RE: Keeping the Faith


There have been some excellent discussions in response to your email. As the integration program manager for the DARPA Agent Markup Language (DAML)I became a true believer. The DAML project started with RDF and extended the concept to allow significant representation capabilities based on descriptive logic principles, resulting originally in DAML, which eventually evolved into the Web Ontology Language (OWL). I believed the representation capabilities of OWL were adequate, and attractive enough, to allow communities of interest to develop semantic representations of their specific domains in a way that would interact with each other, eventually providing a standard semantic representation of most of the important information on the web. That didn't happen. One underlying issue was tension between the idea of migrating HTML web page information into a semantic representation and the idea of providing semantic representation of large raw data sources instead of HTML data. Of course, ideally you could do both, but they require different approaches and dilute the technical research capabilities available to find viable solutions. Another issue is the tendency to develop competing technical solutions, sometimes based on the desire for companies to own a proprietary solution, and sometimes based on the natural desire to build a better mousetrap. This is reminiscent of the history of the ADA programming language. At the time there were true believers that ADA could become the universal standard for large-scale computer programming - providing huge benefits in reusable code and friendly interactions between independently developed applications. The same sort of tensions pulled on the concept of ADA. Companies wanted proprietary solutions and researches made valid points that no single language could cover all their individual needs.  

So, where does that leave us. Research and development will continue on aspects of the semantic web concept. Actual implementations of specific successful solutions within specific domains will continue to occur. A globally accepted single approach to semantic representation in the spirit of the success of the original HTML Web will probably eventually occur. The promise, and scope, of benefits are compelling and I am keeping the faith. However, my expectation for the time of redemption has been extended significantly. 

John Flynn 

-----Original Message-----
From: Brent Shambaugh [] 
Sent: Friday, April 28, 2017 7:12 PM
Subject: Keeping the Faith

General Question:

How do you keep the faith or vision with respect to semantic web and linked data? I'm also in an area where there is not a lot of venture capital (well some) nor (many) people having a lot of understanding of the area. At least it does not score you a talk. Is the field of dreams mentality of "if you build it, he will come"?

-Brent Shambaugh

Skype: brent.shambaugh

Received on Sunday, 30 April 2017 15:33:48 UTC