Slides of Jean Rohmer’s talk

On 17th May, Jean Rohmer gave a talk on Artificial Intelligence and his Semantic Desktop implementation, Ideliance, at DFKI.

See the previous blog entry. Now we have the slides of his talk to be published. Note that the Ideliance slides are similar to the slides he presented at the ISWC2005 workshop on the Semantic Desktop.

The second slides show a nice screenshot of Ideliance (page three), how Jerome Euzenat and Ireland are connected. You will find many known names there.

Gunnar Grimnes celebrates Norwegian National Day

Gunnar celebrates Norwegian constitution day, which is 17th of May!

Note the flag and the stripe on his chest. cool.

Wikipedia explains this behaviour by the following historical incident:

After Denmark-Norway was attacked by England, it entered into an alliance with Napoleon, and in 1814 found itself on the losing side in the Napoleonic Wars and in dire economic conditions. The Dano-Norwegian Oldenburg king was forced to cede Norway to the king of Sweden. Norway took this opportunity to declare her independence, adopted a constitution based on American and French models and elected the Danish crown prince Christian Fredrik as king on May 17, 1814.

updated my publications page

The lovely task of gathering metadata, like honeybees we wander our files to generate sweet data for the semantic web.

So, I updated my publications page:

That is an interesting task, it works like this:

  1. (install rdf homepage, if you haven’t done yet)
  2. I look at my publications page, what misses
  3. I update my bibtex file, adding all I need
  4. When I don’t know how to do bibtex, I look into Svens or Heikos rdf homepages
  5. I generate bibtex/RDF from it, using some tool we always use for RDFhomepage
  6. I look again atpublications , this time I see what links miss to other people. You see the nice links to all my co-authors? Guess where they come from…
  7. my foaf file. So I have to update my foaf-file, because rdfhomepage compares the bibtex/rdf against my foaf file to find the correct co-author homepages.
  8. But hey, why write your foaf yourself, copy friends-of-friends from foaf-files of friends like Sven and Heiko
  9. I upload the foaf file to, where Michael hosts my personal website. thx to Michi for that ;-9
  10. I press refresh on my publications page and am delighted.
  11. I go to my “About” page and see that my friends from my foaf file are also there 🙂

this all rocks so hard that Gunnar has written a paper on it, together with some buddies at DFKI, as you can see on Gunnar’s RDF homepage.

So whoops, I forgot to add this paper to my bibtex file…. 🙂

… will do that on monday 🙂

and and by the way, Heimwegehas painted this rocking logo for RDF Homepage, which I cannot hide from you:
rdfhomepage logo

Jean Rohmer and his talk on Ideliance

Yesterday we had two great happenings at DFKI:

  1. Jean Rohmer giving a talk on Ideliance and AI
  2. Gunnar Grimnes celebrating norwegian day

The second will be blogged soon on my private blog, the first is interesting for the Semantic Web out there.

Jean Rohmer, who published a paper last year on Lessons for the future of Semantic Desktops learnt from 10 years of experience with the IDELIANCE Semantic Networks Manager visited us to give a similar talk and discuss about Nepomuk.

Jean Rhomer giving a talk at Kaiserslautern University

More background knowledge about Jean Rhomer: He is a key person in spreading AI in France, as he was responsible for AI at Bull Computers in the 70ies and 80ies, a company that had ~70k employes in its best times, around 200 on AI. He lead the AI department there, google for him.

I will sum up the most witty remarks of his talk:

  • In the 70ies, prolog was the thing and as you didn’t have internet, you really had to look for it.
  • In the 90ies, when investment in AI declined, the AI Winter started
  • I survived the AI winter by continuing AI and making a product out of it
  • 90’s AI apps didn’t look different from procedural apps for end-users.
  • AI was then an expensive way to save money, which only few could afford
  • AI kept fighting and losing against software engineering.
  • The Semantic Web is a compromise between Natural Language Processing and AI.

In the 70ies there was a stop in innovation on the hardware side, IBM machines where all the same for years. So software was the key for innovation. We see a similar situation today: the operating systems do not change much (windows 2000 is the same as XP, Linux evolves steadily) and the hardware is always the same, just getting faster and bigger. So software makes the difference (as we see in the hype of web services).

So Software can make the next innovation.

Then this happend during Jean’s talk and demo of idealance: a bug when clicking a link on ideliance web interface. His reaction was tremendous:

  • alt-tab to server/switch debug on/switch to code editor
  • (all we saw was weird symbols that looked like compiled byte code)
  • scroll down two lines
  • mutter something like “ah, ok”
  • enter two weird greek symbols
  • alt-tab back to demo, it works
  • all this in less then 15 seconds

So what he did was, that during a talk before audience, he had a bug, didn’t get nervous, found the bug, fixed it and didn’t even had to restart. I have never seen something like this before, and the secret behind is:

A Programming Languages
In a session after the talk, we discussed programming languages for the Semantic Desktop, also we wanted to know how he did that bugfixing magic and what these weird symbols were. We were flattened about the statement that Ideliance was completly programmed using APL (A programming language).

We asked him to show us code, and he replied that he will instead teach us how to code APL. behold, this is what Jean Rohmer has written on a Flip-Chart:

The explanation is: that code selects all classes CS of an instance X, for each class C in CS, selects all other instances CI, for all these instances I select all triples, from the triples select all properties.

Then group these properties in a matrix, sort them and only return top X of them.

To do this in SPARQL, you would roughly do:
SELECT p WHERE x rdf:type C. I rdf:type C. I p o.

But then you would need some sorting, merging, splicing.

APL is the weirdest thing I have ever seen, but it has many pieces of code in it that are very useful for handling RDF, though. Jean Rohmer and Gunnar Grimnes are both Prolog fans and they chatted about the relations between ADL and prolog.

Using Java to program Semantic Web applications surely is hell when you have to do things like set operations. At the moment I program bits and pieces of the rebirth-machine, for example this code would be much nicer in APL. So we seriously think about combining SPARQL and prolog into some nice semantic web scripting language.

J2SE5 for MacOs

surprise surprise, my MacOs woke up, talked to his friends at Apple and wants to download Java J2SE 5.0 release 4.

Does that implicate that Java 1.5 is now the standard VM on MacOS or is this only because I have installed the JDK 1.5? Whatever the reason is, if Java 1.5 is available, there are no reasons to stick to 1.4 for projects like aperture or Nepomuk.

looking into a better future,

and yes, we are far from perfect

ESWC2006, a conference that aims at the semantic web, has a registration system that does not support firefox. In our group we base all our extensions and plugins on firefox and I am using it right now, so I feel “uncomfortable and unwelcome” (cite: movie “your studio and you”). So, the positive view is that they decided not to invest much into the web interface to invest more into the conference. Horray. Here is the quote from the website:

Quote: Firefox is not supported at this time. Recommended browsers are below.
Online Registration System best used with the following browsers:
Internet Explorer (version 4.01 or higher and Netscape 4x-7)

Definition of the Semantic Web:
The Semantic Web provides a common framework that allows data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise, and community boundaries.

  1. Firefox is a boundary of the semantic web
  2. How can a web-application be programmed so badly it only supports one browser? Oh, ASP 🙂
  3. Don’t they see that all this is obviously wrong?
  4. The world is imperfect.

and otherwise, the conference rules.