Written on the 03.06.2008:
I am in Teneriffe since a couple of days now and taking part in the ESWC (European Semantic Web Conference 2008) where I have presented a paper on policy-based enterprise compliance management on monday at the SBPM08 (Semantic Business Process Management) workshop. It is dead season here so there are really only a few people and the weather is on the opposite to what one may think, mild and nice, not very hot, around 20°C. I didn't have time to see around the island during the conference since there are just too many interesting things here at the conference to see, in fact, there are too much for my passionate mind to even follow. what I like here about the food is that you get fish, a lot of fish everywhere, in fact, in many restaurants you only get fish! I flew in to teneriffe two days before the conference and went as a backpacker to the north of the island where mass tourism is a lot lss present, but where the island is just a lot more beautiful to see. And I can confirm that. In a future post I will tell about my mini-backpacker trip and let you know the best places and tricks.
The conference is really big, and there are quite a lot of people from various backgrounds and organizations, so I took on the task of networking a bit and have had several interesting discussions with mainly scientists, which open my mind to some new things. I also talked to some business people from companies simply attending the workshop because they are interested in following up with what the community is currently doing. I also helped out a little by assisting the brits during one panel session and making sure everybody who had a question could get a microphone on time.
On the first day I have presented my paper at the workshop and got some reactions from the other scientists, but I have noticed that many people are not familiar with the problem of compliance management. Policies and business rules are also a big source of questions, since people with background in formal languages and logics are specialized in quite very different sectors. The same goes for artificial intelligence folks. One of the talks that most interested me was one colleague from the university of Gent in belgium whose work is on supporting business modelers in eliciting and managing requirements in order to exploit them in business process modeling.
On the second day, I have listened to talks about one company called Garlik that was created quite recently by one british professor and profesisonals from the banking sector. Garlik basically made use of and extended semantic web technologies in order to extract data about any person on the web and make sure that your privacy is protected and that nobody steals your identity.
some other talks were even more interesting, particularly the one by ricardo yates from yahoo research about the virtuous circle of the semantic web and how yahoo understood the problems created by the web of data and designed and implemented solutions (which are not yet available as standard yahoo products) for allowing us to get to a personalized and semantically enhanced search on the web. you would basically get personalized search results based on what the web knows about you.
I am going to avoid talking about the concrete knowledge that I got from the conference for now since it helped me to get to know about a lot of work I was not aware of before, and get to know some potentially future close research collaborators from two diffreent institutions. I will get back to these more detailed aspects in future posts on my personal blog.
Marwane El Kharbili