Re: [unrev-II] Jack's Use Case: Context-sensitive representation

From: John J. Deneen (
Date: Thu Oct 26 2000 - 15:07:18 PDT

  • Next message: Eric Armstrong: "Re: [unrev-II] Jack's Use Case: Context-sensitive representation"


    I find your OHS-dev ideas are very interesting relative to 1) SRI's aim to
    "map" the Internet with .geo proposal, including 2a) comments from Curt Carlson
    and Yvan Leclerc about 2b) SRI's Executive Summary, and 3) info about 125KHz
    Capacitive BiStatix SMART TAGS and Product Markup Language (.pml) technology
    that I share with Yvan Leclerc and Lee Iverson on 5/19/00:

    1) SRI's Proposed .geo Top-Level Domain Name using Digital Earth technology

    2a) ..."As a potential top-level domain (TLD), .geo would enable location-based
    access to all Internet information that refers to any place or region. This
    information will be displayed as a conventional web page, as a map, or as a
    navigable 3D environment. ...Our revolutionary approach allows users to explore
    the Internet the way they move through the world," said Curt Carlson, CEO...

    ... According to Dr. Yvan Leclerc, Senior Computer Scientist and project
    director for the .geo initiative, "SRI's proposal meets ICANN's every
    objective. .geo harnesses the convergence of computing, wireless and geospatial
    technologies to expand the value and reach of the Internet to the international

    > John,
    > I also meant to add the followng comment/question. I wonder if the ONS
    > could interplay with .geo ( For example, one could
    > easily imagine having ONS tags indexed by .geo, thus enabling queries like
    > "find all FOOs with a property BAR in a given area". Comment?
    > Yvan

    2b) "SRI proposes to ICANN a new top-level domain (TLD), .geo, which will make
    the full power of geospatial knowledge available to all Internet users.
    Properly implemented, .geo will make the Internet more efficient, both
    technically and as a tool for human communication and commerce. It also will
    open new global and local opportunities for science, commerce, education, and
    enterprises - even in the developing world, where such civic and commercial
    activity has in the past been technologically or economically difficult or

    This new TLD will provide a complete, virtually free, and open infrastructure
    for registering and discovering georeferenced information on the Internet.
    Georeferenced information is information that represents a geographically
    located place, object, or process with a geographic location. (Additional
    italicized words are defined in the appended glossary.)

    SRI's proposal stipulates that the basic service made possible by .geo, the
    registration and discovery of georeferenced information, will be virtually free
    to Internet users and based on internationally accepted open standards. SRI
    anticipates that
    access to this information via .geo will vastly increase the Internet's
    usefulness and will have applications in diverse sectors including education,
    science, commerce, and government.

    Geodata, Data, and the Power of .geo
    In the world of digital libraries, metadata is an abstraction, or summary of
    data. Geodata, as we call it here, is a summary of georeferenced information.
    It may include the information's author, owner, date, geographic location,
    keywords, and one or more mime-type/URL pairs pointing to one or more
    attributes or digital representations of the georeferenced information. Today's
    Internet contains a great deal of information that can be georeferenced - the
    National Academy of Sciences estimates that 80 percent of the information on
    the Internet has a spatial component - but it does not provide the geodata
    necessary for the prospective user to exploit this information.

    3) While it's possible to solve some of these problems by using conventional
    RFID techniques (radio-frequency identification chips that are powered by
    energy remotely coupled in), many of the most interesting applications have the
    added severe constraints that the tag can cost no more than several pennies (so
    that it can be used on disposable items such as a piece of paper), and the tag
    be extremely robust. Since fabricating, packaging, and wiring a silicon chip
    costs a minimum of about ten of cents, these kinds of tagging problems can not
    be solved by using conventional circuitry.

    Some examples of these tags that are capable of tracking in real-time the
    inventory/location of hazardous materials for managing risks are show below.

       * 125KHz Capacitive BiStatix SMART TAGS (made from Conductive non-metallic
         Carbon-aerogel Nanospheres for Ink Jet Printing)

    "A powerful new solution, due for commercial release this fall, that allows the
    creation of cost-effective "smart labels". Utilizing BiStatix technology,
    electromagnetic identification (EMID) sensor/smart tags now can be printed on
    materials including paper and plastic with conductive non-metallic ink (using
    ultra-high capacitive carbon-aerogel nanospheres for black ink pigment).

