Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Managing fisheries with semantic technologies

25.06.2008
A semantic software development toolkit designed by European researchers could help the UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) improve its management of the world’s fisheries.

Helping countries manage the world’s food supply sustainably is the challenging task of the FAO. Now the organisation is working with the EU-funded NeOn (Networked Ontologies) project to find better ways to do the job.

The NeOn team is creating an industrial-strength development toolkit for semantic applications, software that works with the meaning of data rather than simply its label or file name.

Semantic applications work by describing information in a way that can be understood by computers. These descriptions are called ontologies.

An ontology defines the concepts and relationships used to describe and represent a domain of knowledge. An ontology specifies standard conceptual vocabularies with which to exchange data among networked systems, provide services for answering queries, publish reusable knowledge bases, and offer services to allow interoperability across multiple systems and databases.

Ontologies make it possible for machines to find valuable information currently buried in databases and on Web pages, saving time. More importantly, the applications access information that might otherwise be missed, and can find unsuspected connections between different pieces of information.

“I like to call it intelligent linking,” explains Johannes Keizer, the FAO’s representative in the project. “At the moment, if you enter the phrase ‘herring diseases’ as a query, you get a list of links, and then you need to go through them to see what’s relevant.

“But with intelligent linking, or ontologies, the query will present you with data on herring diseases, biological information about the species, a list of experts in each disease, links to reported outbreaks, areas where herring are caught, the names of countries – and even vessels – that fish for herring. All this information would be listed by type, too.”

The project’s researchers still have a lot of work to do before the software they are developing reach that stage. However their work with NeOn is a crucial first step, and the NeOn platform makes it a lot easier, says Keizer.

Baptism of fire

There are many projects that have, at the cost of great effort, resulted in semantic applications, but NeOn’s researchers are creating what is called a ‘development environment’. Their strategy is the difference between making just one car and employing a production line so that lots of people can work together to make more cars quicker.

The FAO fisheries test is a baptism of fire for the NeOn platform technology. The FAO is testing the tools as a means of creating an over-fishing alert system as a means of improving the management of the world’s fisheries.

The FAO’s fisheries data is stored in hundreds of vast databases, scattered across the world, using different formats and software platforms.

The FAO also hosts a wide range of data types, with information relating to species, biology, shipping, ecology, migration, and weather. Much of the information is updated in real time.

“The databases are currently a bit like silos, isolated from each other,” says Keizer. “An FAO analyst might have to query many databases to study a particular issue. NeOn will help to develop a system where the analyst enters a query, and the computer finds relevant information from all the databases.”

The NeOn team is creating a toolkit and an overall semantic application methodology. The toolkit currently allows users to link ontologies together across a network. It also allows collaboration between teams. The researchers are also working on an advanced developer interface designed to accept software plugins, or modules, that can extend functionality.

The toolkit is a good fit with the FAO’s efforts to extract the best possible quality analysis from the vast sea of available data.

“We are constantly developing new ways to access and query our databases, like the Fish Global Information System (FGIS), and our work with NeOn will enable us to take the next evolutionary step,” Keizer says. “So far, we have developed the framework for linking diverse databases, but we will be working with the NeOn platform for a long time to come.”

Working with Spain’s pharma sector

The project’s work with Spain’s pharmaceutical sector is also impressive. The researchers intend to put semantic technologies into the hands of non-experts, pharmacists, warehouse managers and others with no background in the field. Currently, one of the tasks of the NeOn platform in Spain is focused on electronic invoicing. Electronic invoicing costs less, moves quicker through the system and is less prone to transcription errors.

But every hospital, distributor and supplier uses different invoicing systems, some quite sophisticated and others still in hard-copy only. Traditionally, the solution would be a gateway that translates all the different invoicing formats and characteristics into one universal standard. The process is expensive, time-consuming and requires expert supervision.

NeOn’s team will use a semantic gateway, one that establishes all the possible invoicing characteristics. End users such as pharmacists and office workers can adapt their invoicing system to a universal standard, on the fly, in real time.

“Without the networked ontologies component of the NeOn platform, it would take a lot longer,” explains Jose Gómez, who manages the Spanish case study for NeOn. “And without the NeOn interface, currently in development, I do not think we could show end users how to use ontologies for their invoicing.”

The end-user test goes live in February 2009. It will be the final validation of the NeOn platform – a rapid application development environment that will take semantic technologies from the laboratory to the real world.

NeOn received funding from the EU's Sixth Framework Programme for research.

This article is part two of a two-part feature on NeOn.

Ahmed ElAmin | alfa
Further information:
http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults
http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults/index.cfm/section/news/tpl/article/BrowsingType/Features/ID/89817

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Five developments for improved data exploitation
19.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

nachricht Smart Manual Workstations Deliver More Flexible Production
04.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>