SSP Group Meeting

11am, 9 August, 2005
Room 4.03, Appleton Tower
CISA, School of Informatics
University of Edinburgh

Open Knowledge

David Robertson

The existing, open Worldwide Web has been successful on a global scale because the cost of participation at a basic level is low and the individual benefit of participation is immediate, rising rapidly as more participants take part.  The same cannot currently be said about systems relying on formal representations of semantics of Web components because the cost of being precise about semantics for sophisticated components is prohibitively high and the cost of ensuring an individual, absolute semantics for a component rises rapidly as more participants take part.  I shall describe a project - OpenKnowledge - that aims to break out of this deadlock by focusing on semantics related to interaction (which are acquired at low cost during participation) and uses this to avoid dependency on a priori semantic agreement; instead making semantic commitments incrementally at run time.  The "Open" in OpenKnowledge thus is significant in two senses: it assumes an open system, which anyone may join at any time; it assumes an openness to being joined, achieved through participation at low individual cost.  I shall discuss how we intend to build this sort of system.