Sunday, March 23, 2008

What I Liked About C-SHALS 2008

C-SHALS 2008 was just about 2 years in the making. It was really fun and gratifying to see it go from an email to a real conference, and there are a lot of people to thank for that, including my conference co-chairs, Steven Leard and BJ Morrison of the ISCB, and all of the wonderful speakers we had (and every last one of them was truly wonderful).

I guess the thing I liked most about C-SHALS was that we accomplished what we set out to accomplish, to wit, hold a conference where we really discussed real-world application of semantic technologies to problems in pharmaceutical R&D. As Eric Neumann has already pointed out, of all the many valuable discussions we had during the course of C-SHALS there were several that were pretty theoretical in nature, but they were quickly steered back to the realm of the practical. I definitely came away with all kinds of notes for follow-up, and I know of at least one inter-pharma collaborative effort that we'll be investigating in the very near future. Pretty great results from the first-ever C-SHALS conference.

It would be great to hear from C-SHALS attendees what they liked about C-SHALS, and what they'd like to see next time.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

C-SHALS was well received!

I'm just recovering from a very intense, but really exciting C-SHALS conference we had last week. Over the last 2 months I had been pretty much pre-occupied with organizing it, and had my share of putting out fires. However, I couldn't have hoped for a better set of speakers and higher level of participation among the attendees.

Many different topics were covered, yet they never became too immersed in technical or philosophical disputes since someone would always bring them back to having to address a real world application. In one case, how to formally define ontologies was tempered with their need to have utility in immediate tasks, such as medical record encoding or tissue modeling.

Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be adding my thoughts and reflections of C-SHALS here.


p.s. see Richard Dale's blog... 

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Today's W3C Semantic Tutorial

I'm sitting in on the W3C Semantic Web tutorial, and pleased to see that it is quite interactive. Often people comment after having their questions answered "that is a real good selling point for SW, is W3C using that in their Semantic Web promotional material?". 

For example, in Eric P and Lee's presentation on SPARQL, they showed how easy it is to edit an existing SPARQL query by simple substitution, where attempting to do this as a SQL query would be much harder. This caused one participant to exclaim "this fact should be made more strongly to the public so that more folks can understand SPARQL's virtues".

We have just gone through a crash course on GRDDL, and will be touching on RDFa shortly....

Monday, March 3, 2008


Welcome to the C-SHALS Blog Site!

As part of this week's Conference on Semantics in Healthcare and Life Sciences (C-SHALS) kick-off meeting, we've decided to set up a blog for it.

We'll be capturing the different ongoing discussions through this site over the coming days, weeks, or whatever. We hope this becomes a useful resource for all attendees and virtual participants!