nicht doch den Begriff 'bibercamp' gemeint hatte. Was lag also näher, als den Biber als offizielles bibcamp-Maskottchen zu küren. Foto folgt...

Ok...Vorstellungsrunde. Nicht die Teilnehmer, sondern die Beiträge sind als erstes dran. 'Den Mutigen gehört die Welt' und ich bin mal wieder der erste, der sich vortraut und stelle unser Thema 'yovisto' vor. Ach ja...ich hab jetzt auch ein yovisto-T-Shirt. Foto folgt....

Interessante Beobachtung am Rande: für eine barcamp-Veranstaltung ist hier alles ein klein wenig langsam. Auch war nicht jeder 'gezwungen', sich selbst und seine Motivation vorzustellen. Diejenigen, die es taten, waren dafür aber 'sehr' ausführlich...(also nicht die berühmten drei(!) Tags).

Jetzt wird's langsam interessant. Die Diskussion entspannt sich über das bibliothekarische Selbstverständnis ('Bibliothekare haben ja viel mit Büchern zu tun') über den Bibliothek 2.0 Begriff. Vom Schlagwort zum Schlachtruf, dem Für und Wider der damit verbundenen Technologie und dem Ausgeliefertsein gegenüber der Akzeptanz der Nutzer. Nebenbei bemerkt weiss ich jetzt, dass 'Archivar' ein cooler Beruf ist, ohne den die Realisierung des Disney-Films 'Ratatouille' kaum möglich gewesen wäre....

So, nachdem wir (Jörg und ich) noch für ein Videointerview herhalten mussten beginnt jetzt das Abendprogramm mit Powerpoint-Karaoke (inklusive einem 'Chicken-Chicken'-Vortrag...). Das kalte Buffet (inklusive Schmalzbrote) war gar nicht schlecht. Der Rest des Abends spielte sich vornehmlich 'draußen vor der Tür' ab, die gut gemeinte musikalische Untermalung spielte mutterseelenalleine drinnen vor sich hin und berieselte die Reste des kalten Buffets, während sich draußen die interessanten Diskussionen entspannen. Tatsächlich endete der Abend auch 'fast' in einem Fiasko (2.0)..., als das Maskottchen (heist es nun 'Horst' oder nicht?) vorgeblich entführt wurde....

Zum bibcamp wird ja auch eine Menge getwittert....

Thursday, May 08, 2008

1st German IPv6 Summit at HPI, Potsdam (Day 02)

The first session today is about IPv6 status and deployment from ISP's (Internet Service Providers) and Operator's point of view, starting with Henning Grote from Deutsche Telekom (DT). DT is one of the big players in Germany, if it comes to IPv6. With more than 10 million end customers the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 really becomes some challenge...Thus, DT was going to present an overall strategy for their IPv6 migration....unfortunately, without giving en explicit timeframe.

Next, Yes Poppe from Tata Communications started his talk with telling the story how IPv6 came into life more than 10 years ago. Certainly interesting for someone like me, who was first involved in IPv6 at about 2000/01. Furthermore, he was referring to global IPv6 connectivity, stating that finally now you can show that there will still be Internet alhough if you completely shut off IPv4.

Wolfgang Fritsche from IABG as being the next speaker was referring to IPv6 deployment in mobile application environments with regards to results being achieved by the EU-project ENABLE. IPv6 offers special benefits for mobile networks such as a sufficiently large address space or an efficient autoconfiguration capability.

Lutz Donnerhacke from IKS Jena as being the next speaker was providing insights into IPv6 deployment from the viewpoint of an ordinary regional ISP, which are obviously of different nature compared to one of the big players such as DT or others.

In the second session -- IPv6 Applications & Developments - Carsten Hatzig from BWB/WTD81 was speaking about IPv6 deployment in military environments. 'The long way to IPv6' for the German Forces was depicted, but among the 5 phases (ranging from general preparations up to the shutdown of IPv4) we are almost only at the beginning...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

1st German IPv6 Summit at Hasso-Plattner-Institute, Potsdam, May, 7-8, 2008

Today, I'm writing about a conference, which I had to organize during the last months: The 1st German IPv6 Summit at Hasso Plattner-Institute (HPI) in Potsdam, May 7-8, 2008. Of course I was supported by a rather commited team here at HPI and - at least up to now - everything works out fine.

The first day is reserved for almost political talks only. Although not so interesting from a technical point of view, political statements about the deployment and status of IPv6 are rather important and might help to progress with the great upcoming transition from the old IPv4 to the future internet IPv6. So, the summit started with two important keynotes by Vivane Reding, EU-Commissioner for Media and Information Society (video link to Viviane Reding's keynote) and Vinton Cerf, Chief Evangelist and Vice President of Google -- and of course 'father of the Internet' (video link to Vinton Cerf's keynote).

Other interesting talks were given by Martin Schallbruch, CIO of the Bundesministerium des Inneren about deployment of IPv6 in the public sector, Prof. Lutz Heuser, Vice President of SAP Research, on the Future Internet, and Detlef Eckert from EU Commision of Media and Information Society about the EU strategy on IPv6 deployment.

