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Re: Notes from informal Demo F2F / "aha"

From: Mark Montgomery <markm@kyield.com>
Date: Wed, 7 Mar 2007 09:31:58 -0700
Message-ID: <009701c760d6$2305f7d0$a100a8c0@Inspiron>
To: "Alan Ruttenberg" <alanruttenberg@gmail.com>
Cc: <olivier@nlm.nih.gov>, <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>

Thanks Alan for the explanation- helps those of us not engaged in the phone 
conferences to understand, which is of course necessary in order to add 

> value of component research? (not sure what you mean)
Making an argument for more research investment in this particular area.

Some food for thought, for what it's worth.

- Highest rating was for universal standards (which I can appreciate), 
however the audience is expected to consist of semantic web enthusiasts, so 
it would seem to be singing to the choir a bit, which means to me a high 
potential for peer acknowledgement, but low potential for impact where it's 
needed for adoption..... unless the goal is to gain traction with developers 
(expect to be likely), and/or decision makers for investments (somewhat less 

- Appears to be highly influenced by intrinsic motivation, which is good for 
reaching consensus with others similarly motivated (scientists), but not 
with those who are extrinsically motivated (and/or charged with fiduciary 
financial responsibility that allows very little in the way of emotions in 
decision making). This could use some light perhaps.

One thing I've learned all these years in observing computing standards 
versus any other type of industry standard is that the platforms and budgets 
are controlled by those with extrinsic motivation, and in order for adoption 
to gain traction alignment of interests must take place.

It's sometimes helpful particularly for those intrinsically motivated (I am 
both btw on this topic) is to remember that the largest and most influential 
universal standard that affects every organization is the simple math in 
finance, and because of that the CIO and CFO usually have veto type power 
relating to adoption of technologies. Realize this is not always necessarily 
the case in R&D organizations where early adoption and experimentation is 
appropriate, but in order to address many of the goals that are obviously 
shared by nearly everyone, the technology must be adopted outside of the 
individual disciplines. I think that's clearly one of the biggest impacts 
universal standards can bring, but we've yet to see in a significant manner 
in healthcare.

The interests by virtually everyone outside of healthcare now is primarily 
about reduction of inefficiencies and lowering of costs (soon to be 20% of 
GDP in U.S. and still growing rapidly), and think it's fair to say that most 
are looking to IT investments in general and the Web (standards) to a less 
extent in providing a solution. In other words, from a broader context of 
benefiting society, focus on the cost side is without a doubt a priority for 

So for example showing how much more productive a scientist can be in a very 
specific case, or better yet an MD in the field (sorry if this is redundant 
with previous brainstorming). For example, I recently saw a TV interview of 
an MD raving about Allen's Brain Atlas, paraphrasing: "it saves us months of 
work and provides a better result". That's the sort of result that appeals 
to scientist and administrator alike.....

.02 MM

Mark Montgomery
Founder, Kyield

> The audience for the next demo is the WWW conference, who are  expected to 
> be semantic web enthusiasts. Our goal is to show them how  semantic web 
> technologies can be realistically be used, at scale, in  an area of 
> importance to our society, namely science. The submitted  title of the 
> presentation is "Harnessing the Semantic Web to Answer  Scientific 
> Questions". Much of our audience will not be familiar with  the domain, 
> but some might. On our side we want the questions to be  interesting, and 
> the answers to be plausible, even if the majority of  the audience might 
> not be able to assess that, since that's what  gives us the confidence to 
> got out there and say this stuff is useful  and workable. For the audience 
> we will want to expose what  technologies we are using, and how, why we 
> like them, what issues we  have, what developments we want to see, and 
> where we are going next.  I expect that we will be contrasting what we 
> have with other methods  of getting to answers, such as google or pubmed 
> searches, and showing  that our results are more specific, more 
> comprehensive, and easier to  absorb, than the alternatives. The audience 
> will want to see our work  as template for how other areas of societal 
> importance (and they  themselves) could benefit from the technology. For 
> some reason I keep  having that quote from Blade Runner in my head: "if 
> only you could  see what I've seen with your eyes".
> That make sense?
> Do others who are working on the demo have anything to add (or  disagree 
> with any of this?)
> -Alan
> ps. here's what you asked for (all my views, without deep thought)
> functionality and value of languages/OWL? (5)
> informatics?  (0 - given)
> universal standards? (8)
> value of component research? (not sure what you mean)
> specific tools? (3)
> And relative to- patient care? (5)
> lowering healthcare costs? (I'll say 2, since the route is indirect,  via 
> better science)
> more accurate/faster diagnosis? (3, same reason)
> fewer errors? (6)
> And/or? (Less wasted effort;  more informed scientists: unlocking 
> knowledge for computational exploration; more value for your research  tax 
> dollar)
Received on Wednesday, 7 March 2007 16:32:34 UTC

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