ISWC 2019

By Cogan Shimizu.

Adila Krisnadhi, Cogan Shimizu, Raghava Mutharaju at ISWC 2019

The 18th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2019) was held in Auckland, New Zealand. The venue was excellent and the country is certainly beautiful. I had the pleasure to attend both days of the workshop and the main conference. It was certainly exciting to see friends and catch up on all the new and interesting things the community is up to. Here are my key take aways.

Trending Topics & Idle Thoughts

  • Really big KG + ML presence, in particular embeddings. I don't know enough about the papers in question to know if this magnitude comes from low hanging fruits.
  • A resurgence in reasoning and logics? My perception based on the last two years.
  • VLog seems very timely, especially as RDFox is no longer FOSS.
  • Low turnout: location? or are people publishing elsewhere?
  • Missing big names, same as above? Anecdotal evidence points to at least some senior/veteran folk not willing to travel that far.
  • Ontology Design vs. Knowledge Graph Building vs. Domain Ontologies
  • 4 or 5 parallel sessions is too many, in my opinion. Made it difficult to really see all the papers that I wanted to see.


Among many other topics discussed during the community's townhall, there were three that stood out to me.

  • Name change & Community: The question was posed does the "Semantic Web" in ISWC really encompass everything that we, as a community, research? Only a portion of those attending the townhall raised their hands when asked if they considered themselves web people. On the otherhand, "knowledge graphs" is featured prominently in our subtitle. I, in particular, have no strong attachment to the name of the conference (it's, of course, the community that makes any venue function). However, I think we must balance evolving with the needs of the scientific community with terms from the hype cycle. (Then again, I suppose one could argue that Semantic Web was once such a term.) 
  • Open Reviewing: With the double blind experiment now accomplished for the research track and poster track, it was suggested by one Eva Blomqvist that perhaps the inverse experiment be conducted: open reviewing. It was nice to see that the discussion surrounding reviewing transparency and standards have continued to be both relevant and lively. SWSA, perhaps fortunately and unfortunately, will not make a statement on this, leaving the decision on (opt-in) open reviewing, double blind, or not to the next General Chair.
  • Diversity. It is of course true that no country will have no visa problems. While reasonable requests are accomodated, it would be interesting to see how choice in venue determines if people even bother submitting a paper. 


This year's WOP was excellent. We had an excellent keynote by Mark Gahegan on tracking the evolution and provenance thereof of a knowledge graph. Key to the workshop, I think, were the three break out groups at the end of the day. The goal was to tackle identified pain points in the Ontology Design Patterns (ODP) community and develop concrete, actionable deliverables over the next year. My group focused on the future infrastructure for the ODP community. However, perhaps unsurprisingly, we got distracted. Part of ODP infrastructure is the communication of said ODPs. Part of communication of ODPs is determining which aspects of an ODP should be emphasized and required. This brought our group to start developing standards for best practices in documentation of ODPs in order to improve the reviewer quality for WOP.

DaSe Lab

The Data Semantics Lab also had a strong presence this year.

Pascal Hitzler

Cogan Shimizu

Lu Zhou

Monireh Ebrahimi

  • Reviewer for the Research Track

Md Kamruzzaman Sarker

Quinn Hirt


It was also great to see our DaSeLab Alumni: Adila and Raghava! Congrats to Raghava for Best Poster Nominee and David for Best Resource Paper award!

See everyone in Athens, Greece 2020 and at RPI in 2021!