3748 The 7th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2008) | Call for Semantic Web Challenge and Billion Triples tracks

ISWC 2008

Call for Participation

Sixth Semantic Web Challenge Open Track and Billion Triples Track

International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2008)

26-30 October 2008, Karlsruhe, Germany

We invite submissions to the sixth annual Semantic Web Challenge, the premiere event for demonstrating practical progress towards achieving the vision of the Semantic Web.

The central idea of the Semantic Web is to extend the current human-readable web by encoding some of the semantics of resources in a machine-processable form. Moving beyond syntax opens the door to more advanced applications and functionality on the Web. Computers will be better able to search, process, integrate and present the content of these resources in a meaningful, intelligent manner.

As the core technological building blocks are now in place, the next challenge is to show off the benefits of semantic technologies by developing integrated, easy to use applications that can provide new levels of Web functionality for end users on the Web or within enterprise settings. Applications submitted should demonstrate clear practical value that goes above and beyond what is possible with conventional web technologies alone.

Unlike in previous years, the Semantic Web Challenge of 2008 will consist of two tracks: the Open Track and the Billion Triples Track. The key difference between the two tracks is that the Billion Triples Track requires the participants to make use of the data set –a billion triples– provided by the organizers. The Open Track has no such restrictions.

As before, the Challenge is open to everyone from academia and industry. The authors of the best applications will be awarded prizes and featured prominently at special sessions during the conference.


The overall goal of this event is to advance our understanding of how semantic technologies can be exploited to produce useful applications for the Web. Semantic Web applications should integrate, combine, and deduce information from various sources to assist users in performing specific tasks.

The specific goal of the Billion Triples Track is to demonstrate the scalability of applications as well as to encourage the development of applications that can deal with Web data. We stress that the goal of this is not to be a benchmarking effort between triple stores, but rather to demonstrate applications that can scale to a Web scale using realistic Web-quality data.

Minimal Requirements

Submissions for the Semantic Web Challenge must meet the
following minimum requirements:

For the Open Track:

  • The meaning of data has to play a central role.
    • Meaning must be represented using formal descriptions.
    • Data must be manipulated/processed in interesting ways to derive useful information and
    • this semantic information processing has to play a central role in achieving things that alternative technologies cannot do as well, or at all;
  • The information sources used
    • should be under diverse ownership or control
    • should be heterogeneous (syntactically, structurally, and semantically), and
    • should contain substantial quantities of real world data (i.e. not toy examples).
  • The application has to be an end-user application, i.e. an application that provides a practical value to domain experts.

Although we expect that most applications will use RDF, RDF Schema, or OWL this is not a requirement. What is more important is that whatever semantic technology is used, it plays a central role in achieving interesting new levels of functionality or performance.

It is required that all applications assume an open world, i.e. that the information is never complete.

Additional Desirable Features

In addition to the above minimum requirements, we note other desirable features that will be used as criteria to evaluate submissions.

  • The application provides an attractive and functional Web interface (for human users)
  • Rigorous evaluations have taken place that demonstrate the benefits of semantic technologies, or validate the results obtained.
  • The application should be scalable (in terms of the amount of data used and in terms of distributed components working together)
  • Novelty, in applying semantic technology to a domain or task that have not been considered before
  • Functionality is different from or goes beyond pure information retrieval
  • The application has clear commercial potential and/or large existing user base
  • Contextual information is used for ratings or rankings
  • Multi-media documents are used in some way
  • There is a use of dynamic data (e.g. workflows), perhaps in
    combination with static information
  • The results should be as accurate as possible (e.g. use a ranking
    of results according to context)
  • There is support for multiple languages and
    accessibility on a range of devices

For the Billion Triples Track

  • The primary goal is to for submissions to show how they add value to the very large triple store. This can involved anything from helping people figure out what is in the store via browsing, visualization, etc; could include inferencing that adds information not directly queriable in the original dataset; could involve showing how ontological information could be tied to part(s) or the whole of the dataset; etc.
  • The tool or application has to make use of at least a significant portion of the data provided by the organizers.
  • The tool or application is allowed to use other data that can be linked to the target dataset, but there is still an expectation that the primary focus will be on the data provided.
  • The tool or application does not have to be specifically an end-user application, as defined for the Open Track Challenge, but usability is a concern. The key goal is to demonstrate an interaction with the large data-set driven by a user or an application. However, given the scale of this challenge, solutions that can be justified as leading to such applications, or as crucial to the success of future applications, will be considered.

It is desired that all applications assume an open world, i.e. that the information is never complete. However, applications that can show useful ways to “close the world” for sections of the very large dataset will be considered.

Additional Desirable Features

In addition to the above minimum requirements, we note other desirable features that will be used as criteria to evaluate submissions.

  • The application should do more than simply store/retrieve large numbers of triples
  • The application or tool(s) should be scalable (in terms of the amount of data used and in terms of distributed components working together)
  • The application or tool(s) should show the use of the very large, mixed quality data set
  • The application should either function in real-time or, if pre-computation is needed, have a real-time realization (but we will take a wide view of “real time” depending on the scale of what is done)

How to participate

Visit http://challenge.semanticweb.org/ in order to participate and register for the Semantic Web Challenge by submitting the required information as well as a link to the application on the online registration form. The form will be open until October 1, 2008, 12am CET. The requirements of this entry are:

  • Abstract: no more than 200 words.
  • Description: The description will show details of the system including why the system is innovative, which features or functions the system provides, what design choices were made and what lessons were learned. Papers should not exceed eight pages and must be formatted according to the same guidelines as the papers in the Research Track (see http://iswc2008.semanticweb.org/)
  • Web access: The application should be accessible via the web. If the application is not publicly accessible, passwords should be provided. We also ask to provide a (short) instruction on how to start and use the application.

Descriptions will be published in the form of an online proceedings.


A prize in money will be provided to the winners along with publicity for their work. The winners will also be asked to give a live demonstration of their application at the ISWC 2008 conference. The best applications will also have a chance to appear as full papers in the Journal of Web Semantics.

In the event that one of the tracks receive less than a minimal number of submissions, the organizers reserve the right to merge the two tracks of the competition.

Important Dates

  • October 1, 2008 Submissions due
  • October 26-30, 2008 ISWC 2008 Technical Program

SWC Co-Chairs

  • Jim Hendler (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
  • Peter Mika (Yahoo! Research Barcelona)

SWC Advisory Board

Dean Allemang (TopQuadrant), Jürgen Angele (Ontoprise), Mike Dean (BBN Technologies), Stefan Decker (DERI, Galway), Jérôme Euzenat (INRIA Rhone-Alpes), Ian Horrocks (University of Manchester), Atanas Kiryakov (OntoText), Michel Klein (Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam), Deborah McGuinness (Stanford University), Rob Shearer (University of Manchester), Amit Sheth (Wright State University), York Sure (University of Karlsruhe), Hideaki Takeda (National Institute of Informatics, Tokyo), Ubbo Visser (University of Bremen)


Peter Mika Yahoo! Research Barcelona, Ocata 1 08001 Barcelona, Spain

Tel: +34 935 421 165 Fax: +34 935 421 150

Email: pmika at yahoo-inc.com

Web: http://www.cs.vu.nl/~pmika/