Posts Tagged ‘Tetherless World Constellation’

What’s Real In Personalized Mobile Healthcare

rsz_rxNews came this week that a man accused of defrauding a financial group out of close to a million dollars around an investment in a fictional mobile medical device tablet is scheduled to sign a plea agreement admitting that he committed mail fraud. The man, Howard Leventhal, had been promoting the Star Trek-influenced McCoy Home Health Care Tablet as a device that can instantaneously deliver detailed patient information to medical providers. (The product is discussed on the company’s still-surviving web site here.) He was arrested for the fraud in October and has been out on bail.

The interesting thing about this case is that the fake he was perpetrating isn’t very far removed from reality regarding the role mobile apps and systems will play in healthcare. There of course are plenty of mobile apps already available that help users do everything from monitoring their hearts to recording their blood-oxygen level during the night to see whether they have sleep apnea. Research and Markets, for example, says the wireless health market currently will grow to nearly $60 billion by 2018, up from $23.8 billion, with remote patient monitoring applications and diagnostics helping to drive the growth. But where things really get interesting is when mobile health takes on questions of semantic interoperability of accumulated data, and assessing its meaning.

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Tracking World Hunger With Linked Data Service

This week the United Nations revised its findings of three years ago that more than 1 billion people worldwide were going hungry. In its 2012 State of Food Insecurity in the World report, it revised its figures of undernourished people to closer to 870 million, about the same as it is today, according to reports.

The report actually presents new estimates of the number and proportion of undernourished people going back to 1990, finding that progress in reducing hunger has been more pronounced than previously believed – especially before 2007-2008.The revised results imply that the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of halving the prevalence of undernourishment in the developing world by 2015 is within reach, if appropriate actions are taken to reverse the slowdown since 2007–08,” the report states.

The U.N. isn’t the only organization tracking the state of global hunger, though. The Global Hunger Index (GHI) demo is a tool adapted and developed by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to comprehensively measure and track global hunger – and standing behind it is LODSPeaKr (Linked Open Data Simple Publishing Kit).

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Datasets Addition Promising Extension For Schema.Org

A call for comments is out for a proposal for a ‘Datasets‘ addition to, via the W3C’s Web Schemas task force group that is used by the project to collaborate with the wider community.

The proposal extending for describing datasets and data catalogs introduces three new types, with associated properties, as follows:

Writing at the blog, Dan Brickley calls it a “small but useful vocabulary,” with particular relevance to open government and public sector data.

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Closing In On A Million Open Government Data Sets

A million data sets. That’s the number of government data sets out there on the web that we have closed in on.

“The question is, when you have that many, how do you search for them, find them, coordinate activity between governments, bring in NGOs,” says James A. Hendler, Tetherless World Senior Constellation Professor, Department of Computer Science and Cognitive Science Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a principal investigator of its Linking Open Government Data project lives, as well as Internet web expert for, He also is connected with many other governments’ open data projects. “Semantic web tools organize and link the metadata about these things, making them searchable, explorable and extensible.”

To be more specific, Hendler at SemTech a couple of weeks ago said there are 851,000 open government data sets across 153 catalogues from 30-something countries, with the three biggest representatives, in terms of numbers, at the moment being the U.S., the U.K, and France. Last week, the one million threshold was crossed.

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Elsevier Competition Results in Some New Apps For Sciverse — And Science

Get ready for some new apps for Elsevier’s Sciverse framework. Last year Elsevier, which has one of the largest vaults of scientific data in the world, launched its Sciverse Applications module. This provided a way for researchers and scientists to develop and share customized solutions that improve search and discovery of its wealth of integrated content and meta-data in the SciVerse hub of ScienceDirect, SciVerse Scopus, Sciverse SciTopics, and targeted web content.

Now it’s announced the winners of its Apps For Science competition, social and semantic ones that plug into the framework among them (see above). Elsevier recognizes that when it comes to meeting researchers’ search and discovery needs, it can’t do it all alone. “We’re not going to come up with all the solutions ourselves, so a key goal is to collaborate with developers and researchers to provide tools,” says Rafael Sidi, Vice President Product Management, Applications Marketplace and Developer Network, Elsevier

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International Open Government Datasets: Bring on the Semantic Search!

