Semantic Enterprise Course Description

What will you learn


Operational Matters

Introduction (based on Amicalola report)

The term Semantic Web is variously defined

  • The Semantic Web is a computer system, a distributed machine which should function so as to perform socially useful tasks. [B98b]

  • “The Web of data (and connections) with meaning in the sense that a computer program can learn enough about what data means to process it.”  [Be99]

  • “The Semantic Web is an extension of the current Web in which information is given well-defined meaning, better enabling computers and people to work in cooperation.” [BHL01]

  • “…next generation internet, where we will not only surf the web, but work the web.” [A01]

  • “The Semantic Web is a vision: the idea of having data on the Web defined and linked in a way that it can be used by machines not just for display purposes, but for automation, integration and reuse of data across various applications. [W3C01]

  • "The Semantic Web is a web of data, in some ways like a global database." [B98a]

The current Web is sometimes referred to as an "eyeball Web" where all interpretation of accessed information occurs, literally, in the eye of its beholder, viz. a human. On the Semantic Web interpretation will be primarily done by software agents: every information-dependent resource, including enterprises, information services, application services, and devices, need to become augmented with machine processable descriptions to support the finding, reasoning about (e.g., which service is best), and using (e.g., executing or manipulating) the resource. The idea is that self-descriptions of data and other techniques would allow context-understanding programs to selectively find what users want, or for programs to work on behalf of humans and organizations to make them more scalable, efficient and productive. 

During Spring 2002 course on Semantic Web, we focused on information resources; this time we will focus on services, and how semantics can help in developing next generation of enterprise applications.


What will you learn?

Here are some of the things you can expect to learn (some superficially, some in depth):

  • What is Semantics? Syntax, Structure and Semantics
  • Understanding content: Metadata, metadata standards, XML+metadata specification, RDF and metadata processing
  • Semantic underpinning: Ontology, Domain Modeling, Logic, Inferencing, Context
  • Web Services and Semantic Web Services
    - Web Service standards, specification, discovery, composition, processes
    - Adding semantic to Web Services
    - WSMF
  • Semantic Enterprise Applications - demonstrating power of semantic technology for Enterprise Applications such as Supply Chain, CRM, ECM, e-commerce
  • Research Landscape: review of some of the active projects
  • Commercial Landscape: For example, technologies and products from active companies
  • Research Questions: semantic web service discovery/match making and composition


Prerequisite (who may take this course, who should not)

This is an advance course, ideally suited for PhD students, MS students in their second year, MS students with work experience or MS/PhD students wishing to pursue research in focus area of the LSDIS lab. The student must have understanding of and expertise in the following three areas:

  • database, information systems or AI principles (such as a course in database management, global information systems, AI, or work experience involving creation of significant database schema and data intensive application (it is possible for the student to focus on either database/information systems or AI aspects/technologies of Semantic Web),
  • basic or advanced exposure to the Web, including HTML (must have created a home page), XML (self-reading may be ok for a good student), and
  • very good programming skills, minimally in Java and any scripting language (preferably a course in Software Engineering or Compilers; just a course in data structures will not be good enough)

I particularly welcome students with lots of curiosity as well as research minded students. This course is not suitable for students who prefer highly-structured, text book based education. Semantic Web is a fast evolving field -- each day I will find new research directions, semantic applications, W3C standardization efforts, technological advances and products. I want to be able to share these with the students.


How will Course be conducted?

T-Th: period 72: 12:30 - 1:45, and W: Period 6: 1:25 - 2:15. Class meets in Hardman 102 for lectures and will sometimes meet in Hardman 222 (LSDIS Lab) for round table discussions.

There will be following components of the course:

  • instructor's lectures
  • assigned readings, followed by classroom discussions or student presentations
  • small and medium size research assignments
  • a group project

It will be necessary for the student to attend ALL classes, except for legitimate health  reason (typically requiring doctor's note or a copy of prescription). Attendance is particularly important since there is no text book in this still evolving topic, and class room interactions cannot be repeated. Expect to spare time to read one chapter or paper per class at the minimum. Active classroom participation will be an important barometer for your grade. Grading components will include (a) classroom presentation, (b) class room participation, and (c) project. A mid-term exam is possible but unlikely.

Educational Philosophy: I am interested in seeing you "learn how to learn" rather than just learn information already laid out by others.

References (See Reading Material for more)

[A01] J. Andersen, The Semantic Web Tutorial, XML 2001, Finland.
[B98a] T. Berners-Lee,
Semantic Web Road map,
[B98b] T. Berners-Lee
, Interpretation and Semantics on the Semantic Web,  1998
[Be99] Tim Berners-Lee, Weaving the Web, Harper, 1999.
[W3C01] W3C: Semantic Web Activity Statement, 2001,



Semantic Enterprise Course Home, Semantic Enterprise Reading/References, Course Material, Students