News and Updates on the KRR Group
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Source: Think Links

As a computer scientist, I’ve always found it inspirational talking to people from other disciplines. There are always interesting problems where computational techniques could be applied and also questions about what we would have to improve in order to use technology in these disciplines. I also know from talking to a range of people (biologists, communication scientists, etc) that they often feel excited about the opportunity to work with cutting edge computer science.

But even with excitement on both sides, it is hard to engage in interdisciplinary work. We are often pulled to our own communities for a variety of reasons (incentives, social structure, vocabulary…) and even when we do engage, it is often only for the length of one project. Afterwards, the collaboration dwindles.

The VU (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) through the Network Institute has been putting effort in trying to increase and extend interdisciplinary engagement. In June, Iina Hellsten and I organized a half-day symposium for discussion about collaborations between social science and computer science. It was successful in two respects:

  1. It generated excitement.
  2. It identified a set of challenges and opportunities for collaboration.
We followed up this symposium two months later (Aug. 28, 2009) with a second meeting this time focused on turning this excitement into concrete initiatives. We had 13 participants this time again with attendees from both computer science and social science.

The meeting started by breaking into three groups where we spent about 40 minutes generating concrete collaboration ideas in the context of the 4 challenges and 4 opportunities identified at the last meeting. We ensured that each group had members from computer science and social science. After that session each group presented their top 3 ideas. Groups were good at using the “technology”:

After this session, the group selected three areas of interest and then discussed how these could be concretely acted upon.

Here are the results:

1. Advertising collaborations

One issue that came up was the difficulty in knowing what the other discipline was doing and whether collaboration would be helpful.

  • Announcement of talks on a central site. Simply, if the agent simulation group in CS is having a talk perhaps the organization architectures social science group would want to know about it. We thought we could use the Network Institute Linked In Group for this.
  • Consulting. I thought this was a fun idea… Here, one could advertise their willingness to spend 1/2, 1, or two days with a person from the other discipline advising and helping them out with no expectations on either side. For example, if a social scientist wanted to have help running a large scale analysis, a computer scientist could help for a day without expecting to have to continue to help. Likewise, a computer scientist wanting a social scientist to check if their paper on analyzing twitter was theoretically sound, the social scientist could spend a half day with them. It was proposed that the Network Institute could offer incentives for this.

2. Interdisciplinary master and PhD student projects.
Collaborating through students can provide a way to build longer lasting collaborations.

  • One initiative would be to advertise co-supervised masters projects hopefully as soon as this November.
  • Since PhD students usually require funding, it was felt there needs to be more collaboration on obtaining research funding between faculties. One challenge here is knowing what calls could be targeted. To attack this problem, we thought the subsidy desk at the VU could start a special email list for interdisciplinary calls.

3. Processing large-scale data
Large scale data (from the web or otherwise) was of interest to a big chunk of the people in the room. There was a feeling that it would be nice to know what sorts of data sets people have or what data sets they were looking for.

  • As a first step, we imagine a structured event sometime in 2011 where participants would present the data sets they have or what data sets they are looking for, and what analysis they aim to do. The aim of the event would be to try and build one-to-one connections across disciplines.

I think the group as a whole felt that these ideas could be straightforwardly put into practice and would lead to deeper and lasting collaborations between social and computer science. It would be great to hear your ideas along with comments and questions below.

Filed under: academia Tagged: collaboration, computer science, network institute, social science, vu

Lael Schooler gave a talk on LarKC at “European Society for Cognitive Psychology Summer School in Computational and Mathematical Modeling of Cognition” in Mallnitz, Austria, 9-19 July 2010.

by Yi Zeng

Following the release of LarKC Chinese Website (http://cn.larkc.eu/) and several Chinese document related to LarKC (including translated user manual, introduction paper, slides, etc.), the LarKC project provides a LarKC Chinese Forum(http://www.w3china.org/larkc) to the Chinese Semantic Web researchers, developers and users.

The forum is located on the W3China website (The most influential Chinese WWW developer website which is devoted to promote W3C related technologies). We thank W3China for providing the special forum on their website. LarKC members are available for answering LarKC related questions and many up-to-date LarKC news, document will be shared through this forum.

In the mean time, LarKC is going to have the 4th early adopters tutorial in Beijing in Nov 13th, 2010. We will select questions, requirements through the forum and discuss them during the tutorial.

LarKC is very proud to be connected with Chinese WWW researchers, developers and practitioners. We are looking forward to meeting you on the  LarKC Chinese Forum !

by Zhisheng

The Chinese government has decided to make a big move to “Internet of Things”.  That may make China a semantic web superpower in coming few years.  Recently Ron Callari wrote an interesting article to make such an analysis:

China’s ‘Internet Of Things’ To Become Semantic Web Superpower?

