2012-02-12

My PhD: The Simple Version

I have been struggling to come up with a simple way to explain my PhD but I think I have it.

My research tries to reduce information overload when displaying data where the structure of that data is not known ahead of time.

This is a particular problem for the Semantic Web because of the Innumerable Corpus property. That is: there is an innumerable amount of data expressed using innumerable ontologies (structures). This research will help in the construction of a general purpose semantic web browser.

What is the scale of the problem? If an ontology is well known then a human can hand-craft a display for that ontology but that display is fragile and fixed. Fragile meaning that it will only work for that one ontology and will not display data that only partially uses the ontology (and what is data is used from multiple ontologies?). A fixed display will not necessarily suit the needs of all users.

Where ontological enrichment research expands the amount of data available about a subject, my research reduces data to the minimally most useful set compared to what is known about user goals. My research then attempts to select displays that reduce information overload by taking into account user needs.

I currently (Feb 2012) have a beta semantic web browser (Eme) suitable for continued experimentation. I am currently working on algorithms to make intelligent decisions for the display by discovering how data triplets are related.

Are triplets related somehow? completely independant? members of the same set/list? redundant equivalents? or a related alternative? Knowing this allows us to make intelligent decisions about the display; related triplets can be grouped together, members of a set can be displayed as a list, redundant triplets can be eliminated and alternative need only one of the alternatives displayed.