Posts Tagged ‘EU’

Crisis in the Ukraine Could Impact Outsourced Semantic Projects

ukraineThe last few months have been witness to the Ukraine crisis, with antigovernment demonstrations in the wake of former President Viktor Yanukovych tightening ties with the Kremlin, his fleeing the country following a rebellion against him, and the annexation of Crimea by Russia. Tensions continue between Ukraine, which plans new presidential elections for May 25, and Russia. Just today, the mayor of Kharkiv, reportedly an opponent of the pro-West protests, was shot in the back, while the U.S. is imposing new sanctions on Russian government officials, including two members of President Putin’s inner circle and 17 companies linked to that inner circle.

Obviously, there are big issues at stake here about sovereignty and nation destabilization, but the situation also has implications for the IT sector. That includes the advancement of semantic projects around the world.

The Semantic Web Blog, for example, recently heard from a contractor working on a semantic project for a website that the effort has fallen a bit behind schedule due to, among other things, geopolitical events. One of its developers was a Russian national working in Ukraine who left the country when Putin annexed Crimea, he said.

Another source who preferred to remain anonymous, and whose semantic technology and IT outsourcing company is located in another Eastern European country, said that his company has already been contacted by a few businesses in the U.S. that had been securing services from software companies in both the Ukraine and Russia. Because of the situation, he said, these companies told him that they are now exploring their options in Eastern European countries that are members of the European Union. In such locations, including his home country, they can find great engineers and still quite competitive rates on the labor side, he noted.

That said, it was clear that that wasn’t the road to new business that this semantic tech executive prefers to travel down, as he noted that World War II and the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe is still within the living memory of people in these countries.

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OpenCube Project Launches – Promises Opportunities for Open Statistical Data

OpenCube logoEU Initiative OpenCube partner consortium to develop software tools for publishing and reusing Linked Open Statistical Data

Thermi, Thessaloniki, Greece, January 14th, 2014 – A consortium of partners headed by the Centre for Research and Technology – Hellas (CERTH), recently launched the OpenCube project, an EU Initiative for Publishing and Enriching Linked Open Statistical Data for the Development of Data Analytics and Enhanced Visualization Services. The project intends to make Linked Open Statistical Data (LOSD) more accessible to publishers and users and to facilitate mining these data so as to enable the extraction of interesting and previously hidden insights. As part of the project, these innovative new technologies will be tested at four pilot sites: three government agencies from across Europe and a large financial institution.

Linked Statistical Data

Governments, organizations and companies are increasingly releasing their data for others to reuse. A major part of open data concerns statistics, such as population figures and economic and social indicators. Analysis of statistical open data can create value for citizens and businesses in areas ranging from business intelligence to epidemiological studies and evidence-based policy-making.

Recently, Linked Data emerged as a promising paradigm to enable use of the web as a platform for data integration. Linked Statistical Data has been proposed as the most suitable way to publish open data on the web. However, publishing and mining LOSD faces particular challenges as it requires appropriate tools and methods.

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EU Confirms Linked Data Benchmark Council

Last week the EU confirmed the start of the Linked Data Benchmark Council (LDBC). According to the article, “The main objective of LDBC is the development of benchmarks for the emerging field of RDF and graph data management systems, as well as to spur industry cooperation around such benchmarks. This new council of database software vendors and academics will establish benchmarks and publish benchmark results that will make the properties of RDF and graph data management systems insightful. The LDBC audience includes IT professionals interested in using these emerging technologies, researchers in both the database and semantic web research communities, and data management technology vendors.” Read more

Upcoming Hackathon Plans to Track Flow of Money in EU

2011 Knight News Challenge Winner Lucy Chambers recently wrote, “As a journalist, to understand European Union institutions, policies and commitments, you have to look where the money goes and understand who affects the money flow in the EU. As the influence of Brussels lobbyists grows, it is increasingly important to draw the connections between lobbying, policy-making and funding. The EU publishes information on its spending and also maintains a transparency register. These, however, are difficult for journalists and citizens to use. With OpenSpending, we set out to use the power of technology to catalyze greater government transparency by providing new tools for media and citizens to more easily access government data in searchable, sortable and machine readable formats.” Read more

Google Puts New Privacy Policy Into Effect, And Stage Is Set For More Personalized Products Even As Google Plus Pickup Is Slow

ComScore this week issued a report that wasn’t particularly flattering to Google Plus. It noted that users spent just 3.3 minutes on the social network in January compared to 7.5 hours for Facebook. Much discussion revolved around the fact that Google last month touted that the service had grown to 90 million users from 40 million in October.

Google Plus, as The Semantic Web Blog reported here, informs the personalized results that are delivered through Search Plus Your World, such as the Google+ photos and posts users have shared or that have been shared with them through the social network.

One question raised by the ComScore report is what impact the slow takeup might have, if any, on Search Plus Your World. Shortly after Google Plus’ debut, The Semantic Web Blog published a post by Christine Connors, principal at TriviumRLG LLC, discussing why, as she has put it, the service is “one of the subtlest and most user-friendly ontology development systems we’ve ever seen.” Of the ComScore data , she says, “that’s an ‘average’ number. Which means that millions of folks who’ve signed up haven’t used it, and far fewer millions spend hours on it every month. What that says to me is that for some people Search Plus Your World would be almost useless, and for those who use G+ regularly SPYW has a decent and always improving personalized algorithm and index behind it.  Take out the privacy concerns and the people using G+ will have an increasingly positive sense of satisfaction with Google for Search and more.  Problem is, taking out the privacy concerns is very troublesome.”

Speaking of privacy: Today, of course, is the date that Google’s privacy policy changes.

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