Dame Wendy Hall elected a Fellow of the ACM

Professor Dame Wendy Hall has been elected a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the world’s largest organization for computing professionals.

Dame Wendy was President of the ACM from 2008 to 2010, the first person from outside North America to hold this position in the ACM’s prestigious 60-year history. Her Fellowship was awarded ‘for contributions to the semantic web and web science and for service to ACM and the international computing community.’

‘I am very honoured to be elected a Fellow of the ACM,’ said Dame Wendy, ‘and to be recognized both for my research and my service to the international community, which is a very significant part of my work.’

Hugh Glaser talks at UKOLN

The talk was “entitled Co-rereference and sameAs.org”.

It took place at the University of Bristol on the 14th Of January 2011. The aims of the UKOLN (the United Kingdom Office for Library and Information Networking) are to inform policy and practice in the areas of digital libraries, metadata and resource discovery, distributed library and information systems, bibliographic management, and web technologies. It is funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) of the Higher and Further Education Funding Councils and the European Union.

Seme4 Speakers at British Museum Study Day

Prof Dame Wendy Hall and Hugh Glaser both gave presentations at a study day organised for the ResearchSpace Project by the British Museum on “Cultural Heritage and the Semantic Web British Museum”.

The event was attended by both policy-makers and technologists from cultural institutions from around the world. Dame Wendy gave a keynote address, and Hugh gave a presentation on “Museum data, where next – consuming linked data”.

Seme4 were also pleased to support the event by providing sponsorship.

Study Day Web Page

Nigel Shadbolt named Government IT Thought Leader

The influential web site Silicon.com has named Prof Nigel Shadbolt as a leading Government IT Thought Leader 2010.

Silicon.com writes: “Professor Nigel Shadbolt has helped demonstrate how technology can open the doors on public information locked away in Whitehall.

“In June 2009 Shadbolt and world wide web creator Tim Berners-Lee were appointed information advisers, tasked with finding ways of harnessing tech to reuse the reams of data collected by public bodies.

“The pair’s work led to the creation of data.gov.uk, a website designed to allow access to all non-personal data collected by government. The website already links to thousands of datasets, covering topics ranging from public transport routes to details about the highest earners in government.

“The public are already finding interesting new ways to use data.gov.uk’s information – turning it into easy-to-digest graphics or web and smartphone apps that allow the data to be mashed up with other information to create useful new insights.

“The coalition government has retained Shadbolt’s services, appointing him to the Public Sector Transparency Board, a body that is setting open data standards to make it easier for information to be shared across the public sector. He is also chairman of the Local Data Panel, which seeks to improve access to data held by local government.

“Shadbolt’s spirit of openness has taken root in Whitehall – with the government setting up transparency.number10.gov.uk, a website designed to publish details of Whitehall department business plans, government spending and other information.

“Outside his public sector work, Shadbolt is professor of artificial intelligence and deputy head for research at the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton.

“Shadbolt is a director of the Web Science Trust, and of the World Wide Web Foundation – organisations that seek to advance our understanding of the web and promote the web’s positive impact on society.

“He is a fellow of both the Royal Academy of Engineering and BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, and has previously served as BCS president.”

Other leading figures named by Silicon.com include Martha Lane-Fox, Digital Champion, UK Government; Erik Huggers, Director of Future Media and Technology, BBC; and Tom Steinberg, Founder, mySociety.org web sites.

Nigel Shadbolt talks at Royal Society

The talk, entitled “Opening the information floodgates: the technologies and challenges of a web of linked data,” was part of the Royal Society’s programme of lectures for the public on the latest developments in science and technology.

The lecture took place on the 16th of November 2010. Professor Shadbolt discussed the opportunities offered by the rapidly increasing amount of information available on the Web and the emergence of the Web of Linked Data. He also discussed the challenges these developments pose, such as maintaining privacy and integrity of data.

Semantic Web Researchers gather in Shanghai

At the recent International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC) in Shanghai, Seme4 researchers were again active.

