Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet Technology

Super-Fast RDF Search Engine Developed 144

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the google-to-buy-ireland dept.
The Register is reporting that Irish researchers have developed a new high-speed RDF search engine capable of answering search queries with more than seven billion RDF statements in mere fractions of a second. "'The importance of this breakthrough cannot be overestimated,' said Professor Stefan Decker, director of DERI. 'These results enable us to create web search engines that really deliver answers instead of links. The technology also allows us to combine information from the web, for example the engine can list all partnerships of a company even if there is no single web page that lists all of them.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Super-Fast RDF Search Engine Developed

Comments Filter:
  • by achillean (1031500) on Friday May 04, 2007 @09:34AM (#18988207) Homepage
    Here's the link to the official NUIG: DERI (omgwtfbbq) website in Ireland:

    DERI [www.deri.ie]
  • This could be huge (Score:5, Interesting)

    by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Friday May 04, 2007 @09:35AM (#18988211)
    Except for the minor little problem of getting everyone to agree on the ontologies. Being able to search quickly is important, but until somebody comes up with the Dewey Decimal System for all knowledge, it won't mean much.
    • by G4from128k (686170) on Friday May 04, 2007 @09:44AM (#18988361)
      Yes, creating a consistent ontology is challenge. But the bigger challenge is the lack of incentive for ontology truthfulness. If this type of search becomes popular, ontology spam and OSEO (Ontology Search Engine Optimization) will become a booming industry.
      • Of course you're correct. It had never occured to me that there would be ontology spam, but of course there will be. Still, for the pure knowledge aspects (think Wikipedia on RDF) it would be a wonderful thing.
        • by inviolet (797804)

          Of course you're correct. It had never occured to me that there would be ontology spam, but of course there will be. Still, for the pure knowledge aspects (think Wikipedia on RDF) it would be a wonderful thing.

          For a while, yes. But as long as there is a cash-per-page-view market, the onslaught of adverspam will reach every corner of the web. It can't be stopped as long as there is money to be made there.

          Certainly the big "pure knowledge" sites will defend themselves, as Wikipedia does, but that is an ar

          • by maxume (22995)
            Semantic information still adds value to a given page in isolation. Hence microformats.
          • by grcumb (781340)

            But as long as there is a cash-per-page-view market, the onslaught of adverspam will reach every corner of the web. It can't be stopped as long as there is money to be made there.

            Agreed. As long as there are bullshit artists in the world, they will find ways of expressing themselves.

            Certainly the big "pure knowledge" sites will defend themselves, as Wikipedia does, but that is an arms race that will eventually exhaust the resources of any single organization.

            I don't think so. I think that liars work at

        • I agree with you 100% and did not mean to imply that the goal is not worthy. Being able to search semantically or to pull out just the relevant information would be hugely valuable.

          And I'm sure that next generation search engines will create clever ways of detecting and punishing ontology spam (e.g., noting the dissonance between the text and the tags)
      • I was thinking the article kinda indicates a resolution to the ontology. Most definitions are a product of synonymous/antonymous context. For instance a person cannot understand the concept of clear without simultaneously understanding opaque. This level of search would suggest that if you throw enough generic definition at a term then some logic could be used to say "if we find so many synonyms then we have an accurate definition" this is how AIML works at a basic level. RDF would be like AIML on crack and
        • Ah, but that's the rub: most things are not binary, neither this nor that. Things live on a continuum, and it's all too often a judgement call where they should lie.
          transparency ==> translucency ==> opacity

          Or, to put it in website design terms: "It's not blue enough.
      • Why do I suddenly get this mental image of spam on increasing the plumage size of birds...?
      • Yes, creating a consistent ontology is challenge. But the bigger challenge is the lack of incentive for ontology truthfulness.

        I'd say consistent ontology is a bigger challenge (though also one that doesn't need to be anywhere near completely solved for all kinds of useful applications to exist.) Trust mechanisms built on RDF aren't really all that big of a challenge: trust relationships are fairly basic, straightforward relationships of exactly the type RDF was designed to express from the outset, after all

