Technical Report

Sidekick: A Personal agent for the semantic web

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The Semantic Web is a vision to simplify and improve knowledge reuse on the Web. It is all set to alter the way humans benefit from the web from active interaction to somewhat passive utilization through the proliferation of software agents and in particular personal assistants that can better function and thrive on the Semantic Web than the conventional web. Agents can parse, understand, and reason about information available on Semantic Web pages in an attempt to use it to meet users’ needs. Such personal assistants will be driven by rules, axioms and the internal model or profile that the agents have inside them for the user. An intrinsic and important pre-requisite for a personal assistant or, rather, any agent is to manipulate information available on the Semantic Web in the form of ontologies, axioms, and rules written in various semantic markup languages. In this paper, a model architecture for such a personal assistant, which we call Sidekick, that deals with real-world semantic markup is described. The agent reasons with semantic markup written in DAML+OIL, using the Java Expert System Shell (JESS) as the reasoning engine. This software assistant views information providers on the Semantic Web as recommender agents that have a limited view of the user’s preferences and provides an improved notion of personalization by collaborating with peer personal assistants (what are referred to as buddy agents) within communities that the user has identified as trusted parties to exchange information with. Collaboration is achieved through simple solicitation and recommendation of information with these buddy agents.

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