IRIS Research Unit


ENVISION - EnvIronmental Services Infrastructure with Ontologies

ENVISION logoThe ENVISION project provides an ENVIronmental Services Infrastructure with Ontologies that aims to support non ICT-skilled users in the process of semantic discovery and adaptive chaining and composition of environmental services. Innovations in ENVISION are: on-the-Web enabling and packaging of technologies for their use by non ICT-skilled users, support for migrating environmental models to be provided as models as a service (Maas), and the use of data streaming information for harvesting information for dynamic building of ontologies and adapting service execution.

The ENVISION Environmental Decision Portal supports the creation of web-based applications enabled for dynamic discovery and visual service chaining. The ENVISION Ontology Infrastructure provides support for visual semantic annotation tools and multilingual ontology management. The ENVISION Execution Infrastructure comprises a semantic discovery catalogue and a semantic service mediator based on a generic semantic framework and adaptive service chaining with data-driven adaptability.

Scenario requirements and pilots from the ENVISION user partners focus on landslide hazard assessment and environmental pollution (oil spills) decision support systems. The benefit of ENVISION for the wider community will be better accessibility to modelling tools using the Web and it will provide greater flexibility through improved connections to distributed sources of information.

LarKC - Large Knowledge Collider

LarKC logoThe aim of the EU FP 7 Large-Scale Integrating Project LarKC is to develop the Large Knowledge Collider (LarKC, for short, pronounced "lark"), a platform for massive distributed incomplete reasoning that will remove the scalability barriers of currently existing reasoning systems for the Semantic Web. This will be achieved by:

  1. Enriching the current logic-based Semantic Web reasoning methods with methods from information retrieval, machine learning, information theory, databases, and probabilistic reasoning,
  2. Employing cognitively inspired approaches and techniques such as spreading activation, focus of attention, reinforcement, habituation, relevance reasoning, and bounded rationality.
  3. Building a distributed reasoning platform and realizing it both on a high-performance computing cluster and via "computing at home".

The consortium is an interdisciplinary team of engineers and researchers in Computing Science, Web Science and Cognitive Science, well qualified to realize this ambitious vision. The Large Knowledge Collider will be an open architecture. Researchers and practitioners from outside the consortium will be encouraged to develop and plug in their own components to drive parts of the system. This will make the Large Knowledge Collider a generic platform, and not just a single reasoning engine. The success of the Large Knowledge Collider will be demonstrated in three end-user case studies. The first one is from the telecommunication sector. It aims at real-time aggregation and analysis of location data obtained from mobile phones carried by the population of a city, in order to regulate city infrastructure functions such as public transport and to provide context-sensitive navigation information. The other two case studies are in the life-sciences domain, related respectively to drug discovery and carcinogenesis research. Both will demonstrate that the capabilities of the Large Knowledge Collider go well beyond what is possible with current Semantic Web infrastructure.

RENDER - Reflecting Knowledge Diversity

RENDER logoThe Web has proved to be an unprecedented success for facilitating the publication, use and exchange of information, at planetary scale, on virtually every topic, and representing an amazing diversity of opinions, viewpoints, mind sets and backgrounds. Its design principles and core technological components have lead to an unprecedented growth and mass collaboration. This trend is also finding increasing adoption in business environments. Nevertheless, the Web is also confronted with fundamental challenges with respect to the purposeful access, processing and management of these sheer amounts of information, whilst remaining true to its principles, and leveraging the diversity inherently unfolding through world wide scale collaboration.

RENDER will engage with these challenges by developing methods, techniques, software and data sets that will leverage diversity as a crucial source of innovation and creativity, whilst providing enhanced support for feasibly managing data at very large scale, and for designing novel algorithms that reflect diversity in the ways information is selected, ranked, aggregated, presented and used. RENDER’s information management solution will scale to very large amounts of data and hundreds of thousands of users, but also to a plurality of points of views and opinions. This will be demonstrated through the usage of realistic data sources, including news streams covering over 5000 sources worldwide with 100,000 items per day, (micro) blog streams adding up to more than a million posts per day, a full data stream from Wikipedia, and the Linked Open Data Cloud; through open source extensions to popular communication and collaboration platforms such as MediaWiki and WordPress; and through three high-profile case studies.

RENDER will help to realize a world where information is acquired and shared in a fundamentally different manner than the consensual approach promoted by movements such as Web 2.0, and where communication and collaboration across the borders of social, cultural or professional communities are truly enabled via advanced Web technology, supporting one of the credos of European society: “United in diversity”.


SEALS logoSemantic technologies are at the heart of the future Web providing ways to express knowledge and data so that it can be properly exploited. These technologies will empower a new class of Information and Communication Technologies much more scalable, interoperable, and with a higher degree of process automation support that will fulfill the needs of an emergence market that will exceed $10 billion by 2010. This is a very active research area, but still suffers from a lack of standard benchmarks and infrastructures for assessing research outcomes. SEALS addresses two key challenges: the creation of a lasting reference infrastructure for semantic technology evaluation and the continuous benchmarking of semantic technologies at a large scale via public worldwide evaluation campaigns.


SOA4All logoThe emerging generation starts by abstracting from software and sees all resources as services in a service-oriented architecture (SOA). In a world of services, it is the service that counts for a customer and not the software or hardware components which implement the service. Service-oriented architectures are rapidly becoming the dominant computing paradigm. However, current SOA solutions are still restricted in their application context to being in-house solutions of companies. A service Web will have billions of services. While service orientation is widely acknowledged for its potential to revolutionize the world of computing by abstracting from the underlying hardware and software layers, its success depends on resolving a number of fundamental challenges that SOA does not address today. SOA4All will help to realize a world where billions of parties are exposing and consuming services via advanced Web technology.

The outcome of the project will be a comprehensive framework and infrastructure that ntegrates four complimentary and revolutionary technical advances into a coherent and domain independent service delivery platform:

  • Web principles and technology as the underlying infrastructure for the integration of services at a world wide scale.
  • Web 2.0 as a means to structure human-machine cooperation in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
  • Semantic Web technology as a means to abstract from syntax to semantics as required for meaningful service discovery.
  • Context management as a way to process in a machine understandable way user needs that facilitates the customization of existing services for the needs of users.

SOA4All will significantly impact the competitiveness of the European Software and IT Services industry and more widely to address the Lisbon goals. For that purpose SOA4All will use the support of the NESSI constituency and will contribute significantly to the NESSI Open Framework, which is one of the main challenges of the European Platform on Software and Services. It has a consortium of 16 partners and led by Atos Origin.

Past Projects


MUSING logoMUSING aims at developing a new generation of Business Intelligence (BI) tools and modules founded on semantic-based knowledge and content systems. MUSING will integrate Semantic Web and Human Language technologies and combine declarative rule-based methods and statistical approaches for enhancing the technological foundations of knowledge aquisition and reasoning in BI applications. The breakthrough impact of MUSING on semantic-based BI will be measured in three streategic, vertical domains: Finance, through development and vcalidation of next generation (Basel II and beyond) semantic-based BI solutions, with particular reference to Credit Risk MAnagement; Internationalisation, through development and validation of next generation semantic-based internatiojnalisation platforms; Operational Risk Management, through development and validation of semantic-driven knowledge systems for measurement and mitigation tools, with particular reference to IT operational risks faced by IT-intensive organisations.