      • Agreed, spam could really screw things up. Different ontologies aren't such a big problem, as there are already tools to translate between them -- that's part of the show, rather than being showstopper. However, when a search engine like this is open source, available to install on a lan (or any specific project server), and can be kickstarted with an ontology that says "we trust x, y, and z, and n hops of trust from them, with each trust hop reduced by a m", things may start to look up.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by treeves (963993)
        Ontology SPAM is OK, but Epistemology Spread is really yummy!
        • by dkf (304284)
          Mod parent up as Interesting. Yeah, I know it's a joke, but it's also an excellent illustration of why writing ontologies is hard: the meaning of a word is a slippery thing, inclined to run away from you.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Except for the minor little problem of getting everyone to agree on the ontologies. Being able to search quickly is important, but until somebody comes up with the Dewey Decimal System for all knowledge, it won't mean much.
      How about the Dewey Decimal System?
      • It was an admirable attempt in its time, but it's pretty clunky. It's also very biased towards the world-view of one man in the 1870s. While it does get updated, you'll find that there are structural issues. The classic example is religion: everything involving Buddhism, Sikhism, or Jainism is lumped together in a number space which is the same size as the number space reserved for Christian "Parish Government And Administration." Christianity itself gets 88 percent of all the top-level numbers set aside fo
    • by complete loony (663508) <Jeremy.Lakeman@gma i l . c om> on Friday May 04, 2007 @10:00AM (#18988645)
      Ah, but the Dewey Decimal system only works because responsible people are involved in categorizing everything. They let just anyone publish information on the internet these days.
    • First time poster, long time lurker. Just wanted to say grats grats to the Irish. Way to go. What kind of hardware spit out 7billion records in a second? I guess I'll have to read the article... :(

      AND is it public? Can I hook up to it and send some queries just to see for myself how fast it is?
    • Fully agreed. But it worked for RSS - and it also seems to work for SIOC (see http://sioc-project.org/ [sioc-project.org] ). Other XML structured formats are also catching on - eg., XBRL. All of them can be (quite easily) translated in a graph and integrated. So there is hope. However, Andreas and Aidans work reported on in the press release enables us to build scalable engines - scalability was a major headache before.
      • Congratulations to you, Andreas and Aidan. Scaling is a major accomplishment. I've thought about this (ontology) issue a lot, ever since I realized how brilliant Roget [notredame.ac.jp] was. As I've said elsewhere in this thread, to me, the issue of things being on a continuum, and the judgementalism of placing them on that continuum is a serious problem. Then there's the issues of getting everyone to standardize, overlapping ontologies and schema drift over time. I think we'll see most of the initial progress in very verti
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by spemen (1075451)
      Actually there is a lot of research being done to get around the need for a 'Dewey Decimal System'. The idea is to analyze relations between terms (names, datatypes, ect.) in an ontology. One could also compare relationships between terms: A child of B, C child of D, and A=B does B==A ?? Please note that these are examples of how terms and ontologies *could* be matched and not necessarily how someone would match terms. http://www.ontologymatching.org/ [ontologymatching.org] Also, http://wordnet.princeton.edu/ [princeton.edu] is a project I thin
    • by maharg (182366)

      until somebody comes up with the Dewey Decimal System for all knowledge, it won't mean much

      it's coming: http://metadata-stds.org/19763/index.html [metadata-stds.org]

      Last year I attended an excellent seminar track on content and knowledge at this : http://www.xmlsummerschool.com/ [xmlsummerschool.com] - and one of the speakers had a great example - he wanted to be able to search for a guitar amp speaker cabinet that would handle the 100w (that's RMS) output of his Marshall amp, and fit in the boot/trunk of his car - I forget the make/model, let's say it's a Ford whatever... anyhow, the point is that the semantic search app would need to

  • for a Radio Direction Finder?
  • Links! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SolitaryMan (538416) on Friday May 04, 2007 @09:37AM (#18988235) Homepage Journal

    These results enable us to create web search engines that really deliver answers instead of links.

    I need both: answers *and* links! Many times when I search the web, I don't know for sure what am I searching for, let alone being able to ask specific question...

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      This is probably the biggest problem with searching. Google can return really good results if you know what to search for. Most people I know just type in the first word that pops into their head, and make the search way too generalized, and don't get good results. Knowing what words to type in can save you a lot of time in searching.
      • by Andy_R (114137)
        The sad thing is that it's so easy to learn how to get good results using current search engines, but people are never taught how to do it.

        RDF could do very useful things, like throwing up a disambiguation question at the top os the results page when you've not made it clear what you want, or filtering out the plague of typosquatter/content free price comparison/'be the first to write a review of this item' sites, but so could a bit more intelligence built into Google.
        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          People just expect computers to do everything for them, and turn off their brains most of the time. This is why people have so many problems operating computers. Most people when searching for information about Cats (the musical) will probably just type in "cats", and look through all the results. Whereas, a person who understands the concept of feeding the right information to the search engine, will probably type in "cats musical", or if you're looking for something more specific, you may type in "cats
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Red Flayer (890720)

          RDF could do very useful things, like throwing up a disambiguation question at the top os the results page when you've not made it clear what you want
          It looks like you're trying to search for tentacle porn. Would you like help?

