NUIG’s ‘intelligent’ web sets world record

1 May 2007

Today researchers at National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway working on the Semantic Web Search Engine (SWSE) announced that they had set a world record in advancing the intelligent web, processing seven billion RDF statements in fractions of a second.

SWSE is essentially a search engine that uses machine intelligence to trawl the web, filter through huge amounts of data and return relevant, precise results.

An RDF statement is the way in which the semantic web breaks down a search query into several different representations, according to its subject matter.

Currently, search engine technology means that in order to find information on the web, a person has to feed in the information into a search engine and then sort through suggested links to find the pertinent information.

The Semantic Web is a way of enabling the computer to carry out these tasks without the need for human direction.

Andreas Harth, a key researcher who has been working on the SWSE project for the past three years, said: “We are currently working on realising inferencing – making the web truly intelligent – and we have results already.”

Tim Berners lee, creator of the internet, once said in his book on the Semantic Web that he had a dream where one day computers would be “capable of analysing all the data on the web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers.

“A ‘Semantic Web’, which should make this possible, has yet to emerge but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The ‘intelligent agents’ people have touted for ages will finally materialise.”

The research is being carried out by the Digital Enterprise Research Institute. Professor Stefan Decker, director of DERI, said: “The importance of this breakthrough cannot be overestimated. These results enable us to create web search engines that really deliver answers instead of links.

“The technology also allows us to combine information from the web, for example the engine can list all partnerships of a company even if there is no single web page that lists all of them.”

DERI was founded in 2003 and now has a staff of over 100 people.

It is the largest applied research organisation in the world working on developing the Semantic Web.

By Marie Boran