W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org > June 2007

Re: RE: RE: [hcls] A map of the Semantic Web for life science and health care

From: Mark Montgomery <markm@kyield.com>
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2007 14:58:29 -0700
Message-ID: <003701c7b518$77f73240$a100a8c0@Inspiron>
To: <samwald@gmx.at>, "Pat Hayes" <phayes@ihmc.us>, <VKASHYAP1@PARTNERS.ORG>
Cc: <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>, <eneumann@teranode.com>

See an opportunity to chime in here and perhaps provide perspective from my 

First, I hate to put a damper on enthusiasm and passion, provided of course 
it's not wasted on beating one's head against a wall for no reason, which is 
too often the case in my business and history.

Secondarily, visualization and the use of maps can be very useful in 
communications- with some more than others. Otherwise we wouldn't be using a 
mouse. I would caution against attempting to show the enormously broad areas 
such as "healthcare" as it's nearly impossible, or even the semantic web. 
I've reviewed some of the efforts to use mapping for the entire web or 
portions thereof- unless it can be totally automated with full participation 
and enormous drill downs like physical/earth search engine maps, few have 
sufficient resources even if it could be managed well.

I would also add that one shouldn't cave into peer pressure even in a 
collaborative forum as that would have stalled most important innovations. 
If a person sees value in something that others don't, well that's how we 
evolve- by demonstrating it. Academia in particular is obviously famous for 
protecting turf and tearing down good efforts (including squashing funding) 
that later proved not only valid, but superior to the status quo. While I 
find myself agreeing often here with Pat, and it's a good question, I don't 
think there is any question on the answer- maps do have value, particularly 
when linked/functional- but it all depends on the map which of course 
depends upon the technology and not only the skills of the creators, but 
also their understanding of what needs to be shown.

While on the topic, I'd like to share some views on the semantic web from a 
business perspective. Unlike the web, the semantic web has failed to become 
widely adopted in a short period of time, so the criticisms are often valid 
and it would be foolhardy to disagree with much of it as it is factual. Of 
course the dollars flowing into R&D make admitting that very difficult for 
those who have conflicts, which is almost everyone, and that's not good for 
the medium or goal. Truth works best regardless of how difficult to accept. 
However, that's not to say in the least that the incremental tech advances 
used between partners in private, or that which can be shared publicly, is 
of any less value. The potential value for society, particularly in science, 
is huge. Interoperability is essential as is collaboration. But make no 
mistake that our world has finite resources and even the most charitable 
investments must demonstrate that the investment is worthwhile- otherwise 
the resources will flow elsewhere eventually. And much of this frankly 
represents intellectual property even from universities and foundations- 
even government agencies don't share much.

Unfortunately, it is true that universal standards often conflict directly 
with the interests of the prospective users and stake holders- particularly 
the entrenched, so aligning interests is obviously essential and very 
difficult. The internet and web were both historic exceptions of immense 
proportions, but they are not the only. As a practical matter, it is very 
difficult for me to find viable business and economic models relating to the 
semantic web and ontologies other than simply consulting and services of the 
type we've seen clustered around D.C.- but that's a relatively tiny portion 
of even a niche. That is a problem for wide adoption, as is the complexity 
of the tools. And the more free work that is done at higher quality, the 
more acclimatized customers become to receiving services and products for 
free, so the barriers to entry for innovators (sustainable economics) become 
ever greater. The law of best inentions is alive and well here and 

Generally speaking, it's been my observation over time that highly focused 
entrepreneurial efforts can be very effective in overcoming many of these 
obstacles, and frankly better than loose knit collaborations, but it's also 
extremely challenging to serve new technologies and products to the 
enterprise market. .02- MM

Mark Montgomery
CEO, Kyield
Managing Partner
Initium Venture Capital

This e-mail and any attachments may contain confidential and
privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient,
please notify the sender immediately by return e-mail, delete this
e-mail and destroy any copies. Any dissemination or use of this
information by a person other than the intended recipient is
unauthorized and may be illegal.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <samwald@gmx.at>
To: "Pat Hayes" <phayes@ihmc.us>; <VKASHYAP1@PARTNERS.ORG>
Cc: <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>; <eneumann@teranode.com>
Sent: Friday, June 22, 2007 2:11 PM
Subject: Re: RE: RE: [hcls] A map of the Semantic Web for life science and 
health care

>> I was beginning to wonder about that. What
>> exactly (or even approximately) is the purpose of
>> making these diagrams?
> To see what ontologies/data we have.
> To see where we have real connections between them.
> To see where we do not have these connections.
> To see which fields of the very broad area of 'health care and life 
> science' are being covered at the moment.
>> Are they supposed to
>> convey useful information to somebody?
> Yes.
>> to who?
> To us current developers.
> To potential future developers.
> To people that want to use our Semantic Web creations and don't know what 
> we have to offer at the moment.
> To people with general interest in ontologies and web technologies.
> To people that try to criticize the Semantic Web for being a mere academic 
> vision.
> To W3C members that want to evaluate what the HCLS IG has actually 
> accomplished during its existence.
> cheers,
> Matthias Samwald
> ----------
> Yale Center for Medical Informatics, New Haven /
> Section on Medical Expert and Knowledge-Based Systems, Vienna /
> http://neuroscientific.net
> .
> -- 
> Psssst! Schon vom neuen GMX MultiMessenger gehört?
> Der kanns mit allen: http://www.gmx.net/de/go/multimessenger
Received on Friday, 22 June 2007 21:58:51 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 17:20:28 UTC