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King’s College hosts Semantic Web Event

February 26, 2014 Leave a comment

This is a guest post by Dr Jarred McGinnis, Visiting Research Fellow in the Agents and Intelligent Systems Group of the Department of Informatics at KCL.

It could be my nationality.  I’m American and we’re a chatty lot.  Or, my career. I started out as an academic, a logician and theoretician. Then I moved toward more applied and managerial roles in industry. I’ve spoken to a lot of people with differing perspectives. I’ve come to appreciate the need for dialogue and understanding.

Besides my role as a Visiting Research Fellow here at King’s, lately I’ve been working with Ontotext who provides semantic repositories and semantic NLP solutions. They’re interesting to work with because they are building technologies, often seen as academic and esoteric, to be used in an enterprise setting within governments, organisations and businesses. Often, I am sitting between the technologists and the business owners translating the needs and desires of one party in the terms of the other as they try to decide whether semantics is something their organisation needs.

It was in the spirit of fostering that cross-discipline communication that I put together the Semantic Web Meet Up hosted in King’s incredible Anatomy Lecture Theatre. The title of the discussion was ‘What Linked Data Does, What Linked Data Need’. I wanted students, academics, technologists and business people to be in the same room talking about the same thing. The plan was to gather a number of professionals currently using semantics and discuss what further work is needed to bring this emerging technology to the mainstream. It would have been hard to have a better panel to cover the spectrum of linked data users. We had:

– Fabio Colasanti, Data and Information Architect at EuroMoney, a publisher of highly valuable economics and financial information.
– Tom Heath, Head of Research at ODI, a nonprofit (and technology neutral) organisation encouraging the opening of data, Linked or otherwise.
– Sofia Angeletou, Senior Data Architect at BBC, the publically funded broadcaster we know and love that has spearheaded the use of Linked Data.
– Pravin Paratey, CTO at Affectv a company that uses NLP and data-driven means to provided targeted and relevant ads to internet users.

We had an incredible turnout and the audience was fantastic. They were full of insightful questions and the discussion continued at the pub afterwards.  I suspect this will be the first of many of these events here at King’s.

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