Archive | October 2006

Annotating at the AGU

Perhaps two years ago, it was a challenge to find appropriate sessions at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting for submissions that addressed the intersection between geophysics and knowledge representation.

A year ago, there were quite a few to choose from.

This year, I was almost overwhelmed by choice.

I ended up selecting the “Earth and Space Science Cyberinfrastructure: Application and Theory of Knowledge Representation” session in the “Earth and Space Science Informatics” section. The work I intend to present, co-authored with Jerusha Lederman and Keith Aldridge also of York University, is described via an abstract elsewhere. I’ll need to prepare well as I’m presenting in good company and have only 15 minutes!

The makings for a productive and stimulating meeting are clearly present.

And for a Canadian in December, it’s pretty difficult not to enjoy the Bay Area!

Google Docs: A Tool for Annotation

Google Docs supports comments.

First you select text, or place the cursor somewhere in your document.

Then you click on the “Insert” tab and finally on “Comment”. (“Ctrl-M” also works as a keyboard shortcut.)

You can now type directly into the comment area. The comment area is clearly delineated by a color of your choosing.

I’ve attached an example (oars_abstract) produced with Google Docs. It’s rendered here in PDF so that the comment can be viewed.

For additional help with comments, you can have a look at the Google Docs & Spreadsheets Help Center.

As I’ve blogged elsewhere, this is an example of annotation in the context of word processing.

In the case of Google Docs, this is precisely where I’d love to see an integration with Google Notebook. More specifically, extend the Google Docs notion of a comment by allowing for a Web-addressable comment. In delivering a comment that can be identified by a URL (or even better a URI), we’re closer to having an annotation.

And while we’re at it, one more thing. I’d like the resulting annotation to make use of XPointer 😉

Annotation Presentation to Remote Sensing Association

Next Wednesday, I’ll be making a presentation to the Ontario Association for Remote Sensing (OARS). The details are available online. As you can see from the abstract,

Incorporating Feature-Based Annotations into Automatically Generated Knowledge Representations

Earth Science Markup Language (ESML) is efficient and effective in representing scientific data in an XML-based formalism. However, features of the data being represented are not accounted for in ESML. Such features might derive from events (e.g., a gap in data collection due to instrument servicing), identifications (e.g., a scientifically interesting object in an image), or some other source. In order to account for features in an ESML context, consideration is given from the perspective of annotation, i.e., the addition of information to existing documents without changing the originals. Although it is possible to extend ESML to incorporate feature-based annotations internally (e.g., by extending the XML schema for ESML), there are a number of complicating factors that are identified. Rather than pursuing the ESML-extension approach, attention focuses on an external representation for feature-based annotations via XML Pointer Language (XPointer). In previous work, it has been shown that it is possible to extract relationships from ESML-based representations, and capture the results in the Resource Description Format (RDF). Thus attention focuses here on exploring and reporting on this same requirement for XPointer-based annotations of ESML representations. Earth Science examples allow for illustration of this approach for introducing annotations into automatically generated knowledge representations.

my intention is to emphsize some of my recent research into annotation. Most of this work is being done in collaboration with Jerusha Lederman and Keith Aldridge of York University.

The above abstract very closely resembles a submission that was recently accepted for the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). I’ll be blogging more on that soon.

PR Agency Deems My Article Cynical: Internal OGF Communication Leaked via Google Cache

I’m a huge fan of WordPress and Google .

While perusing my blog’s WordPress stats recently, I noticed that my opinion piece on the creation of the Open Grid Forum (OGF) was receiving interest.

On Googling “open grid forum”, my GRIDtoday article rated as the number three result. In first place was the OGF’s Web site itself, and in second place a breaking news article on the OGF in GRIDtoday. Not bad, given that Google reports some 17.7 million results (!) for that combination.

This prompted me to Google “open grid forum lumb”. Not surprisingly, my GRIDtoday article rated first out of some 822 results. Following four results pointing to my blog, and one more to a Tabor Communications’ teaser, is the seventh result:

[gfac] FW: Final OGF Coverage Report
Harris also discusses a cynical article contributed by Ian Lumb of York University (formerly of Platform Computing Inc.), “Open Grid Forum: Necessary…but

http://www.ogf.org/pipermail/gfac/2006-July/000171.html – 12k – CachedSimilar pagesNote this

Somewhere between “… cynical article …”, and a subject line that belies an internal communication, my attention was grabbed!

So I clicked on the link and received back: “The requested URL /pipermail/gfac/2006-July/000171.html was not found on this server.” Darn!

Then I clicked on “Cached” … and:

This is G o o g l e‘s cache of http://www.ogf.org/pipermail/gfac/2006-July/000171.html as retrieved on 30 Sep 2006 05:14:59 GMT.
G o o g l e‘s cache is the snapshot that we took of the page as we crawled the web.

Excellent!

Below is an extract from the cached version of the page:

[gfac] FW: Final OGF Coverage Report

Linesch, Mark mark.linesch at hp.com
Thu Jul 6 16:15:25 CDT 2006

fyi mark
—–Original Message—–
From: Hatch, Marcie [mailto:Marcie.Hatch at zenogroup.com]
Sent: Thursday, July 06, 2006 1:08 PM
To: Linesch, Mark; Steve Crumb; tony.dicenzo at oracle.com; John Ehrig; Don Deutsch; Toshihiro Suzuki; robert.fogel at intel.com
Cc: Maloney, Nicole
Subject: Final OGF Coverage Report

Hi Team,

There have been nine pieces of total coverage resulting from the EGA/GGF merger announcement. The coverage has remained informative and continues to reiterate the key messages that were discussed during the press conference. Please note, the expected pieces by Patrick Thibodeau of Computerworld and Elliot King of Database Trends and Applications have not appeared, to date.

