Semantic Web, and Other Technologies to Watch

Steve Bratt, <>

3 view of the Earth from space

Semantic Web, and Other Technologies to Watch

Steve Bratt
Chief Executive Officer
World Wide Web Consortium


January 2007


W3C logo

Evolution of the Web

and the

Role of Standards

"Over 1 Billion Served"

Internet usage vs. continent


Note: in 1995, there were ~16,000,000 Internet users, or 0.4% of global population

(see also: Top languages on the Internet [graphic, link],
English 30% w/ 135% growth, Chinese 14% w/ 347% growth per year)

"Over 100 Million Serving"

Number of Web Sites (domain names and content)

Web servers vs. time


(Users:Servers ratio ~ 1996 = 150:1. 2000 = 50:1. 2006 = 10:1)

Potential to Break the Digital Divide

W3C Mobile Web Initiative logo

Global growth vs. time for GSM in terms of area, usage, population (2006)

What Led to the Web's Success?

Happy child at computer, and very busy person at desk

Why are Open Standards Important?

W3C Member logo

Founded by Tim Berners-Lee in 1994, W3C is:

Graph of Globe

... expanding ...

W3C Logo

Engineering an Interoperable Foundation of the Web

W3C technology stack

The Real Question

Emerging W3C Technologies

Web for Everyone

Children's hands on globe

Universal Access ...

Web on Everything

Photos of Web on phones, TV, refrigerator, cars, plane

*The* User Interface, everywhere ...

Web of Data & Services

Metro Map illustrating power of a Web of linked information and services

Interoperable information and programs ...

Introduction to the

Semantic Web

What is the Semantic Web?

"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."


The Semantic Web

Tim Berners-Lee, James Hendler and Ora Lassila

Scientific American, May 2001

Semantic Web: Why?

Why Can't Machines "Understand"?


What We Say to Dogs

What Dogs Understand

What Machines "Understand"

Sad computer cartoon " ... blah blah <a href=>.text-link.</a> blah blah . . . ."*


* where <a href=...> is HTML for a "link"

Toward Processable Search Semantics


Google page ranking approximation

What if Web pages had more semantics?

(See Article by Bijan Parsia)

Ways to Enable Machine Processing

Smarter Machines

Smarter Data

Semantic Web: Linked Data on the Web

Tim's Semantic Web Stack (2005) Machine-processable, global Web standards:
  • Assigning unambiguous names (URI)
  • Expressing and linking data, including metadata (RDF)
  • Capturing ontologies (OWL)

Semantic Web = Web 3.0? (Markoff, NYT, Nov 2006)

(W3C's Semantic Web Activity / Semantic Web overview slides / example)

Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI)

Resource Description Framework (RDF)

RDF as circles and arrows

RDF: Flexible Representation

Linking table and tree data ...

RDF can represent table and tree data (circles and arrows)

Web Ontology Language (OWL) +

Standards En Route

Most of the Current Web

Old Web - Linking resources

Semantic Web: "Smarter" Resources and Links

Semantic Web - Undertstandable relationships between undertandable resources


[ellipses = resources; color = one data source; x: = one ontology]

(see also more detailed example related to book searching and selling)

Enterprise Integration Today

Enterprise intergration pre-RDF

Enterprise Integration on the "RDF Bus"

Enterprise intergration using RDF

Clients on the "RDF Bus"

New data applications can be built on top of RDF bus, for example:

Clients on the RDF bus

See Semantic Web interface concepts for other types of data sources (Tim Berners-Lee)

Adapting SQL/RDBMS Databases

Keep your existing systems running, and add RDF interfaces:

RDF integration of relational database management systems


Examples of DBMS interfaces: sciences, 2.conference information

See Semantic Web interface concepts for other types of data sources (Tim Berners-Lee)

Applications Linked via Semantic Web

Metro Map illustrating power of a Web of linked information and services

Life Science Onotologies Linked via Semantic Web

Linking life sciences ontologies

Challenges Ahead

Classic "chicken and egg problem" en route to "network effect"

Getting Familiar with the Semantic Web 

Timing Strawman

Killer apps (or even failures) could radically change the timeline.


2006 Tech Plenary meeting, participants, from the back of room

W3C logo


Extra Slides

World Wide Web Consortium

W3C's Mission: Leading the Web to its Full Potential

Founded by Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee in 1994, W3C is:

Map of W3C Member per country (early 2006)

(Membership / Benefits / "At a Glance" brochure)

Who are W3C's Members?

"Third-class companies make products; second-class companies develop technology; first-class companies set standards."

* popular saying in Chinese business and government, from "China’s Post-WTO Technology Policy: Standards, Software and the Changing Nature of Techno-Nationalism", by Richard P. Suttmeier and Yao Xiangkui.
Full-fee Members (Jul 2006)

Why Do People Participate in W3C?

(Membership / Benefits / How to join W3C / "At a Glance" brochure)