The scientific paradigms of the Semantic Web, Multi-Agent Systems, Peer-to-Peer Networks and Grid Computing are currently receiving a lot of attention, and are producing solutions to important problems ranging from e-science to e-business. The United States, the European Commission, Japan and other countries have been investing heavily in these technologies recently.
According to Tim Berners-Lee, James Hendler and Ora Lassila (Scientific American, May 2001), “the Semantic Web aims to bring structure to the meaningful content of Web pages, creating an environment where software agents roaming from page to page can readily carry out sophisticated tasks for users”. This vision of the Semantic Web has recently become even more important with the advent of Web Services technology that enables the Web to be used for application to application communication through appropriate programmatic interfaces.
In peer-to-peer (P2P) networks a very large number of autonomous computing nodes (the peers) pool together their resources and rely on each other for data and services. P2P computing has been recently attracting wide publicity, spurred by the popularity of file sharing systems such as Napster, Gnutella and KaZaA and others.
Grid Computing is a new field concentrating on ``flexible, secure, coordinated resource sharing among dynamic collections of individuals, institutions, and resources - what we refer to as virtual organizations” (“The Anatomy of the Grid: Enabling Scalable Virtual Organizations” by Foster, Kesselman and Tuecke).
The proposed workshop aims to foster international collaboration among the above areas of research and technological development with the aim to realize the vision of semantic intelligent middleware for the Web and the Grid. The workshop is collocated with the premier European AI conference to emphasize the role of Artificial Intelligence techniques (e.g., knowledge representation, ontologies, planning, learning etc.) in making progress in the above four areas and the ultimate realization of the Semantic Web and the Semantic Grid.
One of the key challenges in today’s webs and grids is the need to deal with knowledge and data sources that are distributed, heterogeneous, and dynamic, and where effective elicitation of implicit knowledge is a necessary component of the overall system. In such systems, a complete global viewpoint or understanding is impossible to achieve – we therefore need to go beyond centralised knowledge service provision, and develop effective open, distributed, knowledge-based solutions.
Researchers in Multi-Agent Systems, Semantic Web and Semantic Grid aim to overcome these difficulties by adding meaning (ontologies, annotations and negotiation processes) to existing webs and grids. In this way, one not only provides a general semantic-based computational network infrastructure, but a rich, seamless collection of intelligent, knowledge-based services for enabling the management and sharing of complex resources and reasoning mechanisms. In the Semantic Web and Semantic Grid knowledge and semantics are deployed explicitly for applications and for the development of innovative infrastructure. This knowledge-oriented semantics-based approach goes hand-in-hand with the exploitation of techniques and methodologies from Multi-Agent Systems representing various components of the virtual organizations and interacting in a P2P way.
Having articulated the above vision, we should not underestimate the complexity of realizing the Semantic Web and Semantic Grid and fulfilling the expectations of users. The Semantic Web and Grid vision can only become a reality if high quality of service is offered to users and applications at all levels of the Web or Grid fabric. Research needs to concentrate on issues of quality of service in the provision of knowledge services and semantic grid services and attention should be devoted to high-performance, scalability, resilience to failures, robustness and adaptivity of the proposed systems.
This workshop brings together researchers from all over the world that are working on knowledge representation and ontologies, software agents, P2P and Grid computing and are interested in working towards the vision of the Semantic Web and Semantic Grid.