Researchers build superfast rdf search engine

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Researchers at the National University of Ireland have a search engine developed which takes less than a second to search over seven billion rdf statements. This has brought the semantic web a few steps closer.

One of the pillars of the semantic web are so-called ‘resource description framework’ statements. With the help of these xml files, all kinds of relationships between pieces of information can be made transparent. The advantage of this is that the rdf statements can be ‘understood’ by software. Researchers at the said Irish university have now developed a search engine that can search seven billion rdf statements in a fraction of a second. Because the software has knowledge of the described information, it is therefore also possible to use more specific search techniques to return more relevant data in response to a search. Part of the filtering activities that users themselves often apply after they have searched for information via a search engine can therefore be taken over by the software.

In concrete terms, this means that search engines can, for example, provide an answer to a query, instead of providing a long list of links to other information, says Professor Stefan Decker. The semantic web has been talked about for years and Tim Berners-Lee, who is also called the godfather of the internet because of his involvement in the beginning of the web, is a strong supporter of it. The world wide web was originally designed to connect relevant information through hyperlinks. Berners-Lee soon realized that this was not possible with the current techniques, after which he further developed the ideas about the semantic web. In the meantime, the vision of a ‘meaningful web of links’ now seems to be taking concrete shape, something that the Irish research, among others, has contributed to.

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