In the restaurant of the future, you will always enjoy the perfect meal with that full-bodied 2006 cabernet sauvignon, you will always know your dinner companions’ favorite merlot, and you will be able to check if the sommelier’s cellar contains your favorite pinot grigio before you even check your coat. These feats of classic cuisine will come to the modern dinner through the power of Semantic Web technology.
Web scientist and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Tetherless World Research Constellation Professor Deborah McGuinness has been developing a family of applications for the most tech-savvy wine connoisseurs since her days as a graduate student in the 1980s—before what we now know as the World Wide Web had even been envisioned.
Today, McGuinness is among the world’s foremost experts in Web ontology languages. These languages are used to encode meanings in a language that computers can understand. The most recent version of her wine application serves as an exceptional example of what the future of the World Wide Web, often called Web 3.0, might in fact look like. It is also an exceptional tool for teaching future Web Scientists about ontologies.
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The Digital Enterprise Research Institute at NUI Galway will be holding the second Web Science Trust Doctoral Summer School from 6 to 13 July 2011.
The Summer School at DERI will provide a unique cross-disciplinary grounding in techniques for Web analysis. A mix of national and international contributors will deliver lectures and seminars on the dynamics and dimensions of the Web. Applicants are not necessarily expected to have a computing background, though some technical knowledge of computing and the Web would be advisable. Participants will have also have an opportunity to work in small groups on topic-specific breakout sessions.
Topics include: Detecting and acting upon risks and opportunities on the Social Web; behaviour and use roles in online communities; impact of governance on collective user behaviour; mining the Web as a multidimensional network; achieving Web-scale networked knowledge; complex systems analysis; social dynamics of the Web.
For further information see the Summer School Web site: http://webscience.deri.ie
A new report on future science from the Royal Society, London, features Web Science as one of the key areas of scientific exploration this century.
The Royal Society celebrated its 350th anniversary years with a series of high-level discussion meetings which featured the key scientific questions of the 21st century. Web Science was one of those important areas and a two-day meeting at the Society’s headquarters in London in September 2010 drew a capacity audience to hear distinguished speakers from around the world discuss many aspects of the Web’s impact on science and society.
To complete its celebrations the Royal Society has now published a report entitled ‘Science sees further’, which contains contributions from the organizers of all the discussion meetings and summarizes the most important aspects of their subjects. The Web Science article is written by Professor Nigel Shadbolt, Professor Dame Wendy Hall, Professor James Hendler, and Professor William Dutton.
The article explains why the Web is now crucial for the future development of society, outlines the progress that has been made in understanding some of its key features, and explains how the scientific study of the Web can benefit society’s endeavours in the future. It places the intellectual challenge of Web Science firmly on a par with climate science, the breadth of the life sciences, and the exploration of the Universe and makes a powerful plea for the importance of an integrated multidisciplinary approach to understanding the Web:
‘If we are to anticipate how the Web will develop we will require insight into our own nature and the dynamics of policy and practice worldwide. Web Science is not only a new frontier, it is an endeavour that will bring together a new generation of enquiring minds.’
Video recordings of all the contributions to the September Discussion Meeting – Web Science: A New Frontier, can be accessed on the Royal Society’s web pages.