Friday, October 24, 2003

Engaging the Hackers

How the Semantic Web Will Really Happen "What makes me think, you may be asking yourself, that the hackers and the LAMP crowd will ever work on the Semantic Web effort? After all, the open source world isn't exactly a hotbed of knowledge representation, formal reasoning, and logic programming. Ah, dear and gentle reader, I'm glad that I made you ask yourself that question, for now I can deploy my simplistic analogy with the Web itself. Before the Web, the free software world -- as it was called back then -- was, first, considerably smaller. As others have noted, the Web was an enabling technology for the hackers as much as the hackers (by creating the LAMP platform) enabled the Web itself. But, second, before the Web the free software world was hardly a hotbed of relational database, hypertext, and document markup technology. The Web was the motivation for an entire generation of hackers to learn SQL, SGML, XML, and so on.

It's not much of a leap to think that the promise of the Semantic Web may fuel a new generation of hackers to learn RDF, OWL, and rule systems. I anticipate that, at some point, we will talk about, say, an RORB (RDF, OWL, Rules, Bayes) platform for Semantic Web development."

"Aside from conference considerations, there are other things we can all do. Professors should encourage (or mandate?) their students to use open source software whenever possible, to participate in relevant open source projects and communities, to use open source resources like SourceForge in order to increase the visibility of research and increase the prospects for mutually fruitful collaboration. Finally, everyone in academia should think about the lesson of n3."
Post a Comment