The Exxis Semantic project was founded by Anthony Lalande in 2012, based on the premise that the Semantic Web is a technology with enormous potential, but which is lacking a killer app. It is therefore the mission of Exxis Semantic to communicate the benefits of this technology in a way that is clear and intuitive to even the most novice computer users.
About the Semantic Web
The Semantic Web is a technology which aims to make computers think more like humans do. It accomplishes this by defining a universal format for information exchange (the “triple”), which is much more expressive than the current generation of web technologies.
Triples are composed of three elements: a subject, a predicate and an object. Each triple therefore represents a statement which computers can read and understand, and which is as expressive as natural human languages.
Taken together, a collection of triples represents a graph. Graphs are extremely powerful, because they allow us to define a set of concepts, and how these concepts relate to one another. In addition, many graphs can be connected together over the internet, so that people can more easily share knowledge between one another.
In much the same way as the World Wide Web allows people all over the world to write documents and then hyperlink those documents together, the Semantic Web seeks to create graphs of information, and link those graphs together. This is called the Gigantic Global Graph (GGG), and promises to revolutionize the way we read, write, and search for information on the internet.
Why is the Semantic Web so important?
The Semantic Web is important for a number of reasons, the biggest one being that by expressing information in graph form, we are enabling computers to do a lot of the work that only humans have been able to do so far.
The word “semantic” in “semantic web” refers to “meaning”: by linking information semantically, we’re able to teach computers how to navigate and search for the information we want. That is, when compared to text, graphs can be “understood” by computers in new and much more powerful ways
Take Wikipedia as an example. There’s a vast amount of information there, but computers have only memorized it. Ask a computer to compile a list of all countries and their corresponding flags, and it won’t know where to begin. By storing the same information in graph form (i.e. semantically), we are teaching computers what it means.
This is the key. Triples and graphs allow computers to search, manipulate and express information in an unlimited number of new ways. (This idea is explored in much greater depth in the 3-part blog series How the Semantic Web Will Save the World.)
I am a Computer Swiss Army Knife who spends an indecent amount of time thinking about and using computers. For over a decade, I have built a career working various aspects of information technology. I feel that computers are tools that can greatly help or badly hinder the activities we use them for, and I place a high emphasis on adapting technology to better and more efficiently serve its users, and not the other way around. To this end, my professional focus has been as much about the human side of computing as it has been about the 1s and 0s.
I became interested in the Semantic Web in 2005 when I unknowingly re-invented the concept of triples. Upon learning that these ideas had been around since 1997, I set about learning everything I could related to this technology, with the aim of bringing its potential to the masses, and moving the whole Semantic Web project into the mainstream.
When I’m not busy re-inventing the internet, I enjoy going to the gym, listening to music, thoughtful conversation and catching up on some choice TV shows. I am an avid student of the rhetorical arts, and to this end, I’m an active participant in Toastmasters, working towards both my Competent Communicator and Competent Leadership certifications. I enjoy challenging myself with math and logic puzzles (I have written computer programs to solve Sudoku, 36 Cube and over 70 of the Project Euler problems). I make time daily to read (a mix of fiction and non-fiction), train my dog, and work on a variety of online courses. My competitive edge is most visible when I’m challenged to trivia. It probably wouldn’t take much to get me to do something extremely geeky like read the World Almanac cover-to-cover, in hopes of eking out an extra point or two at an upcoming pub trivia night.
I speak English and French fluently, and I have a basic conversational level of German. I once built a theremin. I am thought to be the inventor of the hamburger.