High Tech Vienna

Museum of Modern Art, Vienna

Last week I traveled to Vienna for a few days meeting with Andreas Blumauer, Alois Reitbauer, and Max Wegmüller (Sun) to work on Semantic Web/tagging related ideas. These were a few very intense days and evenings with discussions going late into the night at the Heurigen.

We looked at Semantic Wikis - especially the java based ikewiki and the famous mediawiki (see comparison) for ideas on how one could link search, tagging and wikis. Ikewiki has some very nice features, including relation completion which is somewhat akin to method completion in modern java IDEs. If Ikewiki knows the type of the resource it is on, it will be able to use ajax calls to list a number of possible relations. Ikewiki is probably not stable enough for immediate deployment though as we had trouble after Andreas entered a contradictory statement into it [1]. I will have to play with this more to get a better understanding of where things are going in this area. Please send me any suggestions of other cool semantic wikis I should look at.

Another thing I am going to have to look into more detail now is the question of scalability of Semantic Web tools and the size of applications that have been deployed. People don't yet have a good feeling as to the size of projects being developed currently, and it worries them. There are large databases out there now that can do billions of triples such as Allegrograph, BigOWLIM, or Oracle's 10g database... Projects such as neuroweb as described by "Semantic Web Meets e-Neuroscience: An RDF Use Case" are using the Semantic Web in big ways. I don't like to talk about things I don't know about, so I should probably find the biggest projects, interview some of the people there and blog about it.

After three days of hard work I had a short visit around Vienna. The picture I had of Vienna was one of an old town full of beautiful old monuments, and so I was nicely surprised to find something completely different. On Friday evening I walked into a Cafe near the Semantic Web School, on Lerchenfelder Gürtel, and found an excellent funk band called Groove Coalition playing (pix of bar, pic of band). The next day I walked around Vienna and ended up in the museum district, where I visited the museum of modern art (pictured above). As I had to be at the airport at 5am I decided to stay overnight in the Cafe Leopold which stayed open until 4am.

On the whole it was a very enjoyable stay, and I wish I could have stayed longer. A full set of pictures is available on my flickr account under the tag vienna.

[1] Andreas made a page be both a foaf:Document and a foaf:Person which are defined as disjoint sets: foaf:Person owl:disjointWith foaf:Document. In fact this must be a little tricky thing to do correctly in a semantic wiki, as the URL for the page has to be a Document and not the thing one wishes to describe. To do this right each page should therefore have a #about anchor which would be the thing the page is about, such as Java or the Black Box. If a page needs an anchor, it may as well have a number of them too, so that one could describe a number of concepts on the same page, which may well sometimes be handy...

Comments:

Good to see the report! Re. "I should probably find the biggest projects, interview some of the people there and blog about it" - please do, this would make great source material for SWEO.

Posted by Danny on February 26, 2007 at 12:49 PM CET #

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