Semantic Web research at UMBC began in 2000 when we (UMBC, JHU/APL and MIT/Sloan) were awarded a research contract under the DARPA DAML program. One theme of our award was to investigate the integration of software agents and DAML. That winter we began developing a research testbed application which was a portal with information about information technology talks. The result was the ITTALKS system, which you can see in this demo done in June 2001. We recently found it gathering dust on one of our servers and uploaded to Google Video, partly for posterity and partly to give Google Video a try.
An Upper Ontology Summit will be held in Gaithersburg MD on 15 March 2006 to work toward developing a common core ontology to support knowledge interoperability.
There are a number of open, large, general purpose ontologies in existence today, including SUMO, OpenCyc Upper Ontology, DOLCE, PSL, OntoSem, WordNet and others developed in the Semantic Web community and application areas such as biomedical research. Such ontologies, often called upper ontologies or foundation ontologies, describe general concepts and entities that do not belong to a specific problem domain. General concepts to describe time, space and social roles, for example, are common in upper ontologies. Vocabulary to describe VLSI layouts are not. Having widely used and sharable upper ontologies are thought my many to be critical for knowledge sharing and interoperability. The current thinking is not so much that all domain ontologies must share the same upper ontology (although that would be very convenient) but that upper ontologies can be used as common references for ontology mapping and alignment among them.
The Upper Ontology Summit will be held at NIST on 15 March 2006 sposored by the Ontolog Forum, NIST, and SICoP. Its goal is to get the “custodians” of the leading existing upper ontologies to agree to a subset, an intersection of these ontologies, that could serve as a core to support interoperability among the future explosively growing population of ontologies. Representatives and stewards of many well known large, general purpose ontologies will be there, cinluding Cyc, SUMO, DOLCE, BFO and PSL. The one-day workshop and panel discussion event will be held at on the NIST campus in Gaithersburg MD on 15 March 2006. The workshop is free, but pre-registration by 6 March is required to enter their facilities.