Elsevier Sponsors 2008 Semantic Web Challenge

Winners Announced at International Semantic Web Conference

New York, 8 December 2008 - The winners have been announced for the Semantic Web Challenge which took place at the International Semantic Web Conference in Karlsruhe, Germany, from October 26-30, 2008. Determined by a jury consisting of leading experts from both academia and industry, the three highest ranked applications in each category were awarded cash prizes of 3500 Euro in total, sponsored by Elsevier.

The Semantic Web Challenge has been set up with the goal of showcasing the latest in semantic web technologies by having ground-breaking demos compete with each other for the Semantic Web Challenge Awards. Jocularly referred to as “web 3.0” the technologies aim to extract meaning from the web. The event is organized by Jim Hendler, a world renowned web pioneer and currently the Tetherless World Senior Constellation Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), and Peter Mika of Yahoo! Research.

The Semantic Web Challenge consists of 2 categories, “Open Track” and “Billion Triples Track.” Open Track requires that the applications utilize the semantics (meaning) of data and that they have been designed to operate in an open web environment, whilst the Billion Triples Track focuses on dealing with very large data sets of low quality.

“The new Billion Triples Challenge succeeded beyond our expectations,” said Jim Hendler. “We saw everything from a demonstration of 250,000,000 triples kept locally in an iPhone to SPARQL queries performed against 11 billion RDF triples in real time. The winning projects showed that Semantic Web technology is rapidly growing in its ability to process very large amounts of heterogeneous data and to perform interesting inferences at a Web scale.”

Supported by presentations and written documentation the winners were rated on, amongst other things, technical prowess, user interface, the novelty of their idea and mobile readiness. Commenting on the awards, Peter Mika said, “This year's winners showed how one can mash up and query data sources by simple drag-and-drop operations (paggr) or by roaming around in a city with a mobile phone (DBpedia Mobile). In the Billion Triples competition, we have seen a triple store (Virtuoso) that has reached up to 10 Billion triples, how to store part of the data set on an iPhone (i-Moco) and how to carry out complex tasks such as distributing the data across servers (Semaplorer) and answering keyword-based queries (SearchWebDB). Even applications developed by a single developer achieved a very compelling user experience thanks to ever more sophisticated tools and APIs that simplify Semantic Web development. "

The 2008 Semantic Web Challenge Open Track and Billion Triples Track prizes were awarded to:

Open Track
1st Prize: paggr - semsol, Germany
2nd Prize: DBpedia Mobile - Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
3rd Prize: HealthFinland - Semantic Computing Research Group (SeCo), Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and University of Helsinki

Runner-ups
IYOUIT - DOCOMO Euro-Labs, Telematica Instituut
xOperator - University of Leipzig

Billion Triples Track
1st Prize: SemaPlorer - University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany
2nd Prize: SearchWebDB - Apex Data & Knowledge Management Lab, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Institute AIFB, Universität Karlsruhe, Germany
3rd Prize: MaRVIN - Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Runner-ups
i-MoCo - University of Zurich
SAOR - DERI, NUI Galway

Honorable mention
Virtuoso - OpenLink Software

More information on the 2008 Semantic Web Challenge Awards can be found online at: http://challenge.semanticweb.org

# # #

Notes to Editors:

Jim Hendler is the Tetherless World Senior Constellation Chair at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he directs the "Future of Information" Project and has appointments in the Department of Computer Science and the Cognitive Science Dept. He also serves as the Associate Director of the Web Science Research Initiative headquartered at MIT. Hendler has authored about 200 technical papers in the areas of artificial intelligence, Semantic Web, agent-based computing and high performance processing. One of the inventors of the “Semantic Web,” Hendler was the recipient of a 1995 Fulbright Foundation Fellowship, is a former member of the US Air Force Science Advisory Board, and is a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence. He is also the former Chief Scientist of the Information Systems Office at the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), was awarded a US Air Force Exceptional Civilian Service Medal in 2002, and is a member of the World Wide Web Consortium's Semantic Web Coordination Group. He is the Editor in Chief of IEEE Intelligent Systems and is the first computer scientist to serve on the Board of Reviewing Editors for Science. One of his best known papers is "The Semantic Web," published in Scientific American, 2001, coauthored with T. Berners-Lee and O. Lassila.

Peter Mika is currently with Yahoo! Research in Barcelona investigating Search, focusing on semantic technologies. Peter has worked previously as the chief developer in a number of open source projects, including the Elmo API for the Sesame RDF store (see openrdf.org, openacademia.org and flink.semanticweb.org). Peter is the recipient of the Best Paper Award of the 4th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2005), held in Galway, Ireland and is a previous winner of the Semantic Web Challenge held in Tokyo in 2004. After obtaining his PhD from the business informatics group at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Peter has served the semantic web community and has been selected as one of AI's "Ten to Watch" by the IEEE Intelligent Systems journal in 2008.

About the Semantic Web Challenge
The Semantic Web Challenge has been organized in cooperation with the The Semantic Web Science Association (SWSA) since 2003 with the aim to offer participants the chance to submit their best Semantic Web Applications. The Challenge thus illustrates what the Semantic Web can provide to the world, whilst providing researchers an opportunity to showcase their work, compare it to others, and thereby stimulating current research by highlighting the state-of-the-art every year.

About the Semantic Web
The central idea of the Semantic Web is to extend the current human-readable web by encoding some of the semantics of resources in a machine-processable form. Moving beyond syntax opens the door to more advanced applications and functionality on the Web. Computers will be better able to search, process, integrate and present the content of these resources in a meaningful, intelligent manner.

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Elsevier Research Intelligence, and ClinicalKey — and publishes nearly 2,200 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and over 25,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works.

The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC, a world leading provider of professional information solutions in the Science, Medical, Legal and Risk and Business sectors, which is jointly owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).

Media Contact:
Sweitze Roffel
Elsevier
+1 212 633 3197
s.roffel@elsevier.com