Saturday, August 11, 2007

3 years in DERI (and counting ...)

It is hard to imagine, but it is precisely 3 years since I joined DERI Galway.
Man, ... 3 years ago I was almost certain I will be packing myself, and heading home.
I would never actually thought that we are going to stay longer, and that these 3 years will be so full with various, colorful events.

Let’s try to sum up the projects first:
• I came here with a prototype of my semantic digital library (Elvis-DL), which I built at GUT; now JeromeDL, next step in evolution of Elvis-DL, (Adam many thanks for the hint on the name) is getting nearer to version 2.1, and is full with various components I’ve would never dreamed of. A lot of people contributed to the project; somehow everyone is gone now, and I have to start head-hunting again
• My idea of MarcOnt Initiative I brought we me that time, is still growing; thanks to Maciej, who took over from me, and our MarcOnt working group teams; from an idea of a collaborative ontology management environment (MarcOnt Portal), and bibliographic ontology (MarcOnt Ontology), with Marcin’s help we extended MarcOnt Initiative with MarcOnt Mediation Services and RDF Translator library. Piotr added Rule Generator to the stack of components.
• The quick hack (2 nights) of FOAFRealm library is also much alive; I did it before I came to DERI, and later presented at the FOAF Workshop in Galway. Based on the research, mine and D-FOAF working group, we’ve got enough stuff to put together version 2.0; Sławek, who took over from me on this, is now preparing the final version of FOAFRealm 2.0
• While morphing Elvis-DL into JeromeDL by, among the others, delivering support for multiple languages, I managed to prototype something that I wanted to do a long time before, ever since I worked with GUT - a collaborative space in a digital library. From the 3 components: shareable bookmarks annotated with established classification schemata, mini-blog, and resources ranking, the first one is now primarily identified with what I christened as Social Semantic Collaborative Filtering (SSCF). My prototype was simple and dirty, but got enough attention and we decided to give it a new face. Ever since then, Adam makes sure that SSCF looks better and better, and delivers more and more nice features, including support for SIOC, stored faceted navigation queries, bookmarks, and recommendation engine delivered by Daniel and Vinicius from PUC-Rio.
• In late December 2004 the idea of our own lightweight implementation of HyperCuP protocol was born. Thanks to Sławek and Paweł, we now have a pretty stable component, that has already empowered both JeromeDL and FOAFRealm in distributed computing capabilities.
• With eLITE project [see later] even more ideas and opportunities emerged. The first one to come was Didaskon project. Initiated as a GUT group project with great help from Adam, the project is currently being managed by Jacek (who also works on his SemPerKit and Copernicus). I hope in the near future we will hear about the first release, but till now, Didaskon already gave life to two spin-off projects:
• Informal Knowledge Harvester (IKHarvester) - delivered by Jarek to support aggregation of knowledge from various Social Semantic Information Sources, and delivering them as Learning Objects Metadata.
• IKAR (Informal Knowledge AdapteR) - delivered by Filip, allows to deliver auxiliary information on related resources, and toggle visibility of this information based on current level of the knowledge of the user
• Since both JeromeDL and SSCF were in desperate need of an annotation component that could seamlessly support both WordNet and various taxonomies, I hacked together
JOnto, which handles RDF representation of various knowledge organization systems, and delivers nice (?) AJAXy components to access this information.
• Last year, together with Stefan, we came with an idea of
TagsTreeMaps, as an alternative representation of TagCloud. We almost got TTM patented, but in the result, we are year late with publication process; I hope to get some interesting paper out within next month.
• In early fall 2006 Bill told me about his idea of HoneyComb
TM, which was so brilliant I had to give it a try. This is how another JavaScript-AJAX component emerged, giving me finally a concrete ground to finally build ....
• faceted navigation component -
MultiBeeBrowse. Don’t blame me for the name - when you put together honeycomb, faceted view, and busy bee (aghm, that is me ) you can’t expect anything else. To be frank, the idea of MBB was something I was waiting for the last 2 years. The early implementations of Jerome-Photo faceted navigation component, and a similar struggle with faceted component for SWSE (at the time I was an active member of the team), where not wrong, but they were missing bits and pieces; basically, they were missing collaborative space which would fit nicely to my idea of S3B [see later] services. Even though the current prototype might, and should be, improved in various places (hopefully Wladek will contribute here and there within his thesis) - I finally managed to close the loop of the ...
Social Semantic Search and Browsing (S3B) - from the early start of my work on the PhD thesis I wanted to concentrate on this topic. Digital libraries seemed to be a perfect framework to investigate it. My MSc delivered semantic query expansion algorithm, which is now being refurbished by Jakub, Lukasz, and Mateusz, it already had both social and semantic touch. SSCF was all about social and semantics. I was missing one piece of this puzzle. I quickly learned that it was the faceted navigation. Yah, so what? I saw semantics, but where was the collaborative space? With MBB on board I am all set to finally do evaluation of this beast

