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The Rationale for Semantic Technologies


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Mike Bergman presents an overview geared to laypersons for why semantic technologies make the best choice for knowledge applications

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The Rationale for Semantic Technologies

  1. 1. The Rationale forSemantic Technologies Michael K. Bergman July 2012
  2. 2. Outline§ Nature of the World§ Knowledge Representation, Not Transactions§ The New Open World Paradigm§ Integrating All Forms of Information§ Connections Create Graphs§ Network Analysis is the New Algebra§ Information and Interaction is Distributed§ The Web is the Perfect Medium§ Leveraging – Not Replacing – Existing IT Assets§ Democratizing the Knowledge Function§ Seven Pillars of the Semantic Enterprise§ Summary of Semantic Technology Benefits 2
  3. 3. Some Caveats Semantic technologies are NOT:  Cloud computing  Big data  Necessarily open data  “One ring to rule them all”  A replacement for current IT systems These ideas are mostly orthogonal to semantics 3
  4. 4. Nature of the World Messy Complicated Interconnected Changing Interdependent Uncertain Diverse 4
  5. 5. Nature of Knowledge Knowledge is never complete Knowledge is found in structured, semi-structured and unstructured forms Knowledge can be found anywhere Knowledge structure evolves with the incorporation of more information Knowledge is contextual Knowledge should be coherent Knowledge is about its users defining its structure and use Knowledge ≡ Nature of the World 5
  6. 6. Knowledge Representation, Not Transactions KR functions:  Search  Business intelligence  Competitive intelligence  Planning  Data federation  Data warehousing  Knowledge management  Enterprise information integration  Master data management Traditional IT has been transaction-oriented  e.g., “Seats on a plane” 6
  7. 7. Current Approaches Have Failed Relational databases:  Structured data only  Inflexible, fragile  Constant re-architecture Business intelligence:  Slow, inflexible  Structured data only  IT-constrained, not user-driven Extract, Transfer, Load (ETL):  Structured data only  Inflexible, fragile High $$$, incomplete, not adaptable 7
  8. 8. A 30-yr Quest to Integrate Content Content and data federation has been insolvable for 30 years since IT systems first adopted:  Structured + semi-structured + unstructured content  Data “silos” and unconnected systems  Incompatible protocols and hardware  85% of content not in databases  Semantic heterogeneities  No universal data model 8
  9. 9. The New Open World Paradigm Opposite logic of closed-world transactions The open world assumption (OWA) means:  Lack of a given assertion does not imply whether it is true or false: it simply is not known  A lack of knowledge does not imply falsity  Everything is permitted until it is prohibited  Schema can be incremental without re-architecting prior schema (“extensible”)  Information at various levels of incompleteness can be combined The right logic for KR problems 9
  10. 10. Integrating All Forms of Information Uses a “canonical” data model (RDF) RDF is a universal solvent for all information:  Unstructured data – text, images  Semi-structured data – markup, metadata  Structured data – databases, tables “Soft” (social, opinion) + “hard” (facts) information RDF can represent simple assertions (“Jane runs fast”) to complex vocabularies and languages Generic tools can be driven by the RDF data model 10
  11. 11. Integrated Data and Tools using RDF 11
  12. 12. Connections Create Graphs Things and concepts create nodes Relationships between things create connections (“edges”) Adding things leads to more connections More connections leads to more structure Coherent structure leads to more knowledge and understanding The natural structure of knowledge domains is a graph 12
  13. 13. Graphs Grow Naturally with Knowledge 13
  14. 14. Benefits of Graphs (ontologies) Coherent navigation Flexible entry points Inferencing Reasoning Connections to related information Ability to represent any form of information Concept matching  integrate external content A framework for disambiguation A common vocabulary to drive content “tagging” 14
  15. 15. Network Analysis is the New Algebra Network analysis provides new tools for gauging:  Influence  Relatedness  Proximity  Centrality  Inference  Shortest paths  Diffusion Graphs can represent any structure Many structures can only be represented by graphs 15
  16. 16. Information and Interaction is Distributed Knowledge is everywhere People and stakeholders are everywhere External information needs to be integrated with internal information A uniform access protocol/framework is desirable to:  Preserve existing information assets  Reflect the diversity of data formats 16
  17. 17. The Web is the Perfect Medium All information may be accessed via the Web All information may be given Web identifiers (URIs) All Web tools are available for use and integration All Web information may be integrated Web-oriented architectures (WOA) have proven:  Scalability  Robustness  Substitutability Most Web technologies are open source 17
  18. 18. A Distributed Web-oriented Architecture 18
  19. 19. Leveraging – Not Replacing – Existing IT Assets Existing IT assets represent:  Massive sunk costs  Legacy knowledge and expertise  Stakeholder consensus  Yet, still stovepiped Semantic technologies are an interoperability layer over existing IT assets Preserve prior investments while enabling interoperability 19
  20. 20. Democratizing the Knowledge Function Move from bespoke software to knowledge graphs Knowledge graphs can be constructed and modified by:  Subject matter experts  Employees  Partners  Stakeholders  General public Graph-driven applications can be made generic by function, visualization Graph-driven applications democratize KR 20
  21. 21. Seven Pillars of the Semantic Enterprise 21
  22. 22. Summary of Semantic Technology Benefits Can deploy incrementally  lower risks  lower costs Excellent integration approach No need to re-do schema because of changed circumstances Leverages existing information assets Well-suited for knowledge applications Can accommodate multiple viewpoints, stakeholders Leadership visibility to the Forum 22