[unrev-II] Outline: Report from KT Conference

From: Eric Armstrong (eric.armstrong@eng.sun.com)
Date: Mon Mar 12 2001 - 15:07:59 PST

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    Dear Booters:
      This message outlines the great news from the
    Knowledge Technologies conference held in Austin
    last week.

      In honor of the Hooters restaurant that my conference
      lodgings were close to, and the name I continue to
      cherish for the project ("Bootstrap Project"),
      I hereby declare you to be appropriately
      christened "Booters".

    Major Observations
      --Lee was right (as Eugene observed): Groves!
      --Jack was right: Topic Maps!
      --Adam was right: Agents!

    Major Conclusions:
      --Together, groves, topic maps, and agents define
        the underpinnings for the "Semantic Web". That
        prospect is real, tangible, and immediate, and
        will forever change the world we live in. In
        fact, that combination pretty much completely
        defines the solution for the problem Doug has
        spent his life on -- creating the technology that
        will let mankind solve complex problems.

      --There is still a lot of work to be done to make
        everything play together, and to sort out the
        details of the interactions with the system. But
        the system, at least in principle, can now be
        clearly outlined, imo.

    Technology Overview
        --granular, multi-level addressing
        --any structure: audio, video, any document type
        --each grove is homegeneous
          --one type of source data
          --one addressing model
            (result of the "grove plan" used
             when constructing the grove)
        --(the big one)

      --Topic Maps
        --"categories on steroids"
          --categories = keywords + related links
          --topics = categories +
            --typed targets (ex: tutorial)
            --related topics
            --multiple, scoped names

        --persistent processes that interact
        --community, personal, parasitic (symbiotic?)
        --24x7 search
          A "server" can be defined as a machine that
          can support, and on which you are willing
          to support (within security constraints, multiple
          agents. A "client" can be defined as a
          machine on which only your agents are allowed
          to run. [That strikes me as useful, but I
          can't say why.]
    Open issues
      --directional links in Topic Maps
      --versioning in Grove systems

    Available Technologies
      --Uche: Virtual Communities
        --filterable, orderable, threaded discussions
        --never saw the demo, but heard great things!

        --Steve Newcomb, Michel B.

      --Elliot Kimber's system
        --hyperdocs built on groves
        --adds node versioning

        --Eric Freese.
        --Treats a topic map as a semantic network.
        --Adds inferencing

      --VRML topic city
        --Micheal Jordan and Magic Johnson were neighbors
        --Venus Williams was "in the neighborhood"
        --another demo I missed, that got GREAT reviews

    Conversations with Jeff Conklin
      --his observations & conclusions
        --IBIS conversations *require* a moderator
        --the process continues to fail when it is
          brought online, so he now works as a consultant
          to facilitate such discussions
      --reawakened his dream
        --thanks to Doug, I knew how powerful it is to have
          one's original dream reawakened.

        --so I mentioned to him the need for "reduction"
          in such systems, and the need to find *some* way
          to make the process work online.

        --Bottom line: he wants to work with us!

    Jack's amazing success:
      --he knows his audience
        (I would position things much differently for a
         business audience, but he *clearly* knew how to
         reach these people.)

      --his continuing references to Douglas Englebart,
        and the concept of an OHS, as he explained it,
        resulted in *several* serious funding prospects,
        all of whom are committed to open source

      --In addition, there is also a strong liklihood
        of collaboration:
        --Elliot Kimber's hyperdoc system
        --Eric Freese's SemanText system

      I continue to prefer "Bootstrap Project" because
      I know what that is. For a variety of reasons,
      "OHS" is still not my preferred term. But Jack
      was having a hell of a lot of success "selling"
      it, whatever the heck it is.

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