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trip report W3C Technical Plenary 2003-03-03 - 2003-03-07

From: Libby Miller <Libby.Miller@bristol.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2003 13:41:11 +0000 (GMT)
To: public-esw@w3.org
cc: ilrt-semanticweb@bristol.ac.uk, ilrt-mostly <ilrt-mostly@bristol.ac.uk>
Message-ID: <1059641436.IAA22192@phantom.w3.org>

I recently attended the W3C technical Plenary in Boston:


This was the third such event (they happen yearly). They are a
week of working group and interest group meetings with an all-group
meeting on the Wednesday. The working groups meetings are sometimes
open to observers, sometimes not; the plenary is completely open. The
main event for me this time was a "Semantic Web Architecture Meeting" -
an ad-hoc group created to address various semantic web issues, which
met all of Thursday 6th and Friday 7th. The meeting page now contains
links to the relevant parts of the logs, as well as attendees:


A major issue in this meeting and in general in the week (at least
among the people I met) was RDF query.
Chartering an RDF query language working group has seemed like a good
idea to some people for a while, but it was unclear what the scope would
be (e.g. should it be rules and query or just query; should it be
restricted to a simple language or encompass complex ones; should it
include protocols). Alberto and Andy's usecases doc seems to have meant
more discussion on the matter.


There were several query specific meetings: a birds of a feather lunch
on Wednesday; a 2 hour evening meeting on thursday, and several hours in
the Semantic Web architecture meeting on Friday. Various logs are
available for all except the lunch meeting:

http://www.w3.org/2003/03/06-swarch-irc from 23:31:19
http://www.w3.org/2003/03/07-swarch-irc from start to 01:15:29
(Thursday night BOF)
and 13:20:53 to 15:40:32 (and lightning talks afterwards - for Friday
morning session)

The Friday query session was the most formal, led by Tim Berners-Lee,
and centering around his document:


So, if work were begun in this area, formally or informally, more or
less in chronological order, one might hope to see:
Abstract syntax of query language - probably described in RDF.

Definition of a few conformance levels (monotonically increasing in
features supported)

A common concrete syntax in compact (non-XML) form

Ontology for description of inference services provided by a service.

A set or sets of standard functions

A profile or profiles which combine the above to enhance
interoperability, when experience with common engines is sufficient to
define interop levels.

My impression was that there was eventually some agreement that such a
working group would need to start with the basics first, probably RDF
query only, starting with simple queries. This was after extensive
discussions about the relationship between rules and RDF query, in the
BOFs and in the Friday session.

Personally, I think we can get a long way without a working group, for
example by creating testcases for interoperability, as is our intention
in the RDF query meetings run as an input to the SWAD-Europe
deliverable 7.2 (the new query testcase page that Dan
Brickley made is at http://www.w3.org/2003/03/rdfqr-tests/).

Here's what I did in the week.

Mon 3rd

Did one of my action items from calendaring, namely wrote up how to
generate the RDF iCalendar schema using CWM:


Talked to Eric Prud'hommeaux about his work mapping RDF query langauges
to relational databases, and creating relational database structures
from a group of RDF triples. Pointed him in the direction of Jan
Grant. Eric has a document about this:


Chatted with Pat Hayes, Harold Boley, EricP, Danbri about query and
rules. Pat talked about his experiences in creating DAML QL.

(Daml QL:
http://www.daml.org/2002/08/dql/dql (model)
http://www.ksl.stanford.edu/projects/dql/syntax.shtml (proposed syntax)

Thought that it might be useful for testcases for query if there
was a converter between various RDF query syntaxes; wondered how
possible this was. Hacked on query code in the evening.

Tuesday 4th

Talked to Hugo Haas about his calendar usecases, and Bert Bos about the
calendar stuff he's been doing:


At lunch talked with Benjamin Grosof and Harold Boley about rules and

Later spent a long time getting conversion to work between various query
languages. The result was a first pass at a query converter:


Thusday 6th

Semantic web discussions, see

http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/meetings/tech-200303/#logs and individual
entries in http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/meetings/tech-200303/ for each

A great deal was discussed. The meeting page has links to logs and
references. Three sections stood out for me:

1. RDF applications (Dan Brickley/Dan Connolly)

A discussion of what vocabularies people use in the room, and what RDF
data is out there:


2. Embedding RDF in html (led by Ralph Swick)

Some of the html WG came along, and Steven Pemberton presented a
possible way of getting around the issue that RDF in html cannot be
validated by DTD:


There was some discussion of the possibility of anXML syntax for
N-Triple, and also a discussion of XML schema and RDF:
"DanC: It's not possible to write one-last-true-schema for
RelaxNG does much better.
Several people expressed interest in helping HTML WG make a better meta
Jos de Roo: If you can't do it by value, due it by reference

3. Social meaning discussion (led by Jeremy Carroll)


Evening meeting about rdf queries and rules - see

http://www.w3.org/2003/03/06-swarch-irc from 23:31:19
http://www.w3.org/2003/03/07-swarch-irc from start to 01:15:29


Semantic web discussions, see

http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/meetings/tech-200303/#logs and individual
entries in http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/meetings/tech-200303/ for each

The query discussion interested me the most - see above for my
impressions about that. There were also a number of lightning talks,
many about query.

There were interesting presentations for Liddy Neville and from Guus
Schreiber about best practice, education and outreach.




My photos from the week are at


Received on Thursday, 13 March 2003 08:41:59 UTC

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