The Interface Between the Worlds of Cloud Computing and the Semantic Web

Paul Miller

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The supply of vertical search solutions tailored to particular business niches remains a lucrative and important area, even in these days of Google’s apparently unstoppable growth in generic search market share. Many of the products and companies involved are almost invisible to the general web user, either surfacing only inside the firewalls of large enterprise customers or styled to appear a seamless part of the navigation experience on an e-Commerce site. FT Search, part of Pearson’s Financial Times Group, recently released the public beta of an interesting new search engine aimed squarely at anyone — “even a CEO” (!) — interested in unearthing information on companies and the external factors affecting them. Newssift.com brings data from diverse sources together with technology components from established players such as Endeca, Nstein, Lexalytics and ReelTwo ... (more)

Licensing of Linked Data

As part of a workshop at this year’s International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC), former colleague Leigh Dodds prepared an interesting diagram on the ways in which resources comprising the Linked Data Cloud are currently licensed. For various reasons, I was unable to make it to Virginia for the event, but a scan through the presentations from Leigh, Tom Heath (another former colleague), Jordan Hatcher (with whom I worked on earlier iterations of the Open Data Commons license), and Creative Commons‘ Kaitlin Thaney, it looks like they did a great job covering the bases on this c... (more)

Data Market Chat: Microsoft’s Windows Azure Marketplace

As CEO Steve Ballmer has noted more than once, Microsoft’s future plans see the company going “all in” with the cloud. The company’s cloud play, Azure, offers the capabilities that we might expect from a cloud, and includes infrastructure such as virtual machines and storage as well as the capability to host and run software such as Office 365. Microsoft also recognises the importance of data, and with the Windows Azure Marketplace and the nurturing of specification such as OData, the company is playing its part in ensuring that data can be found, trusted, and incorporated into a... (more)

Hubris and the Data Scientist

Data scientists are an increasingly capable bunch, and the tools at their disposal sometimes appear almost magical in their capability to derive insight. ReadWriteWeb‘s Joe Brockmeier captured a recurring issue from the O’Reilly Strata conference in March, asking “Can Big Data replace domain expertise?” According to Brockmeier, the audience (of data scientists) apparently narrowly agreed that their arsenal of tools and algorithms trumped the knowledge and experience of the meteorologists, financiers, and retailers to whose domains data scientists are increasingly turning. This... (more)

Crunching the Numbers in Search of a Greener Cloud

Although sometimes portrayed as a big computer in the sky, the reality of cloud computing is far more mundane. Clouds run on physical hardware, located in data centres, connected to one another and to their customers via high speed networks. All of that hardware must be powered and cooled, and all of those offices must be lit. Whilst many data centre operators continue to make welcome strides toward increasing the efficiency of their buildings, machines and processes, these advances remain a drop in the ocean next to the environmental implications of choices made about power sour... (more)