Wendy Hall, Nigel Shadbolt, Hugh Glaser and Ian Millard were all able to attend, and take part in the lively discussions.

They had papers in both the main ISWC conference (on “How to Reuse a Faceted Classification and Put it on the Semantic Web”) and the important associated First International Workshop On Consuming Linked Data (COLD2010) on “Consuming Multiple Linked Data Sources: Challenges and Experiences” and “Linked Timelines: Temporal Representation and Management in Linked Data”.

Dame Wendy Hall to chair EU Advisory Group

It has been announced that Prof Dame Wendy Hall will be the new chair of ISTAG – the Advisory Group for the future direction of the European Commission’s ICT research beyond Framework 7.

ISTAG is mandated to provide advice on strategy, objectives and scientific and technological priorities which will shape future research programmes, and the 25 members are drawn from leading universities and communications companies across Europe.

Dame Wendy is excited about her new role, saying that ‘as chair of ISTAG, it is all about bridging the gap between academia and industry to ensure that research funding that is available is used to best effect. ISTAG has a very important role to play in shaping the future of ICT research in Europe.’

Nigel Shadbolt and Sir Tim Berners-Lee head new Institute for Web Science

The Government recently announced the creation of the new Institute for Web Science. It is designed to make the UK the hub of international research into the next generation of web and internet technologies and their commercialisation, and was announced by the Prime Minister alongside plans for a radical opening up of information and data to put more power in people’s hands.

The new £30 million institute for Web Science will lead the way in Web 3.0 It is designed to make the UK the hub of international research into the next generation of web and internet technologies and their commercialisation, and was announced by the Prime Minister alongside plans for a radical opening up of information and data to put more power in people’s hands. The Institute will conduct research, collaborate with businesses, identify opportunities for social and economic benefit, assist in commercialising research and help Government stimulate demand through procurement.

The web was originally a place where people published documents that users could search and pick up. Web 2.0 has enabled users to contribute and create web content more easily. Web 3.0 will take the web to a whole new level by publishing data in a linkable format so that users and developers can see and exploit the relationships between different sets of information.

The development of these technologies will create significant new opportunities for business and the public sector. The impact of these technologies is likely to be as important as the creation of the original web, and could generate large-scale economic benefits for the UK in the global market for web and internet technologies. The role of the Institute will be to undertake research and development, and act as a bridge between research and business, helping commercialise these new technologies. It will also advise Government on how semantic technologies can be used in the public sector, and how public procurement can be used to speed their adoption.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that £30 million would be set aside to create the Institute for Web Science. It will be headed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the British inventor of the World Wide Web, and leading Web Science expert Professor Nigel Shadbolt.

Speaking in London the Prime Minister said:

“We want to build on the outstanding work Sir Tim and Nigel Shadbolt have put in to ‘making public data public’. We are determined to go further in breaking down the walled garden of Government, using technology and information to provide greater transparency on the workings of Whitehall and give everyone more say over the services they receive.

“This Institute will help place the UK at the cutting edge of research on the Semantic Web and other emerging web and internet technologies and ensure the Government is taking the right funding decisions to position the UK as a world leader. We will invite universities and private sector web developers and companies to join this collaborative project.”

The Institute, to be funded through the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, will strengthen the UK’s world-leading capability in the development of semantic web technologies as well as others that enable the extraction of value from information. It will bring together the best minds from around the world to deliver the benefits of advances in web technology to businesses and individuals.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said:

“British innovation brought the web to the world. This Institute will ensure the UK remains at the forefront and that we anticipate and fully exploit the economic and social benefits of future developments.”

Whether it is to allow our research institutions and innovative businesses to maximise and demonstrate the strength and attractiveness of their networks, or to ensure we make the most of clinical information to improve our understanding of disease, a new web revolution is afoot.

Government support for this Institute as well as early adoption of these emerging technologies in the public sector arena will allow the UK to lead the way and help pull this technology through to the market place.

The Institute for Web Science will be jointly based in the Universities of Oxford and Southampton. It is still subject to contract.