Technical Keynote Lecture

Professor Frank van Harmelen (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

The Emerging Semantic Web: Quo Vadis Knowledge Representation?


The Semantic Web is slowly but surely emerging as the best (if not the only) way to improve the Web beyond its current information overload ceiling, imposed by the fact that Web information is suitable for human processing only. The Semantic Web aims to enable computers to do much more intelligent processing of Web information, by making at least some of the semantics of this information available in machine-processable form.

Clearly, Knowledge Representation has a lot to contribute to the Semantic Web, and I will outline what these contributions are. However, and perhaps more interestingly, Knowledge Representation also has a lot to learn from the Semantic Web vision. Many assumptions that are traditionally made in KR research are challenged in a Web environment.

In this talk I will outline the main ingredients that are necessary to realise this grand vision of a Semantic Web. I will report on what has been achieved so far, what is likely to be achieved in the near future, and what are the hard challenges that remain.

Frank van Harmelen is professor in Knowledge Representation and Reasoning at the Department of Artificial Intelligence of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He was awarded a PhD from the Department of AI in Edinburgh for his research on meta-level reasoning, after having studied Mathematics and Computer Science in Amsterdam. He is author of a book on meta-level inference, editor of a book on knowledge-based systems, editor of a book on Knowledge Management on the Semantic Web, and is currently preparing a text-book on Semantic Web languages.

He has published over 100 papers, many of them in leading journals and conferences. He has made key contributions to the CommonKADS project by providing a formal basis for the conceptual models. More recently, he has been co-project manager of the On-To-Knowledge project, and was one of the designers of OIL, which (in its form DAML +OIL) is currently the basis for a W3C standardised Web ontology language. He is a member of the joint EU/US committee on agent markup languages (who designed DAML+OIL), and is an active member of the W3C working group on Web Ontology languages, responsible for the OWL Web Ontology Language. He was the 2002 Programme Chair of the European Conference on Artificial Intelligence, and will be the General Chair of the 2004 International Semantic Web Conference.