Web Services and the Semantic Web: The AI past, the IR future

1.   Web Services and the Semantic Web: The AI past, the IR future

Henry S. Thompson

School of Informatics

University of Edinburgh,

Markup Technology Ltd.


World Wide Web Consortium

2.   Web Services-Semantic Web

Web Services is the name for a marketing initiative

The Semantic Web is the name for a vision of the future

They have a common dependency

3.   Web Services

My quick summary of Web Services:

Three key aspects:

4.   Semantic Web

Just as XML is SGML specialised for the WWW

You can think about the Semantic Web as UML for the WWW

Initially (RDF) just a simple relation-triple model of assertions about resources

Starting to grow

5.   The Origins of the Semantic Web

The information retrieval crisis beginning in the late 1990s led to a widespread interest in what has come to be called metadata.

What is metadata?

What could metadata do for us?

6.   First Requirements for Metadata

What would we need to make this work?

7.   Meaning is at the Core

Both SW and WS depend crucially on moving beyond syntax

8.   Web Services and the GRID

Services and resources are not electrons

So the metaphors underlying both WS and the GRID can be very misleading

Negotiation between producers and consumers is the key

These observations apply equally well to Web Services and the GRID

9.   Those Who do not Study History

are doomed to repeat it

The history of AI is full of examples of two weaknesses:

25 years ago Ed Feigenbaum described Terry Winograd's work as "a breakthrough in enthusiasm"

10.   The History of the Knowledge Representation Problem

The representation and exploitation of knowledge has been the ultimate grand challenge for Artificial Intelligence since its inception

Our own human intelligence has sometimes been a real handicap

Designing apparently expressive notations is easy

11.   The Missing Inference Engine

What we learned in 1978--79 was that designing an approach to KR without first designing an inference engine was a waste of time

Actually worse than a waste of time

So we were left with an embarrassing tradeoff:

This tradeoff is still with us today

12.   How is a KR System like a Piano?

The title of a 1980 Special Issue of SIGART

KRL, Semantic Nets, KL-ONE, . . .

Where are they now?

CYC was the last and biggest failure

CYC was the grandparent of RDF      

13.   The Semantic Web Today

1 ½ of the four first requirements for metadata I mentioned earlier:

14.   The Semantic Web Tomorrow

Reworking the syntax and cleaning up the model

Starting serious work on Rule, Logic and Trust

Involving probabilistic/statistical processing

15.   Making the connection

Most SemWeb enthusiasts are where the AI community was 30 years ago

Just the beginnings of the next step in the parallel

Karen Sparck Jones's work is headed for a new lease on life!