Ten years (and change) since the publication of The Semantic Web article in Scientific American, co-author Jim Hendler says he is “very, very happy and optimistic about the state of semantic technologies and the Semantic Web.”

And, he notes, government has been an exciting partner in its progress.

Hendler, professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, home of the Tetherless World Constellation, will provide evidence of that in his presentation at the upcoming Semantic Tech & Business Conference in Washington D.C. this month. TWC works on opening and linking government data using Semantic Web technologies, and Hendler also freely provides his expertise to the U.S. project, through which he’s in contact with many other governments’ open data projects. Those attending Hendler’s keynote at the conference will get a look at TWC’s new International Open Government Dataset Search (IOGDS) app based on metadata extracted from some 400,000 government datasets on catalog websites. These were converted to RDF Linked Data and then republished via TWC’s LOGD SPARQL endpoint. “That proves we can use metadata to help people find the right data when there is so much available,” Hender says, and yield better visualizations of it, too.

Some 25 countries currently are represented, inclusive of datasets from the U.S., U.K., Singapore, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Kenya, and China. “What’s exciting to me is we see this happening all around the world,” Hendler says. “The extent to which the ecosystem is forming around this area is really surprising.” TWC features a few dozen demos here, which provide some insight into how much of a game-changer it is for government to couple open and Linked Data, providingthe ability to do things more quickly and in a more web-friendly way, and at lower costs. Hendler points to TWC’s creating infographic visualizations from several government datasets in hours, not months, and at a cost of pennies, not tens of thousands of dollars.

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Heads Up To Computational Biologists: Go Semantic and Go Further With Your Data

The GO Browse Genomic Data Browser application that took top honors at the recent Tetherless World Constellation hackathon, co-sponsored by Elsevier, should shortly be available as a live demo. It’s on the to-do list for Jim McCusker, the PhD student at TWC and part-time software developer at the Yale University School of Medicine who created the application as a visual way to browse linked medical datasets on the genetics of cancer.

The data sources included comparisons of different cancers based on cell lines curated by the National Cancer Institute. “Basically, it measures the level of gene expression for every gene in the human genome,” says McCusker of the data. “The great thing is you can then do automated differential gene expression, so you can do statistical tests to see what genes are significantly expressed from one cancer to the rest.” GO Browse presents this information in a visual way to show more differentially expressed categories of genes based on cell processes.

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Let Freedom Ring — Or Maybe Not So Much?

Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Vironevaeh

As we get ready to celebrate the July 4 holiday here in the States, there’s a lot to cheer for about how the Semantic Web can be a force for good when it comes to creating an informed and empowered populace upon which democracy depends. Examples of this include the work being done by the Tetherless World Constellation at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to translate open government datasets into RDF and create applications using linked government data (read more here); and work by the Sunlight Foundation, which does things such as make semantic information in its OpenCongress wiki available via an API with the help of the Semantic MediaWiki extension.

The departure of Vivek Kundra as federal CIO that takes effect in August  – together with the planned funding cuts to e-government initiatives, such as the open data effort –  may take its toll on the data that’s available to Semantic Web initiatives at the federal level. On the other hand, states themselves are plowing ahead, most recently with the launch of the State of Illinois Open Data site that’s built on Socrata’s platform. Socrata supports a number of different formats for developers, RDF among them, with its Open API. Cities won’t be left out of the mix, either, with New York, San Francisco, and Chicago, to name a few, pursuing this agenda.

But let’s take a moment to look beyond government data.

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A Semantic Web Founding Father Explains Why Americans Should Care About Keeping Open Government Data Alive

There’s still no official word on how much peril open government data initiatives such as may be in. And perhaps to many Americans, the hand-wringing they’ve heard about funding cuts in this area seem trivial when the country is looking at the U.S. public debt nearing its statutory ceiling of about $14.3 trillion. After all, what’s the real applicability of structured government data sets – and projects that translate that data into RDF, hook it up to the Linked Data cloud, and build apps and demos off it – to their lives?

More than they know.  Open data matters to individuals in their role as citizens, taxpayers, and as community members — not to mention potentially as innovators, too — says one of the Semantic Web’s founding fathers, James Hendler, the Tetherless World Professor of Computer and Cognitive Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. There, at the Tetherless World Constellation, he is a leader of the Data-gov Wiki project that uses semantic web technologies to investigate open government data sets. (There are six other sites in the open data government initiative besides, including and

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