Computing That Serves

What Do You Want---Semantic Understanding?


Thursday, November 18, 2004 - 10:00am


David W. Embley, Brigham Young University

Information is ubiquitous, and we're flooded with more than we can process.  Somehow, we must rely less on visual processing, point-and-click navigation and manual decision making and more on computer sifting and organization of information and automated negotiation and decision making.  A resolution of these problems requires software agents with semantic understanding---a grand challenge of our time.  More particularly, we must solve problems of automated interoperability, integration, and knowledge sharing, and we must build information agents and process agents that we can trust to give us the information we want and need and to negotiate on our behalf in harmony with our beliefs and goals.

This talk addresses these problems and suggests that data-extraction ontologies may be an approach that can lead to semantic understanding.


Dr. Embley received a B.A. in Mathematics (1970) and an M.S. in Computer Science (1972), both from the University of Utah. In 1976 he earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois. From 1976 to 1982 he was a faculty member in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Nebraska, where he was tenured in 1982. Since then he has been a faculty member in the Department of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in database systems and theory, discrete mathematics, data structures, data engineering, and extraction and integration of web data. He has published widely and has made numerous presentations at national and international conferences. His research is supported in part by the National Science Foundation. He is the author of Object Database Development: Concepts and Principles, Addison-Wesley, 1998, and a coauthor of Object-oriented Systems Analysis: A Model-driven Approach, Prentice-Hall, 1992. He is a member of the steering committee for the International Conferences on Conceptual Modeling (the ER Conferences) and served as chair for the committee from October 2002 - November 2004. He is serving or has served in various other capacities, including general chair of ER2000, which was held in Salt Lake City, Utah, and associate editor for the Journal of Data Semantics and the journal, World Wide Web: Internet and Web Information Systems