Big Graph Data Panel

Wednesday, November 14, 2012; 14:00-15:30 (Gregorian)

The Semantic Web / Linked Data has grown immensely over the past years. When the Semantic Web community started working over a decade ago the main question was where to get the data from. By now the question of how to process ever increasing amount of semantic/linked data has come to people's utmost attention. The goal of this panel is to shed light on the various approaches/options for Big Graph Data processing. Possible questions include:

  • Does the Semantic Web need any central infrastructures? (It's a Web, after all?)
  • Or will a handful of large single-owner infrastructures dominate the Semantic Web, just as they now dominate the current Web? 
  • And if so, will such infrastructures be based on the standard relational model?
  • Or on MapReduce-centric key/value-pairs?
  • Is Google's (centralised) Knowledge Graph anathema to the Semantic *Web* ?
  • Are triplestore vendors just reinventing the old database wheels?
  • What is the role of clustered MapReduce-like solutions and where are their limits for processing semantic web data? 

To discuss this issue we were fortunate enough to gather an esteemed panel of scientists and practitioners - each having a unique viewpoint on this kind of processing.  The panelists will include:

  • Tim Berners-Lee, W3C, USA
  • John Giannandrea, Google, USA
  • Frank van Harmelen, VU, The Netherlands (Moderator)
  • Mike Stonebreaker, MIT, USA
  • Bryan Thompson, Systap, USA

We believe that the panel will be an exceptional event and am looking forward to an exciting discussion.

The Panelists

Tim Berners-Lee fotoA graduate of Oxford University, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, an internet-based hypermedia initiative for global information sharing while at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory, in 1989. He wrote the first web client and server in 1990. His specifications of URIs, HTTP and HTML were refined as Web technology spread.

He is the 3Com Founders Professor of Engineering in the School of Engineering with a joint appointment in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Laboratory for Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence ( CSAIL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he also heads the Decentralized Information Group (DIG). He is also a Professor in the Electronics and Computer Science Department at the University of Southampton, UK.

He is the Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a Web standards organization founded in 1994 which develops interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to lead the Web to its full potential. He was a Director of the Web Science Trust (WST) launched in 2009 to promote research and education in Web Science, the multidisciplinary study of humanity connected by technology.

Tim is a Director of the World Wide Web Foundation, launched in 2009 to coordinate efforts to further the potential of the Web to benefit humanity.

John GiannandreaJohn Giannandrea, Director of Engineering at Google, leads the project, an open database of knowledge which anyone can contribute to. Freebase was created by Metaweb Technologies, which John founded and which was acquired by Google in 2010. Prior to Metaweb, John co-founded Tellme Networks and was the chief technologist of Netscape’s browser group where he contributed to many industry standards including HTML, HTTP, SSL, Java and RDF. John is originally from Scotland and graduated from Strathclyde University, Glasgow.

Frank van HarmelenFrank van Harmelen is a professor in Knowledge Representation & Reasoning in the AI department (Faculty of Science) at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. After studying mathematics and computer science in Amsterdam, he moved to the Department of AI in Edinburgh, where he was awarded a PhD in 1989 for his research on meta-level reasoning. While in Edinburgh, he co-developed a logic-based toolkit for expert systems, and worked with Prof. Alan Bundy on proof planning for inductive theorem proving. After his PhD research, he moved back to Amsterdam where he worked from 1990 to 1995 in the SWI Department under Prof. Wielinga, on the use of reflection in expert systems, on the formal underpinnings of the CommonKADS methodology for Knowledge-Based Systems. In 1995 he joined the AI research group at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, where he co-lead the On-To-Knowledge project, on of the first Semantic Web projects. He was appointed full professor in 2002, and is leading the Knowledge Representation and Reasoning Group. He was one of the co-designers of the OWL Web Ontology Language Language. He is currently scientific director the LarKC project (, aiming to develop the Large Knowledge Collider, a platform for very large scale semantic web reasoning.

Michael Stonebreaker fotoMichael Stonebraker has been a pioneer of data base research and technology for more than a quarter of a century.  He was the main architect of the INGRES relational DBMS, and the object-relational DBMS, POSTGRES.  These prototypes were developed at the University of California at Berkeley where Stonebraker was a Professor of Computer Science for twenty five years.  More recently at M.I.T. he was a co-architect of the Aurora/Borealis stream processing engine, the C-Store column-oriented DBMS, and the H-Store transaction processing engine.   Currently, he is working on science-oriented DBMSs, OLTP DBMSs, and scalable data curation.  He is the founder of five venture-capital backed startups, which commercialized his prototypes.  Presently he serves as Chief Technology Officer of VoltDB and Paradigm4, Inc.

Professor Stonebraker is the author of scores of research papers on data base technology, operating systems and the architecture of system software services.  He was awarded the ACM System Software Award in 1992, for his work on INGRES.  Additionally, he was awarded the first annual Innovation award by the ACM SIGMOD special interest group in 1994, and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1997.  He was awarded the IEEE John Von Neumann award in 2005, and is presently an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at M.I.T, where he is co-director of the new Intel Science and Technology Center focused on big data.

Bryan Thompson fotoBryan Thompson is the co-founder and Chief Scientist of SYSTAP, LLC and the lead architect of the bigdata® database platform.  He is a visionary and entrepreneur working on cutting edge efforts in web architecture, the semantic web, machine learning, natural language processing, artificial intelligence, cognitive modeling, and decision-support systems.

He believes that web scale graph databases, GPU accelerated graph processing, and Web 2.0 authoring models will make it possible to capture metadata about the relationships between evidence and conclusions within and across communities and offer services and user experiences that encourage and facilitate collaboration across communities when their areas of expertise touch on shared concerns.

Mr. Thompson is a National Merit Scholar.  He has been recognized for his contributions under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and by the Federal Semantic Interoperability Community of Practice (SICoP). He recently presented at the prestigious Schloss Dagstuhl Seminar on Semantic Data Management.  He is a past member of the W3C Advisory Committee and participated the standardization efforts for SPARQL 1.0, Web Services Architecture, and XML Topic Maps.