Wednesday, November 5, 2014

ISWC2014 Trip Report

A few highlights from five intensive days at the International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC2014) in lovely Riva del Garda. See also my previous blog post Preparing for ISWC2014 and my live blog from all five days using Storify.

ISWC2014 Storify

Strong industry presence

ISWC is a research focused conference. However, this year it had a strong industry prescence with a full day Industry track, Semantic Developer workshop and many of the Lighning Talks came from industry. It was great to meet Business Analysts and Information Architects from large companies such as Roche, Genentech and NXP Semiconductors and also from small companies such as the Danish StatGroup.
  • All five Information Architects in the Data Standards Office at Roche / Genentech attended all five days to learn more about latest in semantic web research, especially traceability and provenance. Frederik Malfait, working for Roche and FDA/Phuse, described their RDF implementations of clinical trial data standards is the basis for a model driven architecture enabling computable protocols, component based authoring and automation of setting up clinical trial databases and generating submission datasets.
  • Marc Andersen, one of the two founders of StatGroup, presented the experience of the Pharmaceutical Users Software Exchange (PhUSE) developing a semantic representation of statistical results based on RDF and OWL. Providing clinical trial results as linked data will facilitate traceability, data sharing and integration, data mining and meta-analysis benefiting industry, regulatory authorities and the general public.
  • A business analyst described how NXP Semiconductor is making use of Semantic Web technology such as RDF and SPARQL to manage a product taxonomy for marketing purposes that forms the key navigation of the NXP website. 

Hot topics: Developer friendly, Linked Data Fragments, Provenance and Semantics for Sensors

  • The Semantic Developer Workshop and the conference program included many examples of RDF and SPARQL support in traditional programming languages, such as Java, Perl, C# and Javascript, as well as in data science languages, such as Python and R. The Semantic Developer of the Year, Kjetil Kernsmo, from Oslo University, presented RDF/Linked Data for Perl. JSON-LD was refereed to as the the developer-friendly serialization of RDF.
  • Many of the presentations described how they applied the Provenance standard from W3C for "information about entities, activities, and people involved in producing a piece of data or thing, which can be used to form assessments about its quality, reliability or trustworthiness." One example was how the standards had been used event based traceability in pharmaceutical supply chains via automated generation of linked pedigrees.
  • Semantics for Sensors for every-thing from smart building diagnostic,  traceability  in pharmaceuticals supply chain, and traffic diagnosis to predicting frost in vineyards on Tasmania.
  • "Everyone" talked about the work presented on the best awarded poster: Linked Data Fragments "so light-weight that even a Raspberry Pi can publish DBpedia (Wikipedia structured content) with high availability" 

Best workshop paper award

It was very nice to present our joint EHR4CR, Open PHACTS, SALUS and W3C HCLS paper. It got a best paper award in the pre-conference workshop: Context, Interpretation and Meaning for the Semantic Web.

Other ISWC2014 reports