Category Archives: New Development

Google acquired Metaweb (company that maintains Freebase): good news for Subject-centric computing

“Google and Metaweb plan to maintain Freebase as a free and open database for the world. Better yet, we plan to contribute to and further develop Freebase and would be delighted if other web companies use and contribute to the data…” (Google blog)


* Deeper understanding with Metaweb

* Google Buys Metaweb to Boost Semantic Search

TIBCO and Subject-centric computing

I attended TIBCO’s TUCON 2010 conference this year. It gave me a great opportunity to explore Event-driven Architecture, SOA, BPM and Cloud computing. I had a chance also to listen/think/talk about the future of computing. And this future looks very subject-centric.

Let’s take a look at TIBCO’s entry into the world of enterprise social software – tibbr.
It is a microblogging platform: it allows people to submit/receive short messages. But it is subject-centric in its core. tibbr allows users to define subjects with name and description. Users can submit (“tib”) messages into “subjects” and subscribe to subjects that they are interested in. User experience is amazing!

It is very close to ideas described in my previous posts related to Subject-centric microblogging

iPhone OS 3.0 – ready for Subject-centric computing, Mar 21, 2009

Subject-centric microblogging and Ontopedia’s knowledge map, Feb 21, 2009

Another interesting product is “TIBCO BusinessEvents”. It is a complex events processing platform. Under the hood there is a powerful domain modeling infrastructure that allows to define “concepts”, “events” and “business rules”. “Concepts” help to define what I like to call “Enterprise Knowledge Map”. “Events” define what can happen outside and inside of an enterprise. “Business rules” allow to connect events and concepts. As a result, we can create dynamic enterprise models which facilitate
decision making in real-time.

TIBCO’s founder and CEO Vivek Ranadivé in his presentation “Two-second Advantage” mentioned future “triple store”. But it is not just static triple store that we typically mean in relation to Linked Data. It is a triple store that is integrated and updated by stream of events with ability to reason about concepts and events in time. TIBCO BusinessEvents 4.0 is a great introduction to these ideas.

iPad, Multi-touch interaction and Subject-centric computing

I am very excited about iPad. It makes multi-touch interaction mainstream. iPad revives and introduces new generation of developers and users to the idea of “direct object manipulation” which is one of the key concepts of Subject-centric computing.

On the surface it looks like iPad (and iPhone) application-centric model (with thousands various Apps) is in contradiction with application-less model of Subject-centric computing. In reality, applications developed for iPad and iPhone are often can be considered as “functions” which can be combined to provide subject-centric experience.

What is missing? Integration with global knowledge map that can be used from various apps and a mechanism to pass subject context that allows to launch/continue applications in specific subject context.

Apple provides support for embedding geo maps into any application using MapKit framework. Let’s assume for a minute that Apple creates SubjectKit. This (imaginary) framework provides access to information collected in global sources such as Freebase, Wikipedia the same way MapKit provides access to Google Maps. In this case iPad and iPhone applications can leverage information collected in global knowledge map. SubjectKit also can allow applications to record current subject context in some shared storage available for all apps. When a user launches an app, this app can read current subject context and use it to provide subject-centric experience.

Let’s take a look at iTunes, for example. It simplifies “buying experience”, but it is not currently integrated with global knowledge map. We often need to launch a browser and search to get additional info about subjects that we are interested in (movies, actors, directors, tracks, groups, …). iTunes has some reference data but it is quite minimal in comparison with what we can get in global knowledge map, and this reference data is limited to iTunes app.

With (imaginary) SubjectKit iTunes (and any other app) on iPad can leverage information available in global knowledge map directly without manual search.

What about leveraging subject context between various applications? Let’s say I open my Weather app and check weather in New York City. Weather app can record that one of my currently active subjects has identifier Let’s assume that as a next step I launch iTunes. iTunes (in my imaginary scenario) can retrieve this subject identifier from shared context storage. If I click on “Movies” tab then iTunes can suggest, for example, “Sleepless in Seattle” movie in the new “Related to your active subjects” section. iTunes can do it because (in my imaginary scenario) it can leverage current subject context, internal iTunes database and global knowledge map.

With sharing subject context between apps comes an issue of protecting user privacy. SubjectKit framework can maintain “white list” of apps which are allowed to save into and restore from current subject context. SubjectKit can block applications that try to access subject context if they are not allowed to see it. SubjectKit also can prevent applications to save active subjects into shared subject context if they are not allowed to do so.

Of course, this approach is not limited to OS X and iPad. It’s just combination of iPad design, powerful multi-touch interface and strength of OS X creates a winning platform for Subject-centric computing.