          No thanks, I don't need Clippy in my search engine.
          • by Andy_R (114137)
            I'm not suggesting Clippy, I'm just suggesting disambiguation. Google already does this for typos (You searched for "kats musical song list" did you mean "cats musical song list"?). If Google noticed that the cats pages fell into 3 major categories (musical/animal/character who says 'all your base') and offered me those options in the typo line, I'd find that useful in narrowing down which of the 86,500,000 pages it found is the right one.

            In your example, I'm guessing you might find the option to filter dow
            • I know, I was just making a joke.

              However, I think contextural disambiguation questions like what you're suggesting are already served by "search within results" queries. Proposing likely criteria for narrowing down the results would be, I think, a disservice. It pigeonholes sites, but worse than that, pigeonholes searches. This leads to easy gaming of the search system -- SEO would cause pretty much every site to make sure it's associated with the typical disambiguation terms, thus removing the utility
              • by Andy_R (114137)
                I'm not so sure. I'm not suggesting linking to disambiguation pages (which could be gamed by SEO), I'm suggesting Google analyses the text and notices that pages tend to either use the words "Andrew Lloyd Webber" "Kitty-litter" or "set us up the bomb" and that these phrases tend to be mutually exclusive, so they would be good ones to offer as means of disambiguation.

                The terms wouldn't be 'typical disambiguation terms', as they would be generated freshly from the content of the pages that appear in the searc
                • Hmm. I do manually what you're suggesting when searching. Enter my search terms, and if most of the results are for something different than what I'm looking for, I'll add terms to remove the extraneous results. This is based on the couple lines of content info returned by Google (of course, those lines aren't 100% fresh with Google).

                  So, I think what you're suggesting is that the search engine prompt those terms to help people narrow their search? Didn't Ask Jeeves try this and miserably fail -- and if
    • by roman_mir (125474)
      let alone being able to ask specific question... - "Computers are useless. They can only give you answers." (Pablo Picasso)

      When they come up with a computer that will be able to ask questions for me, then I will be impressed :)
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Friday May 04, 2007 @09:38AM (#18988265) Journal
    Having solved the problem of search, and providing a breakthrough product that has consciousness to what was previously mere series of tubes, now the National University of Ireland announced that it is going to solve world hunger next, may be in three months. Other projects in the pipeline includes cure for cancer and solving full Navier Stokes equation.
    • by skidv (656766)
      'The importance of this breakthrough cannot be overestimated,' said Professor Stefan Decker, director of DERI.

      Having solved the problem of search, and providing a breakthrough product that has consciousness to what was previously mere series of tubes

      This breakthrough makes it possible to use the Interweb as a tube of artificial intelligences capable of answering such questions as "Who is Neuromancer?" and "Why is the number 42 so important, anyway?" as well as organize a successful revolution by moon colon
    • by Jessta (666101)
  • Hype (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gvc (167165) on Friday May 04, 2007 @09:42AM (#18988317)

    users should get more relevant results


    Yet another /. article parroting an uncritical popular press account of a press release.
    • by Dhalka226 (559740)

      Yet another /. post bitching about /. articles, yet adding absolutely no value of their own.

      Seriously. Do you have anything to add to the discussion or were you simply karma whoring?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by StefanDecker (1097693)
      We have a Technical Report available at http://www.deri.ie/fileadmin/documents/DERI-TR-200 7-04-20.pdf [www.deri.ie] that should answer most of the technical questions. From the abstract: "We present the architecture of an end-to-end search engine that uses a graph data model to enable interactive query answering over structured and interlinked data collected from many disparate sources on the Web. In particular, we study distributed indexing methods for graph-structured data and parallel query evaluation methods on a
  • RDF? (Score:4, Funny)

    by lancelotlink (958750) on Friday May 04, 2007 @09:46AM (#18988393)
    I didn't realize Steve Jobs' Reality Distortion Field was able to be harnessed and bottled in a search engine, or any software for that matter. His abilities are boundless!
  • I'll prove him wrong (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Big Nothing (229456) <big.nothing@bigger.com> on Friday May 04, 2007 @09:57AM (#18988577)
    "'The importance of this breakthrough cannot be overestimated,' said Professor Stefan Decker, director of DERI."

    This is without a doubt the greatest invention in the history of time!

    There, I just proved the professor wrong. Muahaha.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by StefanDecker (1097693)
      OK, I concede. You won.
      Some people can overestimate the importance ;-)
    • by jZnat (793348) *
      But you didn't cover the possibilities of inventions being even greater than that in the future.

