Tim Berners-Lee: Linked Data

Posted: May 18th, 2009 | Author: Manuel Lima | Filed under: Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Open Datasets have been a key driving force for the current emergence of Information Visualization, and an important encouragement for online services such as Many Eyes and Swivel. Institutions, companies and governments, across the globe, are increasingly opening their private datasets to the general public, allowing easy access and use of the data. This in return is leading to more data cross-linking and demand for appropriate filtering, analysis and visualization.

But this movement still has a long way to go. In a talk at TED posted in March 2009, Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, talks about the need for linked data. He engages the audience on his new quest by asking them to shout “raw data now!”, reinforcing what in his view is our responsibility to demand for more interoperable raw data. As Tim Berners-Lee points out, it’s not just about collecting data, it’s about connecting it. Only then the interesting patterns start to emerge.

An appropriate response to Tim Berners-Lee’s wish has just surfaced this weekend in what many consider to be the most serious alternative to Google, and clearly a fundamental step towards a semantic web. Although slightly different in scope from Google search (the point is not to look for sites, but for knowledge), Wolfram|Alpha is remarkably promising and I highly recommend going through many of the great examples on the site. As they state on their About page:

Wolfram|Alpha’s long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything. Our goal is to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries.

You can check some initial reactions to the service on their blog or read about the infrastructure supporting this massive endeavor. Go and have a try:

VC @ Portugal

Posted: May 15th, 2009 | Author: Manuel Lima | Filed under: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

To my Portuguese followers and VC audience, here’s the presentation (in Portuguese) that was shown at different venues and events in Lisbon between 6-8 May, 2009:

Cycles of Data Centrality

Posted: May 1st, 2009 | Author: Manuel Lima | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

I finally got some time to write on the idea of Cycles of Data Centrality - something I’ve been thinking and discussing with people lately. It tries to make the case that “even though individual technological components evolve in a really fast and unique pace, the way in which they interrelate and behave might follow some level of cyclical occurrence”.

Predictions always feel like empty promises and there can be no certainty on what the future holds. Is the Netbook a predecessor of a future class of dumb terminals entirely dependent on the Cloud? Is Cloud Computing really going to be the next big thing? If so, how long will it last? Will it prove to be a long lasting shift or will people grow increasingly wary of their privacy and lack of ownership and return to a similar model as we have today, and in the process instigate a fourth cycle?

You can read the full article here: