Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Help Us with a Research Problem

As you might know, we already have tried previously to let the public participate in our research. Last time, we have had developed several games (with a purpose). This time, unfortunately it is not a game, simply because the development of a good game is really expensive. But, let's get to the point. What is the task all about, where you can help us....?

You know, my research group is working on semantic technologies. Semantics in that sense means, we are trying to (automatically) understand what information (or data) is all about and what is the meaning of it. Sometimes, information is ambiguous. This makes it difficult to understand, because you have to solve ambiguities with the help of context.

On the other hand, sometimes you have various different information about a subject. How do you determine, which information or fact is more important or relevant than another? Just a quick example. Let's assume we have the following two facts:

(1) Albert Einstein is a physicist.
(2) Albert Einstein is a Vegetarian.

Which of the two facts is more important or relevant? Yes, this is difficult to answer, simply because the truth often lies in the eye of the beholder. For a vegetarian, maybe the second fact is more important. But, what about the most common opinion? What would the mainstream think? Probably, most people would say that fact (1) in general is more important.

So, what we are doing is that we develop heuristics that determine the importance of facts (relative to other facts). To get an idea about the quality of our heuristics, we have to do an evaluation, i.e. somebody has to decide whether the decision of the heuristics was wrong or right. Unfortunately, there does not exist a ground truth for this task called "fact ranking". Therefore, we are about to create a new ground truth that later will be publicly available and open for all researchers.

This ground truth is achieved with the little 'voting' application that you will find here [1]. You just have to register with the tool and then the task will be explained to you in detail. We took 500 popular concepts from Wikipedia and you have (1) to think about the most important facts about these concepts that come to your mind and then (2) rate the (new) facts presented to you according to their relevance. There is no right or wrong answer. Just vote as you think it seems right for you. Afterwards, we will aggregate all votes from all participants to determine the general (mainstream) relevance of the presented facts.

You might interrupt your rating of the presented facts at any time you like and continue later. To make it a bit more interesting, you can also score points and of course there is a highscore list. We would really appreciate your help in this task. Please do also spread the word. The more participants, the more valid our ground truth will be.

We know that this is a difficult and sometimes rather boring task. The more we would be really grateful for your assistance!

[1] Fact Ranking Web-Application,