The LarKC Consortium is going to have a project meeting in Beijing in November 2010. During the meeting, LarKC will have the 4th early adopters workshop in China. That is considered to be an important dissemination activity in China for LarKC.
We expect the act will capture much attention of the researchers and developers from China universities and industry, and perhaps some officers from the Chinese government. Urban computing and its stream processing and reasoning in the LarKC WP6 case study is considered to be one which provides a strong connection between the Semantic Web technology and Internet of Things.

We are glad to announce that the LarKC Platform Release v1.1 is now available in our repository on http://larkc.sourceforge.net.
The redistributable package can be downloaded from our collaborative development environment, LarKC@SourceForge at:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/larkc/files/Release-1.1/larkc-release-1.1.zip/download (OS independent)

The source code belonging to the release can be checked out from SVN at:

https://larkc.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/larkc/tags/Release-1.1

The complete (updated) manual for both users and developers can […]

We are glad to announce that the LarKC Platform Release v1.1 is now available in our repository on http://larkc.sourceforge.net.

The redistributable package can be downloaded from our collaborative development environment, LarKC@SourceForge at:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/larkc/files/Release-1.1/larkc-release-1.1.zip/download (OS independent)

The source code belonging to the release can be checked out from SVN at:

https://larkc.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/larkc/tags/Release-1.1

The complete (updated) manual for both users and developers can be found at:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/larkc/files/Release-1.1/LarKC_PlatformManual_V1_1.pdf

If you need any support or want to give us any feedback, don’t hesitate to contact us at:

  •  larkc-user-support@lists.sourceforge.net (if you want to use LarKC)
  • larkc-dev-support@lists.sourceforge.net (if you are or are willing to become a LarKC developer)

If you are interested in discussions around the LarKC Platform, don’t hesitate to participate in our forums at:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/larkc/forums/

We hope you enjoy LarKC and we are looking forward to your feedback!

The LarKC Platform development team

Source: Think Links

One of the things that I think is great about the VU (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) where I work is the promotion of interdisciplinary work through organizations like the Network Institute.  Computer Science is often known for interacting with biology, physics, and economics but we are now seeing the application of computing to Social Science problems. This is great for CS because domains often introduce new fundamental CS problems.

To talk about the overlap and potential opportunities for greater Social Science and Computer Science collaboration at the VU, Iina Hellsten (from Organization Science) and I organized a half-day symposium on Tuesday, June 29, 2010. We had a great environment for the discussion in the Intertain Lab (a space for investigating new interactive environments).

We had 17 participants about half from the Social Sciences (covering organization science, communication science, to psychology)  and half from Computer Science.

We started off with talks setting the scene from myself (on the CS side) and Peter Groenewegen and then moved to a series of shorter talks giving us a glimpse of the different focuses of some of the attendees. Even during these talks, there was clearly excitement about the possibilities for collaboration and there were several interesting conversations about the work itself.

The last part of the symposium was a session where we identified challenges and opportunities. We ran this as a post-it note session where each participant wrote two challenges and two opportunities on post it notes. (I got this idea from Katy Börner at her NSF Workshop on Mapping of Science and the Semantic Web. Thanks Katy!). Amazingly, these post-it notes always cluster together. Below is an image of the results of the session:

The group identified 8 different groupings of the 60 challenges and opportunities listed by the participants. They were:

  1. How do we bridge the vocabulary gap between social science and computer science?
  2. We have the opportunity to build new applications using insights from social science.
  3. Writing new proposals and fundraising.
  4. Knowing who in the other discipline is working on a particular subject and maintaining connections between the disciplines.
  5. Being able to answer new research questions.
  6. Having an opportunity to apply research results in the “real world”.
  7. Automating parts of social science analysis (think network extraction from data sets).
  8. Overcoming the differing research styles of the two disciplines especially in terms of publication cycles.

Below we list the actual text of the post-it notes grouped into the 8 areas.

The outcome of the symposium is that now that we’ve identified clusters of challenges and opportunities, we need to focus on concrete collaborations to address these areas. We will hold another session in September to discuss concrete actions.

Overall, this event showed me that at the VU, we have both the right structures but the right people to engage in this sort of interdisciplinary research.

