Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Press Release 70/2008

Connections and Links Matter

KIT Researchers Are Working on Rapid and Meaningful Links in Knowledge Networks – Semantic Web Conference at Karlsruhe
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Meaningful links: KIT researchers want to link knowledge.
(Photo by: Nils Gräber, Universität Karlsruhe)


Knowledge in networks can only be used efficiently, if it is linked rapidly and in a meaningful manner by automatic processes. This is the opinion of researchers, who will meet at the 7th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2008) from October 26 to 30 at the Kongresszentrum Karlsruhe. The conference is organized by the scientists from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Research Center for Information Technology (FZI) with their industry partners. All of them are involved in a current application of semantic technologies: The Karlsruhe City Wiki.

Professor Rudi Studer from the Institute of Applied Information Science and Formal Description Methods (AIFB) and president of the Semantic Web Science Association (SWSA) explains what the scientists intend to do: “We want to teach information and communication systems to understand contents and contexts.” According to Studer, it is no longer possible to manually evaluate in a satisfactory manner all information that is accessible worldwide via various sources and in various formats. For this reason, the researchers want to enable the networks to interpret the meaning of data and, thus, to link knowledge in a meaningful manner. Only then will they “actively support man in an increasingly complex world”, underlines Studer. If the context is understood by the machine, the latter does no longer have any problems with the amount of information and the nesting of relationships, contrary to man.

Among the major developments of the research groups of Rudi Studer is the semantic extension of Mediawiki – a software used to operate wikis, text systems, in which users do not only read, but can also make entries. The best known example is Wikipedia. In Semantic Mediawiki, the users are supposed to provide the context when entering the information already. For this purpose, their entries are linked with meta data. These meta data are attached to the entry like file cards or labels.

A group of the AIFB also supports the establishment of the Karlsruhe City Wiki, a planned internet portal for the region of Karlsruhe. The portal is operated by the non-profit Bildungsverein Region Karlsruhe e.V. that also launched the Karlsruher Stadtwiki. During the ISWC, the portal will be started and free authors can link their contents and add information. It is based on the technology of the Wikipedia online encyclopedia. The AIFB provided a tool that interprets the contents. Apart from entries in English, French, and possibly also in other languages, this is the decisive further development according to Wilhelm Bühler from the Bildungsverein: “For authors, work is facilitated considerably”. For instance, if authors correct the date of birth in a contribution on margrave Karl Wilhelm and this date also appears in a contribution on his year of birth, the latter date is changed by the system automatically. ”Here, the links are given a meaning”, says Bühler.

The ISWC 2008 will focus on such standards and methods suitable for the practice. Ramesh Jain, entrepreneur, researcher, trainer, and professor for information and computer sciences at the University of California, Irvine, will present examples of semantic solutions for the management of multi-media formats. John Giannandrea, one of the founders of Metaweb Technologies, a company that commercialized Freebase, a semantic database, will present the approach adopted by his enterprise and will point out how information on an object in various information sources can be linked unambiguously and appears in a reply.

The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is the merger of the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, member of the Helmholtz Association, and the Universität Karlsruhe. This merger will give rise to an institution of internationally excellent research and teaching in natural and engineering sciences. In total, the KIT has 8000 employees and an annual budget of 700 million Euros. The KIT focuses on the knowledge triangle of research – teaching – innovation.

The Karlsruhe institution is a leading European energy research center and plays a visible role in nanosciences worldwide. KIT sets new standards in teaching and promotion of young scientists and attracts top scientists from all over the world. Moreover, KIT is a leading cooperation partner of industry.

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Contact for this press release:

Klaus Rümmele
Presse, Kommunikation und Marketing (PKM)
Phone: +49 721 608-48153
Fax: +49 721 608-45681
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