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Re: discussion about Semantic Web realization

From: Ioachim Drugus <sw@semanticsoft.net>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2008 19:38:09 +0300
Message-ID: <4818A071.6010801@semanticsoft.net>
To: Maciej Gawinecki <mgawinecki@gmail.com>
CC: semantic-web@w3.org

We are a group of developers in Moldova, who think that SW is the 
project to *build the planet Earth  intelligent infosphere* - we believe 
this is put it right terms.

Before I write my thoughts on this topic, I would share on the  status 
of SW in Moldova, second to the smallest ex-Soviet republic, now an 
*independent* country. The smallest (2mln) republic was Estonia - in 
post-Soviet times they built the Skype. In Moldova (2.4mln) we hope to 
build some good solutions for SW.  The capital Chisinau city was an 
electronic city during USSR and we had a strong mathematical logics 
school due to systematic research on superintuitionistic logics, which 
started here. Currently Moldova is the "poorest county in Europe",  it 
is not member of EU, it has great economic problems and lowest salaries. 
But also in Moldova the expenses are the lowest in Europe, which invited 
massive outsourcing it became a "small India in Europe". Unfortunately - 
no projects on SW.

I am sure, Moldova can serve as a good development base for the 
outsourced SW projects! This is also an invitation - I would be happy to 
help to any company or organisation willing to spend less on development 
of SW by outsourcing it to my country.

At SemanticSoft, Inc. located in Moldova, we finance our SW research and 
development from money we earn on custom software and our salaries are 
lower than salaries of foreign companies in Moldova. Despite this, many 
professionals prefer to work with us and develop SW because they believe 
in SW great future. We cooperate with Moldova State University, 
Technological University and Economics Academy. They already started 
work on adding semantic technologies to their post-graduates curriculum. 
Even though slowly, the interest to SW is steadily growing in Moldova. I 
don't know where and how to start looking for research on SW to be 
outsourced to our universities, and will be grateful if somebody 
suggests or helps.

Now, I will share two thoughts on Maciej's message, which precisely 
articulates the problems of growth of SW.

1. Search engines are not alternative, but complementary to SW. Really, 
SW is about *integration* on the global scale and *building* the logical 
layer of the web, and SE is about *search* in the *presentation layer*.  
SE and SW live in different spaces - they cannot compete.

2. I will try to articulate the problem which stay in SW progress 
towards industry and on  how to overcome it.

SW works only with *descriptions* - SW tools process only descriptions. 
On the other side, we have the classic web, which works with *resources* 
- all classic tools work with *resources* with poor meta-data 
management. Their is a gap between the two. In order to fill this gap, 
we need to build tools of the *resource description* class.  A *resource 
descriptor* (our term) is a tool which links the two sides and can make 
classic web and semantic web work together. When such a tool is built, 
the SW will become a great business. Our SemanticServer is built along 
these lines

S-Server does two main things:
- Management of resources in repositories built on the Java Content 
Repository standard, JSR-170  (classic web)
- Description of content by ontologies (semantic web)

S-Server has incepient  *resource description* features. We started 
another project to build a separate *resource descriptor* product which 
could work with any other tools.

Ioachim Drugus, Ph.D.
Main Architect,
SemanticSoft, Inc.

Maciej Gawinecki wrote:
> Dear all,
> During our studies we are organizing discussion on realization of SW. I
> agree that the topic is quite provocative but we are execting it will
> result in interesting discussion with exchange of real arguments.
> I know some of the prosecutor' statements (below) and I would be
> grateful if you could point me some materials about similar discussion,
> or commenting some of these statements. Or you can simply comment them
> yourselves...
> Thank you for your help,
> Maciej Gawinecki
> -----
> Prosecutor statements
> Berners-Lee's World Wide Web was not the first "Web", only the first
> that succeeded on a large scale. There were numerous reasons for this:
> - decentralization, no central database of content and links
> - one-way links, requiring no cooperation, approval from the link target
> - a simple protocol (HTTP) and markup format (HTTP) that anyone could
> adapt and copy
> - no established competitors serving the same need
> - significant commercial interest in selling more PCs, online services,
> net access, etc.
> - no critical mass required to make the Web interesting and useful
> The Semantic Web, in contrast:
> - requires a measure of centralization in order to make sense of
> schemas, i.e. the semantics cannot be built in to every client as the
> semantics of HTML and HTTP were built in to browsers
> - requires much more cooperation from data sources (e.g. link targets)
> - is based on a complex markup (RDF) that's difficult for
> non-programmers to work with
> - has to compete with its predecessor and many other technologies
> - has very little commercial interest, unclear revenue model, etc.
> - requires a critical mass of participating sites to be interesting and
> useful
> Most importantly, the development of the World Wide Web was driven by
> the need to solve real, primarily technical problems. The Semantic Web
> was also invented in order to address a real problem (sorting through
> information) but because of the reasons above and the existence of
> alternative solutions (e.g. Google) the same driving need has failed to
> materialize. The Semantic Web is a classic "second system"
> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second-system_effect).
Received on Wednesday, 30 April 2008 16:39:03 UTC

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