Wednesday, August 23, 2006


I'm offline for a couple of weeks. Have fun.

The Interesting Link

Learn To Edit Semantic MediaWiki In 10-Minutes, a concise introduction by Harry Chen. And also on his blog the discussion of the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2006. Finally he also wrote a summary of the MetaCarta GeoParser API, a cool tool that can for example parse a website and return all the locations references in the text.

Then there is the interview with the inventors of microformats The Progress and the Promise of Microformats.

Very funny is this quite old cartoon of the software development process. This too: your own Web 2.0 company in 30 minutes (or less). Hmm, and this fight between a flash animation and its creator.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Worlds Oldest Computer Found?

From the Guardian:
It looks like a heap of rubbish, feels like flaky pastry and has been linked to aliens. For decades, scientists have puzzled over the complex collection of cogs, wheels and dials seen as the most sophisticated object from antiquity, writes Helena Smith. But 102 years after the discovery of the calcium-encrusted bronze mechanism on the ocean floor, hidden inscriptions show that it is the world's oldest computer, used to map the motions of the sun, moon and planets.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Challenges For AI

The people over at the UMBC eBiquity Blog give a nice description of the new Hutter Prize and took the opportunity to give an overview of other CS/AI prizes such as the Grand Challenge or the Loebner prize. They do however, miss two of the most interesting ones:

The first is the race of robotic cars up Pikes Peak, I wrote about it here

Even more interesting - at least from the viewpoint of symbolic AI - is the General Game Playing Competition.

A General Game Playing System is one that can accept a formal description of an arbitrary game and, without further human interaction, can play the game effectively.

General Game Playing systems are characterized by their use of general cognitive information processing technologies (such as knowledge representation, reasoning, learning, and rational behavior). Unlike specialized game playing systems (such as Deep Blue), they do not rely exclusively on algorithms designed in advance for specific games.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Concept Drift

When building ontologies its often convenient to assume that concepts and their instances don't change over time. Obviosly this is false. If the time is long enough, everything except maybe a few very abstract concepts changes - nevertheless this is just a great example for such a change: In a few billion years the moon will stop beeing a moon and become a planet. Try modelling that in OWL ;-)
The new definition [for planet], proposed this week by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), basically says every round object orbiting the Sun is a planet, unless it orbits another planet. But there is a big caveat: If the center of gravity, called the barycenter, is outside the larger object, then the smaller object is a planet. That wording elevates Pluto's moon Charon to planethood, an idea some astronomers have criticized.
But here's the thing. Earth's Moon was born in a catastrophic collision more than 4 billion years ago. It started out very close to the planet but has been moving away ever since. It's currently drifting away about 1.5 inches (3.74 centimeters) every year.
For now, the system's barycenter is inside Earth. But that will change.
"If the Earth and Moon do survive, then the barycenter will eventually move outside the Earth as the Moon recedes," Laughlin told "At that point the Moon would be promoted to planetary status." [What would we call it?]
Rest of the article here.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Greatest Software Ever Written

Enjoyable read, although I'm a bit sad that no real/tradinal AI system made it into the top ten.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Semantic Ping?

Frédérick Giasson has created a kind of "ping multiplexer" for the Semantic Web. Anyone who creates new Semantic Web documents (he accepts SIOP, FOAF and DOAP) can ping his service and his service will include it in the list of recently updates documents, ordered by type of document.

Very nice, surely an interesting and important component of a Semantic Web. Of course it only becomes interesting when somebody then crawls and integrates the documents - but Swoogle seems to be interested already (see the comments to his announcement here) You can also have a look at the very similar Pingerati which does the same for microformats, but has been around a bit longer and is already integrated with some applications.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Semantic Web Tools

A great selection of Semantic Web Tools can be found on the ESW wiki (via Geospatial Semantic Web Blog via Ivan Herman)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Web 2.0 In Germany

Spiegel has an interesting article on the adoption of Web 2.0 sites in Germany. The article is only in German so I quickly sum up the main points:
  • There is a big difference between the US and Germany. Sites successfull in America are not used in Germany. MySpace beeing the prime example (11th most visited site in the US, 283rd in Germany). Germany is behind in overall adoption of social / community sites.
  • Wikipedia is the tenth most visited site in Germany. The next most visited community site is "Wer-weiss-was", a site dedicated to knowledge sharing.
  • MySpace is not used often in Germany, but a similar german site called Knuddels is quite popular (92nd most visited site).
  • Wer-weiss-was, YouTube,, MSN Spaces and are showing tremendous growth rates in Germany.


A picture of the new main train station in Berlin. The giant soccer shoes you see lying on the lawn where placed there during the Soccer World Championship - similar statues of other German high tech products where placed around the city.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Web Two Point Oh!

Create your own web2.0 companie in seconds: link

Friday, August 04, 2006

Computers Can't Play Go

When Garry Kasparov was beaten, to his furious humiliation, by IBM's Deep Blue chess computer in 1997, it left human players pondering their future. Draughts, Othello, backgammon, Scrabble: by the start of this century, each had been all but conquered by machines.

But don't worry. Almost a decade later, with Moore's Law still at work, there is still a board game in which humans reign supreme. The game is Go, an oriental game of strategy. It sounds superficially easy. The board is a 19 by 19 grid of intersecting lines. The pieces (called "stones") are black or white, and identical. Once placed on the board, they do not move (unless surrounded and captured) or change colour. The object is to use one's stones to surround as many blank intersections (called "territory") as possible. And that's about it.

Even the lure of a US$1 million prize for the first program to beat a human professional went uncollected after the deadline passed in 2000. No program has yet come close to meeting the challenge. Now, however, there may be a new attack on this outpost of humanity.
An Guardian article.