      Gotta think logically...
  • The importance of this breakthrough cannot be overestimated
    I think he just did...
  • by stevenp (610846) on Friday May 04, 2007 @09:59AM (#18988617)
    - "The importance of this breakthrough cannot be overestimated"

    The importance of any event can be overestimated and quite often is overestimated. It is called hype.
    When speaking of XML, XHTML and semantic WEB then the word "overestimated" fits just nice.
    If this was not the case then HTML should long have been dead and the whole WEB should have been based on pure XML with meaningful tags.

    -- Do not read me, I am a stupid tag
    • How could this possibly be modded insightful? This is actually an uninformed and naive view (however prevalent on Slashdot) of how and why XML are used.

      I've seen this sentiment regarding "HTML" vs "XML" on Slashdot so often; let me set the record straight:

      Many sites use XML on the back-end, either as an interchange format with a DB, or to store and to generate HTML. I would dare say that *most* web-based applications of XML generate HTML, rather than XML, as the final output format. Outputti
    • by Ant P. (974313)
      Yes, I agree the W3C's vision of everyone surfing the WEB on their Blue-ray equipped MACS is just wishful thinking
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04, 2007 @10:11AM (#18988821)
    What kind of data set did they use? The structure and contents of the graph that is the data in an RDF database has a huge impact on the performance of query execution, and different applications have different structures.

    What kind of queries are they running? There are several different RDF query languages (think of SeRQL, RDQL, N3, SPARQL, etcetera) and some of them support quite complex queries. Quickly finding the answers to a simple query like

    SELECT ?name WHERE ?name <http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/name> "John Smith"
    is just a matter of an indexed lookup and not very special. But, like in SQL, much more complex expressions can be generated that require complex index operations on the query execution level. Having implemented an RDF database that supports SPARQL queries an order of magnitude faster than the software the W3C uses for their experiments (which, admitedly, doesn't have performance as a prime requirement), I know that it's possible to do simple things fast, but the interesting part is handling RDF queries that don't easily map to efficient database operations.

    Which brings me to the most important point: where is their detailed report? Can I get the software somewhere and perform my own tests? The article is too vague to draw any conclusions about what their RDF database does, and how good it is. I'd love to read up on it, but I can't seem to find the information.
  • SUPER Speed (Score:2, Funny)

    by phoric (833867)
    Colonel Sandurz: Prepare ship for light speed. Dark Helmet: No, no, no. Light speed is too slow. Colonel Sandurz: Light speed is too slow? Dark Helmet: Yes. We're gonna have go right to... SUPER speed. [everybody gasps] Colonel Sandurz: SUPER speed? Sir, we've never gone that fast before. I do'nt know if this ship can take it. Dark Helmet: What's the matter Colonel Sandurz? Chicken? Colonel Sandurz: [Wimpering] Prepair ship! [Calms down] Colonel Sandurz: Prepare ship, for Ludicrous speed. Fasten all seat be
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by VWJedi (972839)


      [Wimpering] Prepair ship! [Calms down] Colonel Sandurz: Prepare ship, for Ludicrous speed. Fasten all seat belts.

      If you're going to steal a joke, you need to make sure to replace all references to the original. Find / Replace works great for this.

  • First, giving the amount of time and the number of items searched means nothing. Are they doing it on a BlueGene or an Apple II?

    Second, the problem with "the semantic web" if you're relying on people providing the metadata themselves, is the reliability (trustworthiness?) of the person creating the metadata. There's a reason the meta name="keywords" tags aren't a significant factor if at all in any of the major search engines' ranking systems.
    • First: The experiments have been done on a 18 node cluster of cheap servers.
      Second: There are other ways to get metadata - eg., via SIOC (see URL:http://sioc-project.org/>. But true, trust is an issue. And some people in DERI Galway are working on ranking algorithms on top of the search engine.
    • Second, the problem with "the semantic web" if you're relying on people providing the metadata themselves, is the reliability (trustworthiness?) of the person creating the metadata.

      One of misconceptions about the Semantic Web - that it's only about metadata when in fact it's about a Web of Data, e.g., currently locked in in databases, blog engines or social software sites. (related: SemWeb FAQ entry [w3.org] on "Does the Semantic Web require me to manually markup all the existing web-pages ... ?")

      A very, very si

  • sounds fishy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vga_init (589198) on Friday May 04, 2007 @10:50AM (#18989453) Journal

    Of course a search based on meta data is going to be faster and more accurate, but only when the meta data is correct. We've had this since the beginning of the interweb; people would load up their pages with bogus meta data just to generate search traffic. Because of this dishonesty, search engines have had to resort to other methods of evaluating and indexing pages (for example, based on actual content).