In the afternood session, internationale experiences with IPv6 deployment were reported by representatives of the Japanese IPv6 Promotion Council, the IPv6 Forum Malaysia, IPv6 Forum Korea, and Telecom Bretagne.

Anyway, we all know that we are running out of IPv4 address space soon. Although, not everybody takes this warning serious, we should face the possibility that there will be no more IPv4 addresses left after 2012. Of course there will still be the internet there, and of course you will receive also your email....but maybe not necessarely on all your mobile devices (at least if you take into account that 2008 there will be more than 3 billion mobile phones....and most of them are able to access mobile internet...well technically speaking...).

And I almost forgot to mention that is also exhibiting at the IPv6 summit. We succeeded in connecting our search engine to the IPv6 network (we have an IPv6 connection from FSU Jena being provided by University of Potsdam...)

IPv6 summit in the media:

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Internet lectures now also on itunes

This semester, all recordings of my lecture 'Rechnernetze und Internettechnologie' (Computer Networks and Internet Technology, the lecture is given in German) at the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, are available via and also via itunes (for download). Here you will find the first lecture of the series at and here ist the itunes link to the lecture series.

Due to some deficiencies of the former real media recordings, we decided to encode all recordings via flash (in a much more fashionable style...see for yourself) now. The itunes version is of course mp4 with h.264 encoding.

Friday, April 25, 2008

WWW in Chinese ....

Hej, on Tuesday I received the very first copy of the Chinese translation of our book "WWW - Kommunikation, Internetworking, Web Technologien". Contrarywise to the German original it's a Chinese paperback and therefore also less expensive.'s amazing to know that there are potentially more than 1 billion readers ;-)
Finally, I know how to spell my name in Chinese (although I can't read a word of the book...):


Anyway, if you believe it or not, translating the book took more time than writing. I remember that it took me about 15 months to write these 1200 pages. But, the translation itself took more than 2 years. One of the major difficulties was that, although we gave the LaTeX source code to the translator, text being embedded in images and figures was hard to deal with (maybe because I wrote the entire book on a Linux system with xfig for drawing graphics and figures....).

All in all, the translators did a great job and I would like to thank everybody being responsible for the work being done, especially Long Wang from HPI Potsdam for the tedious work of endless proof reading and of course Christoph Meinel for establishing ties to the Chinese publisher Science Press.

Here (at you may find a Chinese advertisement for the book (being already) on discount for only 51.60 Yuan (instead of 69 Yuan...).

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

bibcamp 2008 in Potsdam / Berlin ahead......

After the succesful educamp 2008 in Ilmenau, I would like to draw your attention to the upcoming bibcamp in Potsdam and Berlin, on May 16-17, 2008. Like educamp 2008, bibcamp is being organized as a barcamp. Up to now, we have 45 participants, and more to come...

If you don't know what a barcamp is all about, here are the rules (....thinking about fight club):
1st Rule: You do talk about Bar Camp.
2nd Rule: You do blog about Bar Camp.
3rd Rule: If you want to present, you must write your topic and name in a presentation slot.
4th Rule: Only three word intros.
5th Rule: As many presentations at a time as facilities allow for.
6th Rule: No pre-scheduled presentations, no tourists.
7th Rule: Presentations will go on as long as they have to or until they run into another presentation slot.
8th Rule: If this is your first time at BarCamp, you HAVE to present. (Ok, you don’t really HAVE to, but try to find someone to present with, or at least ask questions and be an interactive participant.)

If you want to know more about barcamps, you might have a look at the following video being produced by the Hochschule für Medien in Stuttgart:


Saturday, April 19, 2008

educamp 2008 in Ilmenau

NEW: The video recording from the first day podium discussion of educamp 2008 is now available via

Today, we are visiting educamp 2008 in Ilmenau (April 18-20, 2008) on behalf of FSU Jena and Educam 2008 is organized as barcamp, i.e. it is almost unorganized. But, with more than 150 visitors the e-learning focus of the 'unconference' obviously has attracted a lot of people.
The day started with a short introduction of everybody with 'name + 3 tags', which really is not so simple. Just try to focus your interests in 3 tags, where at least one tag is reserved for your affiliation, one for your profession, and the last tag for your interests. Oh, but wait. The day did not really start because of a lack of coffee (which is essential for any kind of scientific working...).

For yovisto, we have managed to organize a session in the afternoon (1.30pm, 'Geistesblitz'). Therefore, we have some time for visiting other sessions, connecting to people, and public relations for yovisto... ;-).

ok. 1.30 pm. Our session is streamed live into the internet. You may find the live-stream at mogulus. From my point of view our presentation went very well. We had a lot of interesting questions including comments and advice how to improve the services of yovisto.

