UKUUG: Automated Website Synthesis

Siu-Wai Leung’s talk Automated Website Synthesis was quite an eye-opener for me at UKUUG 2003:

Basically, Siu-Wai presented a proof-of-concept how to apply Artifical Intelligence (AI) and Semantic Web technologies to transform annotated content to a Website. Read it again! His talk was not only about how to present annotated content on a Website, no, it was rather about how to automatically create a Website from annotated content! In fact, what he talked about was ontology-based web content development and design.

He perfectly demonstrated the use of such an approach for aviation accident reporting. The tools he used are the HEIDI ontology (HEIDI is the abbreviation for “Harmonisation of European Incident Definition”). Furthermore, upon any aviation accident, a sophisticated pilot report form has to be filled in. Furthermore, data is automatically being recorded storing e.g. the altitude and speed of the airplane. Based on that data, Siu-Wai was able to create a graph showing the altitude of the plane, or a tree of events of the aviation accident.

The Website prototyping was done using a Simple Website Interface Model (SWIM), the Web Modelling Language (WebML). More on the technology behind can be found in Siu-Wai’s paper (PDF).

At the end of his talk, Siu-Wai summarized that the ontology-based mapping of information, Website, and perception is an AI problem (that’s his mapping hypothesis). He presented some ideas of how this could be achieved in the future. I very much liked his idea to use genetic programming to mutate the design of single Webpages or complete Websites to find the most suitable format to present the information to the user – an intelligent way of adaptive and personalized C/KMS.

That was a cool talk 😉 The aviation accident reporting demo seems like a perfect prototype to exemplify the possible advantages of AI and the Semantic Web. Also, the idea of genetic mutations of info visualization acknowledges the reality that every individual has a different way of filtering information and offers a higher flexibility in personalized content presentation then the theme-based CMS currently provide.

Collaborative Learning Environments: "KoALA", "Learning Lab"

I met Jan Kiszka at UKUUG and he pointed me to the following two projects:

KoALA
Information seems to be available in German only. The project is about collaborative training software and headed up by the ZDT of University of Hannover.

Learning Lab Lower Saxony (L3S)
“The L3S is part of the Wallenberg Global Learning Network (WGLN) which is coordinated by the Stanford Center for Innovations in Learning (SCIL).

Central research areas of the L3S are:
– Educational Technology and Collaborative Learning
– Digital Media and Semantic Web
– Innovations in Learning
– eLearning Curricula and Content

The work of L3S includes research, consultancy and technology transfer as well as infrastructure and support in the field of innovative teaching and learning technologies. Thereby L3S aims at the permanent introduction and use of these new technologies into education.”

Jan had a nice IBM R40 Notebook with him, maybe that’s my next one 🙂

Sandro talks about the Semantic Web at DRH 2003 Conference

I got invited to the DRH 2003 Conference to provide a presentation on Managing the Semantic Web. The conference takes place from August 31 – September 3, my talk is scheduled at Tuesday, September 2.

UPDATE: Due to some urgent work for a customer, I had to cancel my talk at DRH 2003. Also Peter from DAASI did not have time to go there instead of mine. It’s a pitty because I was looking forward to the conference very much.

Thesis 2: Think Different!

Most Semantic Web or AI discussion is about finding adequate information with intelligent retrieval systems. Ontologies are used to identify content based on formalized knowledge, either by automatic statistical reasoning or by human annotation. Usually, knowledge management applications concentrate on one ontology for a certain area of expertise to provide retrieval systems for a specific group of users aka experts.

The Semantic Web will be very much about communication/interaction between different, even contradictory world views. Ontologies are the computational equivalent to value systems because they define terms/concepts and their relationship. For future content or knowledge management systems, this means, that they must be able to handle multiple ontologies. Especially, if we think of innovation as based on new insights, multiple ontologies applications become interesting to knowledge based economies. Just imagine applying different, maybe contradictory ontologies aka world views to a specific or global information pool.

One major prerequisite for such a sophisticated system of multiple and interactive realities and interpretations based on ontologies, is that ontologies become easy and inexpensive to create. Also, they need to be transfered between applications. In this respect, Weblogs could server as an initial start, because here individuals categorize their Weblog entries based on self-made, usually flat structure of categories. Although this does not meet the requirements of ontologies, it would be interesting to see Weblogs not only interact on the basis of Weblog entries (e.g. via trackbacks), but also related to their catalogs/subjects/categories.