WebEvolve — Solid: Technologies, Standards and Ecosystem Event Recap

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W3C China held an online discussion on the topic of Solid Technologies, Standards and Ecosystem on 11 January 2024. We sincerely thank W3C Members Huawei and Memect for co-organizing this event. 

The event brought together experts from the industry, academia, standardization field and the interested parties from the Chinese Web community to share their views on Solid. 

This event consisted of three presentations and a panel discussion. 

Pierre-Antoine Champin (W3C) presented Solid and its standardization in W3C [recording, slides]: He introduced the Solid Project and the benefits of decoupling data from applications for users and applications providers, as well as the efforts in W3C since last September on standardizing Solid (see draft charter) with the focus on developing a Solid Protocol specification. Based on feedback received, W3C now works on better framing the problem space of Solid, further clarifying the relationship with other groups/standards (ActivityPub, DID, FedCM, HTTP WG @ IETF...), and emphasizing that Solid mostly builds on existing technologies but uses them in novel ways. The W3C Solid Community Group is open to new participants. 

Prof. Huajun Chen (Zhejiang University) shared Possible Combination of Solid and AI Large Model [recording, slides]: Starting with stating the connection between Solid and the Semantic Web, he presented the work of his team on Semantic Web and knowledge graphs, looked forward to possible approaches of combining Solid (both as knowledge graphs and general data) and AI Large Models in the future, including using public large models (data queries) in Retrieval-Augmented Generation (RAG) mode, and using private data to train small models and then combining them with public large models. He also mentioned that these combinations are accompanied with their own problems to solve. 

Dr. Rui Zhao (Oxford University) shared his explorations on the Social Aspect of Solid [recording, slides]: He introduced the EWADA project (Ethical Web And Data Architecture in the Age of AI) and its related work on Solid, and highlighted three explorations that are more directly related to social, namely Solidflix, KNoodle (+Orchestrator) and Libertas. He also summarized the experience and observations during the explorations, including the functionality and generalities of Solid, and the differences between the development on Solid and the traditional system development. He further raised some potentials of Solid, such as focusing on extending features and protocols. Read Rui Zhao’s blog post (in Chinese) to learn more about his thoughts on Solid.

The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Jie Bao (Memect). The meeting speakers, Dr. Thomas Li (Huawei) and Yang Xie (Authing) joined the panel for an open discussion with participants on topics such as the relationship between Solid and the blockchain, as well as development and promotion of Solid. 

About the WebEvolve open forum

"WebEvolve" is an open forum composed of a series of events on community-interested topics such as introduction to the latest Web technologies, exchanging ideas around emerging technologies, exploring the needs of new Web technology standards, promoting the implementations of standards, etc. The "WebEvolve" serial events are driven by the community, free and open to the public. “Solid Technologies, Standards and Ecosystem” was the first event of WebEvolve open forum. More events will come soon!

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