    I don't see any difference between this new RDF and that old stuff.

    • by CaptSolo (899152)

      RDF is just a way to express knowledge. In answer to "any difference between this new RDF and ..." you may take a look at the W3C Semantic Web FAQ [w3.org] (published very recently).

      Now, like you said what we find depends on what we feed into search engines and on the engines themselves. To this regard it's work for better search engines and ranking algorithms, and the work described here is an important step in this path. There's a link to a technical report and more details posted (by a developer) in another Sla [slashdot.org]

    • by bbtom (581232)
      Yes, and that is why the key thing in the Semantic Web space is the making of assertions. If I say that your page is about fishing and you say that your page is about fishing, that's no problem. If you say that your page is about fishing and 90,000 people say it's junk, that's when we have a problem. Having a data model like RDF which allows these assertions to be made across the web is what makes such a thing possible without it all becoming too centralised to be useful.
  • So now we have a search engine capeable of making a godzillion searches in a data domain that does not exist yet. That's all great and dandy, and we do indeed need new models and architectures for search engines once (if) the web goes all semantic. However, when (if) the semantic web ever becomes a reality, this search engine will long be retired. So, this result is great from a research point of view, but don't expect it to leave the lab.
    • I guess in the early days of the Web many people said the same thing - why bother if nobody is providing HTML pages and nobody is using HTML browsers (in fact, I remember that time very well).
      Of course building a web of data is more demanding - the infrastructure is far more complicated.
      But we have made tremendous progress over the last years - to the point where currently structured data coming from applications like Wikis, Mailing Lists, Bulletin Boards can, should and will be integrated. And progress
  • by aidhog (1097699) on Friday May 04, 2007 @11:18AM (#18989863)
    As one of the developers on the project (along with user aharth), feel free to ask any specific questions you may have here. The article is quite vague and so I refer you to a technical report at http://www.deri.ie/fileadmin/documents/DERI-TR-200 7-04-20.pdf/ [www.deri.ie].
    • could be my browser (Safari), but clicking on your link leads to a 404, going through the main page and clicking my way through works, though. Just in case it happens to other users. Thanks for the link, now my friday evening is officially ruined, I got to read this right away. ;-)
      • I'm using Firefox under Windoz and I could not access the article either. It's a bad URL.

        • This is how I got the PDF:

          go to www.deri.ie

          click on "World Record 7 Billion Triples"

          scroll down on the resulting page click on the word "here" in the last sentence.

          get busy reading ;-)

          I suspect that this is not a browser-related problem but a server-problem. The link in the OP and the one mentioned here is the same.
    • Fixed URL (Score:2, Informative)

      by CaptSolo (899152)

      2 all: remove the ending slash '/' from the URL above, it will work then.

      Correct link: http://www.deri.ie/fileadmin/documents/DERI-TR-200 7-04-20.pdf [www.deri.ie]

  • but why would I want to search several million statements from the Robotech Defense Force? I mean, sure I'm an Anime nerd, but there are limits...
  • RDF is a bad idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Zarf (5735)
    I just read the basics [w3.org] of RDF and I can see that this could be a really really bad idea. If RDF is intended as an internal data representation for a search engine company to use then this is great. The search engine company or your own company's search engine staff can police and audit your RDF data. However, if I'm reading this right RDF is *supposed* to be populated by *volunteered* data. As such you're going to suffer not just the Wikipedia effect but all the problems seen in MetaData from an internet ge
    • Zarf, you are absolutly correct that indeed raw RDF data can be polluted if crawled naively. That is exactly the reason why in all newer applications not the simple triple model is used, but actually quads, where the last argument may represent the source of the data. This data model is called named graphs.
      So once you have the source recorded one is able to do trust computions with the graph and its source - eg., using pagerank like algorithms. Some sources can be assigned a low trust value, others can g
      • by Zarf (5735)
        Indeed the implementation that DERI reported on is realizing named graphs for exactly that reason, and Aidan is working on a ranking algorithm which is taking the source of the data into account.

        Then the fast search engine is not really proving its speed on the real problem... only a problem sub-set. I see now I was missing the part about the quad. (None of the linked materials talked about them either I don't think) Thank you for educating me on that point.
  • Hard to know if this article is worth reading or not when the summary doesn't even tell me WHAT RDF IS!! Criminy.
  • "'The importance of this breakthrough cannot be overestimated,' said Professor Stefan Decker, director of DERI."

    I agree. In my estimation, this could well foretell the cure to AIDS, cancer, world hunger, war, and genital warts.

"You need tender loving care once a week - so that I can slap you into shape." - Ellyn Mustard

Working...