- Daniel Boisvert
- 04/Mar/2013 14:50
Since Christmas I have been frantically researching the
Semantic Web, since , frankly, the available technology blows my mind. Last week I had the opportunity to attend a
small conference in Cambridge MA focusing solely on Semantic Technology in the
Life Sciences (CSHALS). I learned quite
a few things that I thought would be good to share.
Data Integration – You know how integrating two
studies worth of data is really really hard?
It shouldn’t be, but there are always little things that throw off the ‘just
set the datasets together.’ Now imagine
trying to integrate all of the worlds’ information. THAT would be impossible. But, THAT, is exactly what Semantic Web is
trying to do (and largely succeeding).
And if they can do it at this massive scale, then I think it is worth trying
it out with our humble data.
Cooperation without Coordination – This is huge. In typical technologies, for Cooperation you
need a lot of Coordination. You have to
get everyone in a room, decide what you are going to do and agree to it. This has a high cost associated with it, and
is flat out impossible (in my opinion) if the people you are trying to coordinate
are direct competitors or simply have nothing to do with each other. Well, what if you could still get the ‘Cooperation’
without this ‘Coordination.’ Think of
the flexibility this would add. People
could continue to work like they do now, but at the end the data would be able
to be integrated.
RDF – The standard for representing data. I’m not going to try to explain it (though it’s
not difficult). You can read about it
here. Also note that RDF is one of the
technologies that the FDA is looking at for a data exchange format (replacement
of XPT files). .
OWL – Whenever I mention ontologies to people
they get scared. They think it’s
something complex that they’ll never understand. It’s not.
I think of it as standard vocabulary. You’ll get it.
Start with some videos.
There is a lot to learn – Being at this
conference taught me that there is some mind-blowing life-altering technology
This is my new pet project, so I’ll be blogging more about