Sept. 3, 2008 SDF Semantic Web

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On September 3, 2008 in Palo Alto SDForum’s Semantic Web SIG hosted two speakers on “Emerging Semantic Ad Platforms”. Advertising revenue is the prevailing model on the web today. How will it look on the Semantic Web? Will they be less annoying and more relevant? Text from

Walter Chang is a Senior Computer Scientist at the Advanced Technology Labs of Adobe Systems. He presented a new semantic ad platform using the billions of pdf documents already in existence. Adobe’s Semantic Analysis Platform started three years ago targeted toward enterprise or government intelligence workflows. Along the way they saw an opportunity to contextualize advertising and launched Ads for Adobe PDF last year. Interested organizations include Yahoo Ads, IEEE and CMP. The challenges were understanding the analytical methods, document structures, semantic noise, prioritizing results and getting a handle on fluid dynamic ontologies. When you encounter a document you have to ask what is about. This “aboutness” determines relevance. To do this, you create a semantic model, extract the text and metadata to figure out the context with semantic analysis. Considering the flood of information we have to deal with everyday, Chang offers tools in a search for meaning.

Thomas (“Tom”) Tague leads Thomson Reuters Calais initiative, spearheading strategy, product development and partner relations. He showed how natural language processing (NLP) is used for Web semantics. Tague demonstrated the Calais initiative (, a free Web-based platform producing computable semantics from any text and fed into any new search service, Semantic Web application or ad platform. Imagine the computers from the Matrix parsing sentences at lightning speed and crunching them down into semantic bits. Calais “understands” entities, events, facts and topics which is useful for a news organization like Reuters. It is probably reading and parsing this article right now to determine if it is newsworthy. As scary as it seems, it offers hope to a world drowning in a sea of information and unable to drink from any of it.

It is funny how the breakthrough in computer science may come from advertising. The future of the Semantic Web? There will be ads.

Here is a picture from the event.


Copyright 2008 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

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