Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Helping computers identify real meaning

The lightning rise of the internet and the development of advanced search technologies have created the greatest storehouse of information ever seen. Yet the very speed of this growth has brought its own problems. Which content is the wheat, and which the chaff? The METOKIS project aimed to help.

A major obstacle stands astride the road to advanced internet search and services. To a computer, words or pictures on a page are just the 1s and 0s of binary language. The meaning, context, purpose and authority of the words are completely lost in the binary field. Computers cannot thresh the semantic, or meaningful, wheat from all the binary chaff.

"Right now there are many initiatives to develop a 'semantic' web, a web where computers understand the meaning of information contained on a web page," says Wernher Behrendt of Salzburg Research and coordinator of METOKIS, a project that investigated use of semantic-web technologies for knowledge-intensive fields such as news services, education and clinical studies.

However, he says, "many of the initiatives overlap each other, or are not compatible with each other, which is slowing down the spread of effective semantic search and services." The METOKIS solution was to develop a new approach based on Knowledge Content Objects (KCOs) and an open-exchange platform called the Knowledge Content Carrier Architecture (KCCA).

KCOs are discrete units of information, typically representing a web page or even a complex multimedia presentation. The METOKIS model identifies information such as the ownership of the data, the data's purpose, licensing information and details about individual information elements within the page. The KCCA provides the infrastructure that allows KCOs to find, identify and interact with each other, combining to provide new services.

"We developed KCOs from an existing ‘foundational’ ontology called DOLCE, which sets out all the elements relevant to an individual Knowledge Content Object. Users can pick and choose whatever elements are relevant to their purpose," says Behrendt. "In some ways, the KCO is comparable to books – what you put in between the covers is up to the author, but once it is in the shape of a book, you can store it, sell it, look up what it is about, check whether it belongs to you, and of course, read it! The good thing about KCOs is that they enable the computer to do the same!"

Over time, KCOs and KCCA-like systems could provide a method for finding and using any information or any service automatically. Behrendt gives the example of education publishing. The METOKIS partners developed a working demonstrator for educational publishing, one which could allow a school to automatically identify and purchase information from various content sellers for the curriculum of a particular course. All without human intervention.

The project partners also constructed demonstrators for news services and the development and analysis of clinical trials, a particularly challenging area. "In clinical trials, no two studies are alike, even if they deal with the same drug and the same disease. It makes it very difficult to collect clinical trials together to identify broad trends," says Behrendt.

A KCO-based system would enable researchers to compare studies much more quickly, helping them overcome the difficulties of synthesising the results from several clinical trials into a 'meta-study'. Such meta-studies can be enormously valuable, since they draw information from much larger samples than individual studies.

One side effect of the project work was the development of a clinical trials ‘wiki’ (a website where visitors can add or edit content). This new kind of ‘semantic wiki’ helps researchers to design clinical studies, establishing the number of patients required, the breakdown in their ages, gender, condition, and frequency of therapy.

Another key METOKIS innovation was the development of a methodology to analyse the business argument for new semantic services, something which is an essential but often neglected element of technology research. "We developed tools and methods that can help businesses to establish if a new semantic service provides extra value," says Behrendt.

The METOKIS project was extremely ambitious, essentially creating a new model for semantic services. "Our reviewers were impressed with the work we achieved, they said the scope of our project could have taken thirty six months, whereas the project only ran for twenty two months," says Behrendt. "As a result, we are now writing the papers we did not have time for while the project was still running."

Even so, participants in other projects are already excited by the KCO model and intend to incorporate it into their own research. QVIZ is a cultural heritage project developing a semantic framework for archival services, and it will use the KCO model, as will the Integrated Project LIVE in the broadcasting sector. Similarly the aceMedia integrated project for mobile content will also base its content objects on the DOLCE model.

The success of METOKIS has also prompted the launch of a new two-year project in Austria. The GRISINO project combines GRID computing, semantic web services and intelligent objects based on the KCO model. Here the KCCA infrastructure will be re-implemented using a brand-new Semantic Web Services Model developed within another integrated project called DIP.

"The strategic partnerships with big research and industry players are beginning to pay off in terms of impact - a large Spanish telecommunications company wanted to join METOKIS after the project had started, and they have now joined QVIZ in order to take part in the KCO idea." says Behrendt.

Source: Based on information from METOKIS

Jernett Karensen | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Fraunhofer FIT joins Facebook's Telecom Infra Project
25.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions
21.10.2016 | Stanford University

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>