Talis announced Nodalities — a magazine available in print and online devoted to the Semantic Web. They describe its mission as bridging “the divide between those building the Semantic Web and those interested in applying it to their business requirements.” The initial April 2008 Nodalities issue is available as pdf. While it can be expected to promote Talis and its activities, it should be a useful source of information and comment. You can request a free subscription to the print edition online.
Many tasks require representing and reasoning with uncertain knowledge and data. Current Semantic Web languages are grounded firmly in classical logic and no extensions to manage uncertainty have gained popularity. In our lab, Professor Yun Peng and his students have been developing systems to integrate Bayesian reasoning with OWL and explore applications to ontology mapping.
The W3C’s Uncertainty Reasoning for the World Wide Web Incubator Group has released a report, Uncertainty Reasoning for the World Wide Web, surveying requirements for “reasoning with and representing uncertain information available through the World Wide Web and related WWW technologies”. The report
- identifies and describes situations on the scale of the World Wide Web for which uncertainty reasoning would significantly increase the potential for extracting useful information,
- identifies methodologies that can be applied to these situations and the fundamentals of a standardized representation that could serve as the basis for information exchange necessary for these methodologies to be effectively used,
- provides an overview and discusses the applicability to the World Wide Web of prominent uncertainty reasoning techniques and the information that needs to be represented for effective uncertainty reasoning to be possible,
- includes a bibliography of work relevant to the challenge of developing standardized representations for uncertainty and exploiting them in Web-based services and applications.”
Conrad Barski is working on a new text on Lisp rendeder in comic book form, Land of Lisp, which will be published this Fall by No Starch Press. He posted a teaser back on April first, Functional Programming is Beautiful. I can’t wait to see the final product.
See update below.
The College Board has decided to eliminate their Advanced Placement test in computer science. It’s well known that the number of university students choosing computer science as a major has been declined significantly in the past six years. Many organizations, including the the Computing Research Association, have developed strategies to address this by enlarging the pipeline. A part of this is working to increase interest in the field in high schools and middle school. Eliminating the computer science AP test will discourage high schools from offering computer science courses and their students from taking them. Here’s a story from the Washington Post.
The College Board told U.S. teachers in an e-mail yesterday that four underenrolled Advanced Placement courses will be eliminated after the 2008-09 academic year in the first significant retrenchment of the college preparatory program in its 53-year history.
The courses being cut — Italian, Latin literature, French literature and computer science AB — are among the least popular in the AP portfolio. … The eliminated classes are “all less commonly taught disciplines in high schools,” said Trevor Packer, vice president of the College Board for AP. “And they’re under fire sometimes,” he said, in school systems more focused on core subjects.
Trustees of the New York-based College Board decided to eliminate the courses March 27 at a meeting in Reston, Packer said. The decision was communicated at 5 p.m. yesterday via e-mail to 2,519 teachers of the affected subjects and to AP program coordinators.
Given a general agreement that information technology continues to be extremely important for our nation’s future and also a good career choice, I think this is a short-sighted decision.
update: Ok. It’s not as bad as it sounds. A post this afternoon on the ACM blog, AP Computer Science is NOT Going Away clarifies things.
“Todayâ€™s Washington Post has an article stating that the College Board, (the body that administers Advanced Placement courses) is doing away with several AP courses â€“ including one computer science course. Reading the article, youâ€™d likely reach the conclusion, as attested by e-mails Iâ€™ve seen this morning, that all AP computer science courses are being eliminated. This is not the case. There are two AP computer science courses â€“ AP Computer Science A, and AP Computer Science AB. The college board is eliminating the less popular AB course, not the A course. … “