I guess that would be it for software prototypes (for now at least ...)

Working groups and master thesis:
Thanks to collaborative nature of both prof. Krawczyk and Stefan (should I say prof. Decker to match the context?) we managed to establish an ongoing exchange program. It consists of establishing 3-person group project at GUT, summer internship in DERI, another internship in DERI during 10th semester, and joint MSc diploma with thesis in English.
We are in the third year of this program now. The first 3 groups: W2W (JeromeDL), WMap (MarcOnt), and D-FOAF (FOAFRealm) gave foundations to Corrib Cluster Project. What has started as a joint R&D initiative between DERI Galway and GUT, slowly attracts other researchers, e.g., from prof. Hong-Gee Kim group.
I have already wrote about Didaskon (group project 2006). Currently members of 3rd group projects (JeromeDL 2, MarcOnt 2, and SQE) set up (2007) work with us in DERI. Good luck guys
I will not go in to too many details about the MSc diplomas.
You can easily find them here.

Conferences and exchange programs:
There was a lot of traveling for the last 3 years, and it would be hard to list it all here. But the most important visits (mainly for the development of my research) were:
• ISWC2004 - where I discovered that my extension to JeromeDL is actually a collaborative filtering component
• exchange visit to DERI Innsbruck - where I networked with many interesting people. Together with Kerstin we wrote a paper that received the Best Paper Award, and Axel and Michael had their contribution to JeromeDL, while we now research with Ying, and her team, on the tagging.
• ESWC2005 followed by KnowledgeWeb meeting, was a great opportunity to meet even more renown researchers.
• I will never forget DEXA2005, where I met Bernhard, with who we started building the Semantic Digital Libraries community - there results are quite encouraging: 3 tutorials (JCDL2006, WWW2007 (!), and ESWC2007), 1 workshop session (NKOS2006) and ... a book with which I struggle at the moment.
• Finally, my exchange visit to PUC-Rio, where I worked with prof. Daniel Schwabe. The visit was so valuable, I wish it could be longer; on the other hand, I still struggle with implementing and evaluating all the ideas we crafted together with Daniel and his team .

I have started my adventure with DERI as a PhD student.
In January 2006, however, 5 of the aforementioned projects (JeromeDL, MarcOnt, FOAFRealm, SSCF, and HyperCuP) became the corner stones of the eLITE grant from Enterprise Ireland; thanks to this grant even more people can now work with me on my projects, and in January 2006 I was promoted from a PhD Student to a Researcher (Computer Science) , leading research on the Semantic Web and Social Networking technologies, in the newly established eLearning cluster.

Now, we created, and I wonder what the future brings ...


Cloud said...

Congrats Sebastian - here's to many more productive years!

wester said...

gratz Sebastian, quite a great deal of time. The list of achievements, projects and other stuff is really impressive. Sitting more then 3 years ago from now, in the classroom on ETI during AI classes run by you I would never guess that it would turn out this way :) Oh and btw. when is the BIG 'im-here-for-3-years' party coming ? :p

Sebastian Ryszard Kruk said...

Adam, I guess everyone should be on site - so I guess we will wait for Maciej to come back from holiday, and ... for you to fly over :)

Sebastian Ryszard Kruk said...

John, thanks - I would not probably make it with yours and others help and cooperation :)