REWERSE Annual Report 2004

REWERSE - reasoning on the web

REWERSE is a research Network of Excellence on "Reasoning on the Web" which is funded by the European Commission and Switzerland within the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) as part of the IST objective "Semantic-based knowledge systems", contract number 506779. REWERSE started on 1st March 2004 and will run for four years. The EC and Switzerland will support REWERSE with more than 5 million Euro. REWERSE, co-ordinated by the University of Munich, involves 27 European research and industry organisations from 14 European countries and about 100 computer science researchers and professionals playing key roles in applied reasoning. The main objective of REWERSE is to structure and network a scientific community developing reasoning languages and prototypes for advanced Web systems and applications.

Summary of Activities and Goals

The objective of REWERSE is to establish Europe as a leader in the area of reasoning languages for advanced (also called Semantic) Web systems and applications a major current endeavour worldwide in Information Technologies. The goal of these systems and applications is to strengthen a person-centred everyday use of the Web by capturing the semantics of Web data and by automatically reasoning over the data. Reasoning requires the availability of adequate reasoning languages. REWERSE aims at developing a coherent and complete, yet minimal, collection of reasoning languages and prototype processors for these languages for advanced Web systems and applications. The focus lies on application-independent reasoning languages functioning as generic building stones for Web systems and applications. Striving for tangible outcomes REWERSE is testing these languages and their prototype implementations on adaptive Web systems and Web-based decision support systems. Finally, REWERSE aims at bringing the proposed languages and their prototype processors to the level of open pre-standards.

Core Work Areas

The network REWERSE focuses on three core work areas: research on Web reasoning languages and their processing, advanced Web applications requiring reasoning, and knowledge dissemination activities spreading the results to a broader audience. A tight synergy between the different work areas is taking place.

Work Area: Web Reasoning Languages and Their Processing

REWERSE contains five research oriented working groups on Web reasoning languages and their processing. These groups address all areas important for advanced Web-based systems: syntax and syntax-driven rules, system specifications, software system realisation, data retrieval, and data updating. More concretely, a group on "Rule Modelling and Markup" addresses unifying the markup and the development tools of Web reasoning languages. The "Policy Languages and Systems" aims at designing policy languages and policy-driven systems that enhance user-privacy, Web service usability and protection, and improve user control on the applied policies. The group integrates novel work on using controlled natural language for policy specifications, an approach that increases human readability and thus the acceptance of the systems. "Composition and Typing" develops the foundations of a composition and typing technology for Web application components that ensure reusability and thus save costs in constructing Web applications. "Reasoning Aware Querying" aims at integrating Web query and transformation languages with powerful but easy to use reasoning capabilities thus facilitating efficient and effective access to distributed and heterogeneous data on the standard Web and the Semantic Web. The group "Evolution and Reactivity" defines declarative languages and tools for specifying and dealing with evolution, reactivity and propagation of changes, issues characteristic for the Web.

The activities of the research oriented groups within the first eight months of REWERSE concentrated on the one hand on describing foundations (state-of-the-art, requirements, use-cases) and on the other hand on the concrete design, integration and implementation of reasoning languages. In particular, considerable progress has been achieved for the following reasoning languages: the (textual) Web query language Xcerpt capable of deduction for advanced Web applications, the (visual) Web query language visXcerpt, a user-friendly visual rendering of Xcerpt, design and first prototypical implementation of Xchange, a language extending Xcerpt with transactional and communication features, thus suitable for expressing updates and reactivity on the Web, the system CaTTS, a type system for temporal and calendar data allowing for static type checking on user-defined complex temporal and calendric data types (e.g. as found in Gregorian or Hebrew business calenders) and constraint reasoning on these data, and various forms of default reasoning for Web applications. Furthermore, novel methods for static type checking with tree grammar schemas such as XML Schema, Relax NG or DTD have been developed. Such methods will ease programming with Web languages especially Web query languages.

The results have been published in a considerable number of peer-reviewed publications and in the REWERSE Deliverables.

Work Area: Advanced Web Applications

REWERSE integrates three working groups on Web applications focusing on adaptive Web systems and Web-based decision support systems. The applications function as test-beds for the reasoning languages developed in the research oriented working groups. A group on  "Event and Location" investigates common sense forms of reasoning (like reasoning with events, time and location) that are relevant to most advanced and adaptive Web systems. A group on "Bioinformatics Semantic Web" works on using rules and reasoning for annotating and extracting biological data, an area that due to the explosion of online accessible data and systems would highly profit from an integration of the systems using reasoning techniques. Finally, "Personalized Information Systems" optimizes the access to Web data and information according to the needs and requirements of each end user, a promising current application area.

