Obama administration chooses NUI Galway technology


2 Apr 2009

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Obama’s presidency has been called a digital presidency, the White House 2.0 – an online, social media-savvy administration that heavily incorporates technology and the web into its plans.

So, naturally, President Obama’s US€800bn economic stimulus package has a website devoted to it: Recovery.gov.

What is exciting for the academic and technology communities here in Ireland is that this website is using a semantic web standard developed by researchers in DERI (Digital Enterprise Research Institute) at NUI Galway.

The technology standard being used by Recovery.gov is SIOC or Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities. This is a way of incorporating data into websites, blogs etc that makes it easier to connect online communities and internet-based discussions.

According to Dr John Breslin, creator of SIOC and lecturer in Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway, the use of semantic technologies by government organisations will afford greater transparency.

"Semantic technology allows the linking of government funding data, fed in from spreadsheets or forms, to contributions from the public, private organisations or the government themselves.

"This can be done, not just within a single site, but with external linked data from other public sources. You could imagine using this to discover the effect of how and where tax dollars and euros are being spent on statistics for crime, education or innovation in a set of geographic regions," he explained.

DERI is funded by Science Foundation Ireland. Established in 2003, it has since grown to 120 staff members.

"This is another example showing that investment in science and research has truly propelled Ireland into the forefront of technology," said Professor Stefan Decker, director of DERI.

"Our technology can bring a greater level of transparency and trust to governments, as well as financial institutions – something that becomes increasingly important.  The US Government has recognised this already.”

By Marie Boran

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