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Semantic Technology 2006

The Semantic Technology 2006 conference was held last week in San Jose, CA. The event was bigger than I expected, with at least 600 people participating. With a price tag of up to $1795 just for the conference registration, this is pretty good.

I gave the keynote speech together with Jim Hendler; this was a fun experiment, since it required us to not only agree on what we were going to say, but also who was going to say what. A PDF version of our slides is available (warning, it is a rather large file, 4MB or so).

I was excited to see so much commercial activity (startups, product announcements, etc.). In my mind, Oracle's announcement of their RDF Data Model support continues to be the big news item of this industry. Not that there haven't been persistent and scalable triple store solutions before, but this is a major mainstrean IT vendor openly announcing that they are "doing the Semantic Web". I think this is what many of us who have been around in the Semantic Web community for awhile have really been waiting for.

Posted by ora at 06:39


What was the big Oracle announcement? They've had RDF Data Model ever since 10g R2. Did I miss something? BTW, read about my first hand experience using Oracle's RDF support at http://www.semergence.com/archives/2005/09/21/20/21/13/

Posted by: Seth Ladd at March 19, 2006 12:16 AM

I didn't mean to imply that the announcement of the RDF Data Model was new (hence the wording "continues to be..."). My observation was, though, that unlike before, they are now "openly" saying "Semantic Web" as opposed to something veiled like "semantic technology".

As for your blog post, what you seem to be unhappy about is that 10g R2 does not have truth maintenance. I am sure they are aware of this. In my mind (and obviously I do not speak for Oracle), 10g R2 RDF support seems to have been built on technologies they already had (which, as far as I understand big corporations, probably allowed them to get this stuff out quickly once the decision to support the Semantic Web had been made; it is this decision that I consider the Big Thing).

Posted by: Ora Lassila at March 19, 2006 06:21 AM

Thanks for the clarification. I definitely agree that it's Big News that Oracle formally supports RDF, RDF with reification, and even built in RDFS rules. The fact that I don't have to give up Views, Triggers, fine grained auditing and security, and a host of other features I take for granted from databases makes the Oracle RDF product a real, true possibility for a deployed app.

They are aware of their implementation of Rules, and how it's not meant for a OLTP type application. However, I get the feeling that most users of RDF use it in an OLAP type environment where they load all the triples they have, apply the rules/ontologies, and query away.

Oracle has stated they will be releasing some OWL support in release 11. We know it will likely include storing OWL in their database as a first class citizen, and they've presented slides using OWL for subsumption resolution.

Posted by: Seth Ladd at March 21, 2006 01:44 AM

In response to feedback from customers and evaluators, RDF support in Oracle has been enhanced to allow querying of RDF data even when the relevant rules index does not have a "VALID" status. To use this functionality, you must specify a value of "INCOMPLETE" or "INVALID" for a newly introduced (optional) index_status parameter for the SDO_RDF_MATCH table function. The new index_status parameter comes after the filter parameter.

Posted by: Susie Stephens at March 21, 2006 10:18 AM

Key themes of keynote that Ora and Jim gave was to emphasize how much can be accomplished both by adding a little semantics to the web type of application, and by adding a little web to the more semantic type of application. My closing keynote at the STC2006 conference, took this analysis as its point of departure by raising the question "So, what happens when you have lots of web, lots of semantics, and lots of social interaction with it?" The slides for my talk (8.2MB PDF) can be downloaded at:http://www.project10x.com/downloads/pubs/SemanticWaveKeynote.pdf.

Posted by: Mills Davis at March 28, 2006 11:44 AM