O'Reilly Open Source Convention - August 1-5, 2005 - Portland, Oregon
 Convention Coverage


Context Management Using PyCTX
Dana Moore, Senior Scientist, BBN Technologies
William Wright, Division Engineer, BBN

Track: Python
Date: Thursday, August 4th, 2005
Time: 11:35am - 12:20pm
Location: E142

The ability to enter a term or a short string of terms has created a global document database. Often, however, responses to a user query are ambiguous. Indeed, almost every search we can think of may yield hundred to thousands of results. Fundamentally, this may well be because search does not understand the context in which the search is made. Moore and Wright suggest that contextual tagging for semantic topic extraction is an important aspect of situational understanding. Without understanding the context of how data are related to other data, search is simply an exercise in textual pattern matching. Large scale applications beyond simple web search (e.g., estimating story truth from multiple sources of varying pedigree, sensor data fusion) will demand the ability to include more context in searches that present techniques can provide.

If we consider how to model context as a building block for better search and query, there are only a few elements that are important in the model” fundamental objects, relationships between objects, and statements that can be made about related objects.

In this talk, Moore and Wright present a prototype Python-based Context Manager (PyCtx), and show several program examples that demonstrate the use of context in making sense of data and relationships in some sample applications. Interoperation with more formal semantic systems such as OWL (ontological web language) is demonstrated, as well as how uncertainty can be accommodated in determining context. Additionally, Moore shows the use of Python based agents reasoning over data.

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