Retrospective: 2nd US DBpedia Community meeting in California

After the largest DBpedia meeting to date we decided it was time to cross the Atlantic for the second time for another meetup. Two weeks ago the 8th DBpedia Community Meeting was held in Sunnyvale, California on October 27th 2016.

Main Event

Pablo Mendes from Lattice Data Inc. opened the main event with a short introduction setting the tone for the evening. After that Dimitris Kontokostas gave technical and organizational DBpedia updates. The main event attracted attendees with lightning talks from major companies actively using DBpedia or interested in knowledge graphs in general.

Four major institutions described their efforts to organize reusable information in a centralized knowledge representation. Google’s Tatiana Libman presented (on behalf of Denny Vrandečić) the impressive scale of the Google Knowledge graph, with 1B+ entities and over 100 billion facts.

Tatiana Libman from Google
Tatiana Libman from Google

Yahoo’s Nicolas Torzec presented the Yahoo knowledge graph, with focus on their research on extracting data from Web tables to expand their knowledge which includes DBpedia as an important part. Qi He from LinkedIn focused mostly on how to model a knowledge graph of people and skills, which becomes particularly interesting with the possibility of integration with Microsoft’s Satori Graph. Such an integration would allow general domain knowledge and very specific knowledge about professionals complementing one another. Stas Malyshev from Wikidata presented statistics on their growth, points of contact with DBpedia as well as an impressive SPARQL query interface that can be used to query the structured data that they are generating.

Three other speakers focused on the impact of DBpedia in machine learning and natural language processing. Daniel Gruhl from IBM Watson gave the talk “Truth for the impatient” where he showed that a knowledge model built from DBpedia can help costs and time to value for extracting entity mentions with higher accuracy. Pablo Mendes from Lattice Data Inc. presented their approach that leverages DBpedia and other structured information sources for weak supervision to obtain very strong NLP extractors. Sujan Perera from IBM Watson discussed the problem of identifying implicit mentions of entities in tweets and how the knowledge represented in DBpedia can be used to help uncover those references.

Another three speakers focused on applications of DBpedia and knowledge graphs. Margaret Warren from Metadata Authoring Systems, LLC presented ImageSnippets and how background knowledge from DBpedia allows better multimedia search through inference. For instance, by searching for “birds” you may find pictures that haven’t been explicitly tagged as birds but for which the fact can be inferred from DBpedia. Jans Aasman from Franz Inc presented their company’s approach to Data Exploration with Visual SPARQL Queries. They described opportunities for graph analytics in the medical domain, and discussed how DBpedia has been useful in their applications. Finally, Wang-Chiew Tan presented their research at RIT relating to building chatbots, among other projects that relate to using background knowledge stored in computers to enrich real life experiences.

8th-dbpedia-meeting_california
Nicolas Torzec from Yahoo

Overall the talks were very high quality and fostered plenty of discussions afterwards. We finalized the event with a round of introductions where every attendee got to say their name and affiliation to help them connect with one another throughout the final hour of the event.

All slides and presentations are also available on our Website and you will find more feedback and photos about the event on Twitter via #DBpediaCA.

We would like to thank Yahoo for hosting the event, Google Summer of Code 2016 mentor summit as the reason we were in the area and collocated the DBpedia meeting, the Institute for Applied Informatics for supporting the DBpedia Association, ALIGNED – Software and Data Engineering for funding the development of DBpedia as a project use-case and last but not least OpenLink Software for continuous hosting the main DBpedia Endpoint.

Many thanks to Pablo Mendes for writing this blogpost 🙂

So now, we are looking forward to the next DBpedia community meeting which will be held in Europe again. We will keep you informed via the DBpedia Website and Blog.

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