The EPSRC funded Advanced Knowledge Technologies Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration (AKT IRC) has been a significant success in terms of papers published, grants awarded, students trained, and international impact. The Review Panel rated the project as "outstanding" scoring 34 out of a maximum possible 35 on the seven review criteria used to assess the results of projects by the EPSRC. The purpose of this proposal is to take some of the most important results from AKT and organise a next stage of research. This in turn will serve as a precursor to a longer-term ambition; the establishment of Web Science as a discipline. This initiative we are undertaking with the Web's inventor Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee and MIT.
The development of new Semantic Web technologies (many developed and researched in the AKT IRC) points to a new generation of Web capability that can explore and query, assemble and integrate content in a context-aware, focused fashion. The basic idea is that we move from a document centric view of the Web to one in which data and information are the principle objects of interest. This data may relate to people, scientific structures, financial transactions or any domain that can be represented on the Web.
With the emergence of a Web of data it is essential to address three key research problems; (1) how to build ontologies quickly that are capable of exploiting the potential of large-scale user participation, (2) how we query an unbounded web of linked data, (3) how to visualise, explore, browse and navigate this mass of data.
The proposal is to undertake fundamental research in the areas 1-3 identified above. This fundamental research is supported via two application domains; one in the area of public sector information, a second in the domain of transport. The application domains will provide the context in which to gather realistic requirements, understand the social aspects that determine the success or otherwise of the systems constructed, test the adequacy of solutions, and showcase the promise of the results obtained in pursuing the research objectives outlined.