Hope or Hype

steelsquareInternet and Web Development

Oct 20, 2013 (4 years and 23 days ago)

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Semantic Web Agents:
Hope or Hype

Nicholas Gibbins

School of Electronics and Computer Science

University of Southampton

The Cynic’s View


The Semantic Web and agent technologies
are just old
-
fashioned artificial intelligence.


Artificial intelligence hasn’t delivered on its
previous promises, so why should it now?

What is the Semantic Web?

The Semantic Web is an extension of the
current Web in which
information is given a
well
-
defined meaning
, better enabling
computers and people to work in cooperation.

It is the idea of having data on the Web
defined and linked in a way that it can be

used

for more effective discovery, automation,
integration and reuse

across various
applications.

The Web can reach its full potential if it
becomes a place where
data can be
processed by automated tools as well as
people
.

W3C Activity Statement

Example: Scientific American article

Tim Berners
-
Lee

James Hendler

Ora Lassila

The Semantic Web

Scientific American

vcard:fn

vcard:fn

vcard:fn

dc:title

dc:title

dc:creator

akt:publishedIn

dc:creator

dc:creator

2001
-
05

dc:date

Relation and object types are

defined in a machine
-
understandable

form


an ontology

The Semantic Web layer cake

XML + Namespaces

URI

Unicode

Signature

Encryption

Rules

Proof

Trust

RDF

RDF Schema

OWL

Identity

Standard syntax

Metadata

Ontologies +

Inference

Explanation

Attribution

SPARQL

(queries)

User Interface and Applications

Semantic Web

c. 2004

The Semantic Web Hype Cycle

Technology

Trigger

Peak of Inflated

Expectation

Trough of

Disillusionment

Slope of

Enlightenment

Plateau of

Productivity

Visibility

Maturity

Gartner

Which Semantic Web?

Semantic Web as the Annotated Web



Enrich existing web pages with annotations


Classify web pages


Use natural language techniques to extract
information from web pages



Annotations enable enhanced browsing and
searching


(but NLP is hard)

Which Semantic Web?

Semantic Web as the Web of Data



Expose existing databases in a common format


Express database schemas in a machine
-
understandable form



Common format allows the integration of data in
unexpected ways


Machine
-
understandable schemas allow reasoning
about data


(make the most of the structure you already have)

Rocket Science (not)

Is this rocket science? Well, not really. The Semantic Web,
like the World Wide Web, is just
taking well established
ideas, and making them work interoperably over the
Internet
. This is done with standards, which is what the
World Wide Web Consortium is all about. We are not
inventing relational models for data, or query systems or rule
-
based systems.

We are just webizing them.

We are just
allowing them to work together in a decentralized system
-

without a human having to custom handcraft every
connection.


Tim Berners
-
Lee, Business Case for the Semantic Web,
http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/Business

e
-
Science and the Semantic Web


e
-
Science characterised as:


Large
-
scale science


Distributed global collaborations


Very large data collections


Very large scale computing resources



Data integration will be a major issue


Capture, publish, reuse data


Agreed vocabularies for data exchange


Improving the information
environment for chemists


both within and beyond the lab


Supporting chemists in the
preparation, execution, analysis
and dissemination of their work

http://www.smarttea.org/

Data Capture: The Lab Notebook

Publish and Reuse

http://ecrystals.chem.soton.ac.uk

Exchange Vocabularies


BioPax Ontology (biological pathways)


Metabolic and signalling pathways, molecular
interactions


Gene Ontology (genes and gene products)


Molecular function, cellular component, biological
process


NCI Cancer Ontology


Diseases, drugs, anatomy, genes


(and many others from other disciplines)

What are Agents?


Many definitions of agent


Mobile agents


Collaborative agents


Social agents


Interface agents


Three broad perspectives:


Agents as design metaphor


Agents as technology source


Agents as simulation

Agent Based Computing


Societies of components, owned by different
organisations


Components provide services to each other


Computing as a social activity


Workflows and Planning


Coordination, Collaboration and Negotiation


Markets and auctions


Models of trust and reputation



Managing the distributed processing of data

The Agent Hype Cycle

Technology

Trigger

Peak of Inflated

Expectation

Trough of

Disillusionment

Slope of

Enlightenment

Plateau of

Productivity

Visibility

Maturity

Agents

c. 1995

Agents

c. 2005

What’s different this time?


First agent wave assumed that a special
agent infrastructure was needed


Hindered integration with existing systems


Several high
-
profile failures in the marketplace


Second agent wave is building on existing
technologies such as Web Services


Incremental approach that integrates existing
systems


Can be aligned with related work on Grid
Computing

Grid Computing


e
-
Science applications typically have very high
computational requirements


Grid Computing provides an infrastructure for


Flexible, secure, coordinated resource sharing


Dynamic collections of individuals, institutions and
resources


Virtual organisations


Workflow management



Social computing, in effect

http://www.combechem.org/

X
-
Ray

e
-
Lab

Analysis

Properties

e
-
Lab

Simulation

Video

Diffractometer

G
rid Middleware

Structures

Database

Properties

http://www.mygrid.org.uk

The Next Generation Grid

“The ongoing convergence between Grids, Web Services
and the Semantic Web is a fundamental step towards the
realisation of a common service
-
oriented architecture

empowering people to create, provide, access and use a
variety of intelligent services, anywhere, anytime,

in a
secure, cost
-
effective and trustworthy way.


Next Generation Grids 2

Requirements and Options for

European Grids Research 2005
-
2010 and Beyond

EU Expert Group Report
July 2004

The Semantic Grid


Grid Computing + Semantic Web


Information and services are given a well
-
defined meaning


Uses SW technologies


OWL, RDF, etc


Ontologies for describing services


Better enables computers and people

to work in cooperation


Requires coordination and planning capabilities
found in agent technologies

Hope or Hype?


Web Services and Grid Computing are
already a reality


The Semantic Web is being used in large
-
scale e
-
Science applications


Agent technology is approaching maturity,
and offers management of rich patterns of
interaction in service
-
oriented systems

Thank you!