DIP on semantic web: the new Internet revolution

July 11, 2005

Brussels, 08 Jul 2005

The Internet is on the verge of another revolution. The development of the World Wide Web allowed millions around the world access to information by making it easy for anyone to publish and access documents. But the explosive growth of the web has created a problem: information overload.

Current computer technology is seriously limited in how computers 'talk' and share data. Enabling two or more systems to communicate and exchange information is a costly and time consuming process.

Researchers from industry and academia are, therefore, exploring the possibility of creating a 'Semantic Web', in which the 'human' meaning of web pages is made visible to computers, allowing machines to process and integrate web resources intelligently.

Beyond improving quick and accurate web searches, this technology may also allow the development of intelligent Internet agents and help promote communication between a wide array of web-enabled devices.

The Semantic Web will help to bring much needed structure to all this valuable content on the web, making sure that software 'agents' can go from webpage to webpage, with the intelligence of a human Internet user.

The Semantic Web is not a separate Web, but simply an extension of the current one, where web pages are given well-defined meaning, making it possible for computers and people to work together more effectively.

The first steps involving the development of the Semantic Web into the current structure of the existing web are already well advanced and very soon, the Semantic Web will provide a whole new level of functional tools, as computers and software becomes better able to 'understand' all the content currently available on the Web.

The EU funded project DIP (Data, Information, and Process Integration with Semantic Web Services) is aiming to do just that. DIP's mission is to develop and extend current semantic web and web service technologies in order to produce a new technology infrastructure for semantic web services (SWS) - an environment in which different web services can discover and invoke each other without human intervention.

DIP is an Integrated Project supported by the European Union's information society technologies (IST) section of the Sixth Framework Programme. The project started in January 2004 and is scheduled to run for 36 months, with total funding of 16.3 million euro.

DIP is coordinated by DERI - the Digital Enterprise Research Institute, a European research institute researching next generation semantic web and web service technologies, based both in Galway (Ireland) and Innsbruck (Austria).

In order to achieve its goals, DIP is leading the development of WSMO (Web Services Modelling Ontology). An ontology comprises the vocabulary and concepts used for describing semantic web services. The WSMO activity also incorporates the development of a specification language (WSML) and an execution environment (WSMX). WSMO has been under development over the past two years by a working group led by DERI.

In June 2005 DIP announced the submission of WSMO to the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) semantic web activity. The WSMO submission is a comprehensive framework for addressing semantic web service challenges, and it designed to help overcome the current problems of enterprise application integration (EAI).

Professor Dieter Fensel, Scientific Director of DERI, highlights one of the main benefits of WSMO: 'WSMO is a big step forward in establishing Semantic Web services as the new infrastructure for e-Work and e-Commerce. It contributes substantially to solving one of the most difficult and costly problems in IT, namely allowing disparate systems to share and integrate information in a cost effective way. This is a perennial problem for companies and represents billions of dollars in technology spending, with around 30 per cent of worldwide IT budget dedicated to integration efforts.'

'This technology will enable organisations to make substantial savings in their IT investments and increase their agility in changing business processes according to market needs,' he concludes.

WSMO has been developed and deployed in collaboration with a number of industrial partners and research groups making up the WSMO working group. Further enhancements are planned following feedback from the W3C, knowledge and insights from real-world case studies, and from ongoing work in related research projects and networks of excellence. DERI, leading the WSMO activity, is adopting an open-source strategy in order to facilitate the uptake of WSMO by both industry and academia.

For further information, please consult the following web address: http://dip.semanticweb.org/

For information on World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) semantic web activity committee, please visit:

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