Unfortunately, we are a little bit too late for the upcoming session 'slidestar'. Concerning content and targets, slidestar for sure is one of our competitors. They offer an entire framework for authoring, recording, and searching lecture presentations....but only in a proprietary manner. One of the problems of slidestar seems to be the accessibility of slidestar-presentations for search-engines. slidestar is a flash-based application and therefore, linking and indexing the content is not possible for search engines like google. Anyway, they have won the 'Deutscher Bildungspreis 2008'...

Now, we are following a session on 'Exzellenz & Kompetenz' for universities and lecturers given by two speakers from One of the questions being discussed is the motivation for students, which university to choose. Based on the experience of the participants, regional factors seem to be rather important, i.e. students are chosing a university near their hometown or where their friends are. Thus, is 'excellency' really the main criterion for choosing where to study...?

All in all, I really like those barcamp conferences. The athmosphere is much more liberal compared to 'hardcore' scientific conferences, because there is no strict line between gurus, experts, nobel price winners, and new commers. There's discussion everywhere and a lot of new ideas do come up. It's all about networking....and I guess also the 'hardcode' scientific conferences can learn from barcamp.
At least, there have been no conference fees. Everything (lunch, dinner, refreshments, etc.) was for free, thanks to the sponsors. I'm looking forward to my next barcamp, which will be bibcamp in Potsdam/Berlin on May, 17-18, 2008. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

German IPv6 Summit in Potsdam

The German IPv6 summit will take place at Hasso-Plattner-Institute at the University of Potsdam (Germany) on May, 7-8, 2008. On behalf of the German IPv6 Council I am pleased to take the opportunity to invite you all to visit this important event.

The German IPv6 Summit provides two days of International, European, and German experts to address IPv6 technology at work. The first day includes talks about IPv6 strategy and deployment status worldwide, with a focus on Europe, China, Japan, USA, India, and Korea. The second day of the event will complement the program by addressing IPv6 deployment from the perspective of operators and ISPs as well as deployment in the public sector including education, administration, and defence.

As keynote speakers, there will be Vivane Reding, commissioner for information society and media at the European Commission, and Vinton Cerf, vice president and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google (and one of the "fathers" of "the internet" as far as TCP/P is concerned).

For further information including registration, conference venue and accomodation, please visit

Hope to see you all at Potsdam in May!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Alive and Kicking... Google 2084

Yep...after several months of abstinence, I'm back, finally.
During the last few months, a lot has happened, in science, in business, and also in private. Thus, there is a lot to talk about and a lot of forthcoming posts. Probably the most complex thing during the last months was to handle two large EU-FP7 proposals as being one of the proposal's core partners, with writing, discussing, conferencing, travelling, conferencing, discussing, and writing again, etc....
Also in my genuine research areas a lot has happened. You might be looking forward to several blog posts on information retrieval, semantic web, semantic search, multimedia retrieval, web of trust, e-Learning, and many more.

Today I just wanted to show you a funny 'screenshot' of what might Google look like in 2084.

Ok. The image is not really new. Actually it was published by Randy Siegel back in 2005. You might also find it in the New York Times. The question is not, if Google would be capable to offer these services, but rather when. Anyway, I guess theese services could be offered much earlier......and (at least) also with a much better user interface.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Aus Osotis wird yovisto - Web 2.0 Video Suchmaschine

Gemäß dem Motto "aus Raider wird Twix" stellt sich die Videosuchmaschine yovisto (vormals "Osotis") auf der diesjährigen CeBIT 2008 im neuen Gewand vor. Was ist neu, außer dass es einen neuen Namen und ein neues Layout gibt? Einiges!

Mittlerweile sind gut 3000 Videos akademischer Lehrveranstaltungen in deutscher und englischer Sprache in yovisto verzeichnet und durchsuchbar. Im Gegensatz zu anderen Videosuchmaschinen bietet yovisto die Möglichkeit, in den Videos selbst nach Inhalten zu suchen, d.h. wenn man z.B. nach dem Suchbegriff "Buchdruck" sucht, bekommt man nicht nur Videos als Ergebnis, die sich primär mit dem Thema Buchdruck befassen, sondern man wird punktgenau an die betreffende Szene im Video geführt, ohne lange selbst im Video danach suchen zu müssen.

Neu ist vor allem das übersichtlichere, durchdachte Layout. Insbesondere die Informationsseiten zu den Videos, die sich von den Benutzern selbst in Form eines Wikis erstellen lassen, bieten vielfach Möglichkeiten, Zusatzinformationen, Zusammenfassungen und sogar themenbezogene Werbung mit einzustellen. Am Auffälligsten aber ist die Darstellung der VIdeoinformation als 'Cover Flow', wie wir es ja schon von Apple's iPhone oder vom Leopard Betriebssystem her kennen (siehe unten)

yovisto ist auf der CeBIT 2008 in Halle 9, Stand D04 vom 4. - 9. März in Hannover und natürlich jederzeit im Netz unter zu sehen. Wer uns auf der CeBIT am Stand besucht, bekommt exklusiv einen Original yovisto-Button (limitierte Auflage) geschenkt!

P.S. Beitrag mit yovisto im Thüringen Journal (via, vom 4.März 2008, 19 Uhr