During the last week of June, I co-organized a Dagstuhl seminar on Federated Semantic Data Management together with Maria-Esther Vidal and Johann-Christoph Freytag. It was a very intense week with a packed schedule and almost no time to catch some breath (exactly like how a Dagstuhl seminar should be I guess ðŸ˜‰
To start with, we had scheduled a few short, survey-style talks on a number of topics related to the seminar. In particular, these talks covered:
- Graph data models and graph databases, by me (slides),
- RDF and semantics, by Claudio Gutierrez (slides),
- Policies and access control, by Sabrina Kirrane and Piero Andrea Bonatti,
- Database privacy, by Johann-Christoph Freytag (slides),
- Distributed database systems, by Katja Hose (slides), and
- Federated query processing, by Maria-Esther Vidal (slides).
While these talks were meant to establish a common understanding of key concepts and terminology, the major focus of the seminar was on discussions and working groups. To this end, we had invited a good mix of participants from the Semantic Web field, from Databases, as well as from application areas. Due to this mix, we ended up on several occasions and in different constellations discussing and reflecting in depth the fundamental assumptions and the core ideas of federated semantic data management. These general discussions and reflections kept re-emerging not only during the sessions, but also during the meals, the coffee breaks, and the evenings in Dagstuhl’s wine cellar. In my opinion, clearly articulating and repeatedly arguing about these assumptions and ideas was a long-needed discussion to be had in the community. After this week, I would guess that many of the participants have a much clearer understanding of what federated semantic data management can and should be, and I am certain that this understanding will be reflected in the reports that the working groups are preparing.
Speaking of working groups, the seminar was structured around four topics addressed by four separate working groups who came together occasionally to report on their progress and obtain feedback from the other groups. The topics were:
- RDF and graph data models
- Federated query processing
Access control and privacy
- Use cases and applications
Each of the working groups is currently preparing a summary of their discussions and results. These summaries will become part of our Dagstuhl report (to be published some time in August if all goes well). In addition to this report, we are planning to document the discussions and the results of the seminar in a collection of more detailed publications.
What’s next? We have some ideas to keep the momentum and to advance the discussions around the seminar topics in a more continuous community process. Stay tuned.