Barny Pell video: POWERSET – Natural Language and the Semantic Web

November 17th, 2007

Barny Pell of Powerset gave one of the keynote talks at the (joint) 6th International Semantic Web Conference and the 2nd Asian Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2007) held in Busan, South Korea this past week. His title was POWERSET – Natural Language and the Semantic Web“.

The talk was captured on video [1] and put online by, a service run by the Jozef Stefan Institute, which records, edits and publishes videos of computer science talks, lectures and tutorials

It was a good talk and was the first time that I’ve had a chance to hear some of the technical details underlying Powerset’s approach. For those who don’t follow such things, Powerset is building a Web search engine that uses NLP technology out of Xerox Parc to process both the text on Web pages and in search queries. The result is a system that should perform significantly better for many retrieval tasks.

The talk had *some* details but left lots of questions. On the whole, I was impressed by what I saw. In particular, there were no numbers on performance metrics, either for the query system or scalability issues. Of course this is not surprising given the commercial nature of the effort.