The activities of the application groups within the first eight months of REWERSE concentrated on identifying and defining application areas for rules and reasoning techniques developed in REWERSE, and on implementing first prototypes and demonstrators. In particular, a geotemporal specification language was developed, implemented and integrated into the CTTN system, an extensive system for representing and reasoning with geotemporal information. It is the most sophisticated and flexible theory and program package of this kind available. Concrete Bioinformatics application fields where rules and reasoning will be required have been defined: querying Metabolic pathways, structure prediction, and inductive rule learning to capture biological knowledge. Furthermore, logical descriptions of adaptive functionality have been developed, and techniques and functionalities required for Semantic Web personalisation applications have been described. An example personal portal application, the "Personal Reader" generating a personalised collection of publications, has been implemented and will be demonstrated at REWERSE related events.

Work Area: Knowledge Dissemination

REWERSE contains Activities groups that aim at the dissemination of knowledge. Their goal is to spread excellence throughout the European region and outside of it in a way that guarantees a durable effect. REWERSE contains three activities: "University Education and Training", "Technology Transfer and Awareness", and "Presentation, Reviewing and Assessment".

The main activities of the University and Education group within the first months of REWERSE concerned the collection and compilation of existing courses on the Semantic Web issues. The courses will be a basis for defining a curriculum of graduate (master and Ph.D.) courses for education of researchers and practitioners in the field of the Semantic Web. Furthermore, the group prepares a first summer school on "Reasoning on the Web" for summer 2005 in Malta. Co-operations with KnowledgeWeb and CoLogNet on education issues have been initiated.

The Technology Transfer and Awareness group has been working on strategies and actions for durable knowledge dissemination of REWERSE's results in industry. In the first months the group has already launched a number of successful awareness activities. In particular, REWERSE will present itself with five demos, a stand, and with a workshop at the KM Europe 2004. Furthermore, the group developed presentation material (two flyers, posters, working group fact sheets) that have been distributed at several conferences and other events thus raising the awareness of REWERSE in a broad community. A further thread of activities concerns the development of industry targeted training and education material on Semantic Web topics where a close co-operation with the group on Education and Training has been established. The Technology Transfer group is tightly co-operating with KnowledgeWeb.

The activity Presentation, Reviewing and Assessment aims at the presentation of REWERSE to the scientific and IT professional communities as well as to a wide audience of potentially interested people. Furthermore, the group is devoted to internal monitoring and assessment. In the first months the REWERSE Web site for external and internal use has been set-up and maintained. Internally, monitoring and assessment procedures have been established. Contacts with other networks of Excellence have been established, and reports on REWERSE and on related events have been published in several newsletters.

Promotion and Awareness

Within the first eight months REWERSE has already shown that its focus is perfectly targeted to current research needs. This can in particular be seen by the considerable number of over 60 internationally reviewed publications. Moreover, the first round of REWERSE Deliverables shows the relevance and novelty of the REWERSE research. A decisive factor for the success of REWERSE is that the working groups have organised their communication and co-operation from the very start of the project demonstrated by various meetings and common publications.

A major REWERSE related research event was the workshop on "Principles and Practice of Semantic Web Reasoning (PPSWR) 2004" in September in St. Malo, France. The workshop has published proceedings in the Springer Verlag series "Lecture Notes in Computer Science" LNCS 3208, a highly selective series of first-class computer science conference proceedings. The PPSWR workshop series will be continued in the coming years. Submissions from a broad research community working in the areas related to reasoning on the Web will be expected.

Moreover, REWERSE has been gaining increasing visibility outside a mere research environment. This is demonstrated by over 30 press reports about REWERSE that were published in 5 different languages. Also, promising personal contacts with over 10 companies have been established, and contact persons and first input for inter-network co-operations have been launched, in particular with KnowledgeWeb, KnowledgeBoard 2.0, AgentLink III, and CoLogNet. The co-operations concern research, education, technology transfer and awareness raising activities. Intensifying contacts is foreseen in the future. In November 2004 REWERSE will present itself with a stand, several demos and a workshop at the KM Europe, expecting to significantly raise the visibility of the project within a broader audience.

Future Work

In the next months REWERSE will continue its successful research on reasoning languages and advanced Web applications putting emphasis on a close integration of the working groups. This will be reflected in research publications that are presented at international workshops and conferences. Concerning awareness, three major events are planned for 2005: the summer school end of July 2005 in Malta, a joint industry awareness event organised by REWERSE and KnowledgeWeb beginning of October 2005 in Munich, and the next PPSWR 2005 workshop to be held in Dagstuhl in September 2005. Furthermore, REWERSE plans a number of network internal meetings, the most important of which are the annual REWERSE meeting in February 2005, and a further meeting co-located with PPSWR 2005 in Dagstuhl involving also non-REWERSE researches. Furthermore, intensifying inter-network co-operations is foreseen, e.g. the presentation of REWERSE and its results within the KnowledgeBoard 2.0 community, articles about REWERSE in the AgentLink III newsletters. Also, REWERSE plans to intensify its work on standardisation of the technologies developed within REWERSE.

More Information

Working Groups
Technology Transfer
Education and Training
Publications and Deliverables


Dr. François Bry, Professor
Manager Dr. Uta Schwertel

Institute for Informatics
University of Munich
Oettingenstr. 67
D-80538 Munich

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