    Designing industrial applications that will employ low-cost electrostatically
    coupled tags to improve product tracking and supply chain management. Using
    this system, tagged products will be identifiable to reader devices which are
    themselves hooked up to a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN). The WLAN itself
    can be connected to the Internet, allowing objects to be traced from
    any-where in the world. The current goal is to create a next generation model
    of the Universal Product Code (UPC), better known as the bar code, which is
    found on most manufactured products. The bar code’s limitation as it currently
    stands is that it has to be manually scanned—on the shelf the code is useless.
    By replacing bar codes with electrostatic smart tags, companies will be able to

    monitor product/hazardous material movement continually, from manufacture to
    disposal, in real-time. Eventually, shoppers will bypass checkout counters
    altogether, as their tagged purchases are automatically debited to their
    accounts on their way out the door. This project is administered by the
    Department of Mechanical Engineering’s Auto-ID Center (A I D C),

       * Dynamic inventory management of assets/hazards
       * Production to demand (‘pull’)
       * Direct order from home
       * Automated picking / Identification of items by robots
       * Easier logistics for customised products
       * Faster packing / receiving of goods
       * Faster checkout counters
       * Consumer information in-store / at home
       * Freshness & food safety
       * Counterfeit prevention / authentication
       * Maintenance tracking
       * Recycling

    Product Mark-Up Language
    "The Product Markup Language (.pml) is a standard "language" for describing
    physical objects. It will be based on the eXtensible Markup Language (.xml) to:

       * translate or contain static data - such as dosage, shipping, expiration,
         advertising and recycling information
       * provide instructions for machines that "process" or alter a product - such
         as microwaves,laundry appliances, machine tools and industrial equipment
       * communicate dynamic data: information that changes as a product ages,
         shelf-life, or as it is consumed - such as volume, temperature, moisture
         and pressure
       * software, or programs, which describe how an object behaves - for
         instance: a .pml file may contain the program which describes how fast the
         tires on your car will wear before they need to be replaced, or how fast
         an object may burn in case of a fire.

    The parameters of the ePC have been designed and a prototype of the ONS is
    ready for testing. However, the construction of .pml is still a work in
    progress. Some of the questions being addressed now by researchers at the MIT's
    Auto-ID Center include:

       * How will the language handle both static information, as well as streaming
         or dynamic data from physical sensors?
       * How will the language accommodate not only individual objects, but also
         object hierarchies, aggregates, and assemblies?
       * What level and type of security must be embedded in the language to ensure
         that proprietary information is protected?

    Object Naming Service (ONS)
    The Object Naming Service (ONS) tells computer systems where to locate
    information on the Internet about any object that carries an ePC (Electronic
    Product Code). ONS was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    by Dr. David Brock, Professor Sanjay Sarma and Joseph Foley. ONS is similar to
    – and (in part) based on – the Internet’s existing DNS (Domain
    Name System), which allows Internet routing computers to identify where the
    pages associated with a particular Web site are stored.

       * The DNS is used every time a Web site is accessed.
       * The ONS will be used every time information is needed about a physical
       * It is likely that the ONS will be many times larger than today’s DNS.

    Although conceptually simple, designing ONS was a challenge. The system must be
    capable of quickly locating data for every single one of the trillions of
    objects that could potentially carry an ePC code in the future. The ONS must
    serve as a lightning-fast post office that – on a daily basis -- receives and
    delivers millions (if not billions) of letters.

    The ONS provides information about an object based on its ePC number –
    operating like a telephone book in reverse. The ONS takes, as input, the ePC
    code, and returns a Web address or Uniform Resource Locator (URL). That URL
    references the Web site where all information about the object resides. This
    service makes it possible to store large amounts of information on the
    Internet rather than on the object or object-label. ONS is currently a
    prototype system – residing at

    Eric Armstrong wrote:

    > Jack Park wrote:
    > >
    > > The topic maps folks do this with a *public subject* which is being
    > > defined as a registered URN. Registering URNs doesn't appear to be
    > > all that easy.
    > >
    > > In a closed system, you just start with the number 0, grab a couple of
    > > numbers for some reserved things, then start giving every concept a
    > > new, unique number. Pointrel does this. I suppose you'll need to use long
    > > integers to pull that off, but, what the heck. Problem is, you cannot
    > > share with others; that requires grabbing numbers from some registry.
    > > Unique URLs
    > >
    > I'm delighted to say that I have solved this problem, at least in
    > principle. The combination of a globally unique userID (say
    > country+ID#),
    > plus a globally unique systemID (say, IP address) that includes a CPU
    > identifier, in a multiple CPU system, plus a synchronized,
    > miliisecond-level time stamp, produces a globally unique node ID.
    > That mechanisms allows peer-to-peer node sharing.
    > It seems like a lot of information, but except for the time-stamp,
    > nodes only need pointers to shared IDs, so the resource requirements
    > aren't too extreme.
    > [Note: If I can *just* get the rest of the versioning process worked
    > out, I'll have an announcement soon.]
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