GRIDToday has featured four different pieces as a result of the announcement. Editor Derrick Harris summarized the various stories in an overview, providing the details of the announcement and points to the overall importance of grid computing. Harris also discusses his Q&A with Mark regarding the next steps for the OGF, the pace of standards adoption and how the OGF plans to balance the concerns of the commercial community with those of the research community.

Harris also discusses a cynical article contributed by Ian Lumb of York University (formerly of Platform Computing Inc.), “Open Grid Forum: Necessary…but Sufficient?” Lumb uses his experience working for Platform as a basis for his pessimistic outlook on grid computing. Hestates, “I remain a grid computing enthusiast, but as a realistic enthusiast, I believe that grid computing sorely needs to deliver definitive outcomes that really matter.”

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Kind regards,

Marcie Hatch

According to their Web site: “ZENO is a new-style communications company.” (Indeed!) And presumably, Marcie Hatch is one of their representatives. In this internal communication of the OGF’s Grid Forum Advisory Committee (GFAC), Ms. Hatch relays to OGF president and CEO Mark Linesch and colleagues her assessment of the coverage on the Enterprise Grid Alliance / Global Grid Forum merger announcement.

In the first paragraph of Ms. Hatch’s message, it is revealed that there have been nine items on the merger, although at least two more items were anticipated. The second paragraph introduces the coverage in GRIDtoday, and in the third paragraph, explicit reference to my GRIDtoday article is made. Before commenting on Ms. Hatch’s assessment of my article, let’s review how GRIDtoday editor Derrick Harris contextualized it originally:

However, not everyone is wholly optimistic about this new organization. Ian Lumb, former Grid solutions manager at Platform Computing, contributed an opinion piece questioning whether the OGF will be able to overcome the obstacles faced by the Grid market. While most in the Grid community are singing the praises of the OGF — and for good reason — it is nice to have a little balance, and to be reminded, quite honestly, that it will take a lot of work to get Grid computing to the place where many believe it should be.

Even with the benefit of hindsight, and Ms. Hatch’s assessment, I remain very comfortable with Harris’ contextualization of my article. And because it’s difficult to take the cynical spin from his words, I must assume that the cynical assessment derives from Ms. Hatch herself. For a variety of reasons, it’s very difficult for me to get through Ms. Hatch’s next sentence, “Lumb uses his experience working for Platform as a basis for his pessimistic outlook on grid computing.”, without laughing hysterically. I’m not sure how Ms. Hatch arrived at this assessment, as I appended to my GRIDtoday article the following in my bio:

Over the past eight years, Ian Lumb had the good fortune to engage with customers and partners at the forefront of Grid computing. For all but one of those eight years, Lumb was employed by Platform Computing Inc.

Now that’s a fairly positive spin for a cynic, and one that can be attested to by the Platform colleagues, customers and partners I interacted with. In re-reading my article, and indeed the earlier allusion to Platform in it, I believe it’s fairly clear that Ms. Hatch was unable to appreciate the Platform context. To re-iterate, I needed to step away from the community, so that I could appreciate the broader business and technical landscape. Ironicaly, even the OGF has acknowledged this broader landscape directly through the first of their two strategic goals. Ms. Hatch concludes her paragraph on my GRIDtoday article by quoting me directly. Not only is the quote not entirely a cynical one, it expresses sentiment that was conveyed by numerous others around the recent GridWorld event.

Not too surprisingly, I suppose, my GRIDtoday article did not make the “OGF News” page. Ironically, however, Globus Consortium president Greg Nawrocki’s blog post did:

July 2006 InfoWorld.com Blog, “A Broader Scope Needed for Grid Standards Bodie”
http://weblog.infoworld.com/gridmeter/archives/2006/07/a_broader_scope.html

Greg’s blog entry starts off: “There is a great article in a recent GRIDtoday from Ian Lumb detailing the Open Grid Forum’s necessity but questioning its sufficiency.
For those of you who’ve read this far, I feel I owe you some lessons learned in closing, so here goes:

  • PR companies may position what they think you want to hear, but not necessarily what you need to hear – Engage in your own due dilligence to ensure that their assessment matches your assessment, especially on matters that have any technical content.
  • OGF’s tagline is “Open Forum, Open Standards” – Hm?
  • Google results may inflate perspective, but Google cache delivers the goods – Semantics aside, is there any credibility in 17.7 million results for an entity created this past July? (I just re-ran the query and we’re up to 19.1 million results. Not bad for a few hours!) Google cache allowed me to view a mailing-list archive that, I expect, should’ve been off limits.

Cynically yours, Ian.

Gridness As Usual

In the wake of GridWorld, Intel’s Tom Gibbs writes in GRIDtoday:

The people toiling in the trenches in the Grid community have long stopped caring what it’s called or how folks outside the community think about it. They’re too busy making it work and haggling though standards needed to make it work better.

Understandable. However, if Grid Computing is to rise out of Gartner’s “Trough of Disillusionment”, a customer centric perspective is needed. Based on their strategic priorities, even the Open Grid Forum acknowledges this.