Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) to pioneer research into next gener

Monday, 24 May 2004

Semantic web to revolutionise the way we do business by reducing costs and increasing efficiencies

The National University of Ireland, Galway today (May 24th 2004) announced details of a major research programme into a new generation of web technology. This world leading research programme will be undertaken at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) already established within the University campus. The programme benefits from the close collaboration and substantial support of Hewlett-Packard Galway Limited (HPGL).

NUI Galway has received a €12m grant from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) as part of the government led programme to develop a knowledge-based economy. The investment will establish NUI Galway as an internationally recognised centre of excellence in the field of Semantic Web research. DERI will eventually involve over 70 full time researchers from both NUI Galway and Hewlett-Packard Galway Limited. HP is a technology solutions provider to consumers, businesses and institutions globally. The company s offerings span IT infrastructure, personal computing and access devices, global services and imaging and printing.

At an event in NUI Galway to officially launch DERI, An Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Harney TD, said, "This project brings together leading academic researchers with their counterparts in Hewlett Packard Galway in a globally competitive research cluster. I understand that in recommending funding for DERI, the site review panel of international experts stated that this activity has the potential to become the world's best in this field. This is one of the first SFI CSETs (Centres for Science, Engineering and Technology), which have been established by SFI to fund researchers who will build collaborative efforts that develop internationally competitive research programmes with researchers from industry. These awards, in linking academic researchers with industry partners, play a significant role in building Ireland's new knowledge-driven economy."

The principle behind the Semantic Web research cluster is to afford easier and more accurate access to desired information for people than is possible with today's search engines and for computers to automatically process and integrate information available across the worldwide web. Related research presently being undertaken at DERI includes Semantic Web Services, Knowledge Management, Enterprise Application Integration and how the Semantic Web and related services can be applied to improve future eCommerce.* (See note to Editors).

Commenting on this new generation of technology, Professor Dieter Fensel, Director of DERI said, "The development of the Semantic Web will be as revolutionary as the original development of the web itself. Although still in its infancy, research indicates that the Semantic Web will revolutionise the way we do business by delivering global cost savings and efficiencies. It is estimated that the time spent using web technology will be dramatically reduced within the next five years, resulting in significantly lower costs for users. It will also deliver greater choice and better pricing structures for consumers and business.

"Our work at DERI will transform eCommerce over the web. When most people think of eCommerce, they think of B2C, in fact B2B accounts for a much larger proportion of revenue generated directly by eCommerce. Ultimately, consumers and businesses will be provided with a level of choice unimaginable years ago at much more competitive prices. For example, when making an inquiry into the purchase of a corporate business trip, the purchaser will not only get information on the best deal but also the best deal on all associated services such as car hire, accommodation, all at the touch of a button."

The new technology will augment HTML based web language with languages such as XML, RDF, and OWL, which will involve tagging, eventually enabling purchasers to comparison shop across different websites. "This will eventually result in greater but more specific choice. It will enable consumers to get the best price and the best deal and will rank service offers according to the criteria a consumer has specified," says Fensel.

Rory O'Connor, Managing Director of Hewlett-Packard Galway Limited, said, "We are now moving into a very exciting phase in the development of the Semantic Web, which is a vision for the future of the Internet. The collaboration of industry and academia provides an ideal platform for the development of this new technology.

"The sharing of ideas and personnel will greatly enhance the potential of DERI as a world-class leader in the development of this web technology. This research is vital to the way we will manage the explosion of information on the internet and for Ireland to be pioneering research in this area is a significant development for the whole area of R&D in this country."

DERI has also developed strong academic links with the Next Web Generation Group at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, through joint projects headed by Prof. Fensel. There are plans to foster an extensive researcher exchange programme with this Group.

Further information available at www.deri.ie

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