Results of Post-it Note Session:
post-it content challenge or opportunity (c/o) category
More user centered/friendly systems. Not only usability, but also privacy strong communication ties o no category
convience peers (e.g reviewers) c no category
learn to give data (LOD) the right intrepretation o no category
use the methodological rigor (of social science?) to scope your results o no category
exploring/studying area for “design” of techno-social systems o vocab
seduce social scentists to think technical and computer scientist to think social c vocab
mix technical(cs) and social theoris and modes to advance understanding c vocab
deal with some fuzziness of social science models c vocab
time consuming coordination or alternatively miscommunication c vocab
different mindsets conceptualizations c vocab
it is difficult to develop shared understanding of theory c vocab
it is difficult to find common levels of abstraction c vocab
integrate low level network analysis with higher level models from social sciences c vocab
different sorts of thinking in cs and social social science c vocab
combining conceptual work to “bridge” the gap c vocab
very different outlook on research c vocab
speaking/interacting using the “same” vocabulary c vocab
finding coomon language between computer & social sciences c vocab
talk similar language c vocab
new applications of technology o new apps
teaching each other concepts/methods o new apps
developing new technology bundles together (e.g. pda-based surveys) o new apps
processing huge bulks of data o new apps
fundrasiing opportunities o funds
socio-technical support for agile social networks in organizations o funds
cross-polinization & cross-fertilization for developing meaningful insights o funds
keeping the connections across exisiting projects c who’s who
knowing who is doing what c who’s who
give overview of who is doing what in this field at the VU (via webpage?) o who’s who
identify the true webscience problems in the convergence of cs & ss o answering new questions
find relevant problems that are now solvable because of ICT solutions o answering new questions
generating new ideas o answering new questions
seeing research problems from new perspectives o answering new questions
provide overview of available methods, etc. o answering new questions
if we work together we can integrate our knoweldge and get a better idea about the big picture o answering new questions
make technical & interpretive knowledge come together o answering new questions
designing studies that have a greate change of producing real insights o real results
understand the social web phenomena like wikipedia, facebook (motivation/quality) o real results
share (experience) tools for network vizualization & analysis o real results
linking concepts that wouldn’t have been associated earlier (underlying frames) o real results
applying the results of the detailed tracking of people o real results
ending up with a lot of manual work to compensate for technical errors c automated analysis
combining social networks and content networks o automated analysis
automating social and content analysis o automated analysis
losing valuable information that might be essential to understanding phenomena c automated analysis
automated analysis & interpretations of social phenomena c automated analysis
thinking that one side (your side) always does things “the right way”. c research styles
interests are divergent c research styles
research timeframes are divergent c research styles
cs need short-term “help” -> pulbication cycle c research styles
different scientific approaches and styles (e.g. publication) c research styles

Filed under: academia Tagged: computational social science, post-it notes, symposium, vu unviersity amsterdam

Prof. Dr. Fensel received an award for the excellent project coordination of LarKC at the event “Austrian Champions in European Research” from the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG).

(By Jose Quesada)Twitter plans to support annotations. Since Facebook started supporting RDFa with their openSocial graph, it was just a matter of time that twitter followed. What are annotations? From Gigaom:

In a nutshell, Annotations would allow developers (and Twitter itself, of course) to add additional information to a tweet — such as a string of text, a URL, a location tag or bits of data — without affecting its character count. In other words, such information would be metadata about the tweet or the user who posted it, and would be carried along as an additional payload as it traveled through the Twitter network. Apps and services could then collect that information and filter it or make sense of it.

It isn’t clear exactly how Annotations will be implemented, but it doesn’t matter, as they are published in some form. This is a gigantic nod towards linked data by one of the largest internet companies (others, such as Google and Facebook both already support RDFa).In some ways, Annotations are like Facebook’s open graph protocol, which also adds metadata to the behavior of users. But they could also be Activity Streams, an extension to the Atom format to represent social objects (see slide 6).There seems to be a lot of interest on real-time web combined with linked data. Alex Passant won the scripting challenge at ESWC2010 with sparqlPuSH, which uses XMPP. And of course there’s C-SPARQL.What this means is that now the three largest social web companies (Google, Twitter, Facebook) all will support linked data formats. It is hard to overestimate this fact. As Bernard Lunn (excellent coverage) puts it:

When gorillas compete, everybody else wins. The logic of the market is increasing support for RDFa by Google, Facebook, Twitter and therefore everybody else.

That is a win for open standards and that is a win for all of us, who can publish RDFa and search RDFa and build tools that make publishing and searching RDFa easier.

The idea of Stream Reasoning originated in Politecnico di Milano in 2007, when I and Stefano Ceri were helping writing the LarKC project proposal. In the last three years, lot of investigation has been done.

Davide Barbieri, Daniele Braga, Stefano Ceri, Michael Grossniklaus, I defined the notion of RDF Stream together with an extension of SPARQL for continuous querying RDF Stream (i.e., our C-SPARQL). Most recently, we also investigated techniques for incremental reasoning on RDF streams. I was invited to give a key note in NeFoRS 2010 and I though that I should have used this opportunity to tell where Stream Reasoning research got so far.

Click on the image hereafter to see the slides!

Click to go to slideshare

Thanks to Frank van Harmelen and Heiner Stuckenschmidt for helping spreading Stream Reasoning concept.
There’s much more to come.

Keep an eye on http://streamreasoning.org