The Semantic Web, today

“Nearly three years ago, in number 26, we commented on the promise of the semantic web to convert the Net into a self-navigable and self-understandable space. Where are we today?

The key point of the semantic web is the conversion of the current structure of the web as a data storage (interpretable only by human beings, that are able to put the data into context) into a structure of information storage.

In order to convert data into information we have to put it into context by adding metadata, data that contains the semantics, the explanation of the data it refers to; in the end, the context.” —Inf@Vis


Turn That PC Into a Supercomputer

“The new chip is a parallel processor capable of performing 25 billion floating-point operations per second, or 25 gigaflops.

According to the company, the chip has the potential to bring supercomputer performance to the desktop.

An ordinary desktop PC outfitted with six PCI cards, each containing four of the chips, would perform at about 600 gigaflops (or more than half a teraflop).

At this level of performance, the PC would qualify as one of the 500 most powerful supercomputers in the world.

‘That’s a supercomputer on the desktop,’ said Simon McIntosh-Smith, ClearSpeed’s director of architecture.

The souped-up PC would cost about $25,000, ClearSpeed said. By comparison, most of the supercomputers on the Top 500 list are clusters of hundreds of processors and cost millions of dollars.” —Wired News


The 100 greatest novels of all time: The list

“Who did we miss?

So, are you congratulating yourself on having read everything on our list or screwing the newspaper up into a ball and aiming it at the nearest bin?

Are you wondering what happened to all those American writers from Bret Easton Ellis to Jeffrey Eugenides, from Jonathan Franzen to Cormac McCarthy?

Have women been short-changed? Should we have included Pat Barker, Elizabeth Bowen, A.S. Byatt, Penelope Fitzgerald, Doris Lessing and Iris Murdoch?

What’s happened to novels in translation such as Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, Hesse’s Siddhartha, Mishima’s The Sea of Fertility, Süskind’s Perfume and Zola’s Germinal?

Writers such as J.G. Ballard, Julian Barnes, Anthony Burgess, Bruce Chatwin, Robertson Davies, John Fowles, Nick Hornby, Russell Hoban, Somerset Maugham and V.S. Pritchett narrowly missed the final hundred. Were we wrong to lose them?” —Guardian.Observer


Meet the new boss, same as the old boss:

US soldiers bulldoze farmers’ crops:

“US soldiers driving bulldozers, with jazz blaring from loudspeakers, have uprooted ancient groves of date palms as well as orange and lemon trees in central Iraq as part of a new policy of collective punishment of farmers who do not give information about guerrillas attacking US troops.

The stumps of palm trees, some 70 years old, protrude from the brown earth scoured by the bulldozers beside the road at Dhuluaya, a small town 50 miles north of Baghdad. Local women were yesterday busily bundling together the branches of the uprooted orange and lemon trees and carrying then back to their homes for firewood.

Nusayef Jassim, one of 32 farmers who saw their fruit trees destroyed, said: ‘They told us that the resistance fighters hide in our farms, but this is not true. They didn’t capture anything. They didn’t find any weapons.’

Other farmers said that US troops had told them, over a loudspeaker in Arabic, that the fruit groves were being bulldozed to punish the farmers for not informing on the resistance which is very active in this Sunni Muslim district.” —Independent News