An invitation was issued to developers at last week’s Semantic Technology and Business Conference: XSB and SemanticWeb.com have joined to sponsor the Semantic Web Developer Challenge, which asks participants to build sourcing and product life cycle management applications leveraging XSB’s PartLink Data Model.
XSB is developing PartLink as a project for the Department of Defense Rapid Innovation Fund. It uses semantic web technology to create a coherent Linked Data model for all part information in the Department of Defense’s supply chain – some 40 million parts strong.
“XSB recognized the opportunity to standardize and link together information about the parts, manufacturers, suppliers, materials, [and] technical characteristics using semantic technologies. The parts ontology is deep and detailed with 10,000 parts categories and 1,000 standard attributes defined,” says Alberto Cassola, vp sales and marketing at XSB, a leading provider of master data management solutions to large commercial and government entities. PartLink’s Linked Data model, he says, “will serve as the foundation for building the industrial semantic web.”
The Developer Challenge Page already provides some example apps, and XSB’s expectation is “to get applications that will be of use across the Defense Industrial Supply Chain. An application that helps DoD suppliers manage parts lifecycles will be just as important, if not more so, than a application the DOD uses directly to manage its supply chain,” Cassola says.
The huge amount of commercial data about things that can be bought, particularly those of interest to the U.S. government and large businesses, is assembled from sources including harvests from manufacturer and distributor websites, and it is available via a SPARQL endpoint. The winner will receive $5,000 and two runners-up will receive $2,500.
“Although we think of the challenge as an illustration of what is possible, the RIF program has a very strong mandate for transition,” says Cassola. So any applications arising out of the competition that are deemed useful can be implemented in the DoD environment, he says. However, Cassola adds, “DoD has very strict software requirements and any app would have to go through rigorous evaluation by DoD IT and security professionals. One of the goals of the Rapid Innovation Program is to help small businesses. So, an app could be equally successful if it could be implemented in small businesses’ indirect DoD or non-DoD activities.”
Included in the Rapid Innovation Fund project will be an APP Library and XSB does expect that the best application for the challenge will be included in the library.
Key dates around the Challenge are:
August 29: Forum for registrants goes live
September 15 – 30: Scheduled webinar briefings
October 1- November 15: Challenge open for app submissions
November 17 – December 3: App web presentations to judges
December 8: Challenge winners announced.
“The SemanticWeb Blog is very excited to join with XSB in presenting this challenge,” says Eric Franzon, president, SemanticWeb.com at DATAVERSITY. “There are thousands of talented developers in our community who are looking for the opportunity to show how important a role semantic web technology and Linked Data have in the future of the web, both consumer and industrial. We know this will be a challenge they’ll find hard to pass up.”