“Optique encourages and facilitates collaboration by providing a framework within which we can work together in order to achieve long term and large scale research and innovation objectives that would be far beyond the scope of any individual partner.” – Ian Horrocks, Scientific Director of Optique.
From the 11th of June to the 13th of June, representatives from all the Optique partners gathered on Rhodes, Greece for an Optique plenary meeting. During the first day, the progress and current challenges in each of the work packages were presented. The second day was spent in break-out sessions, where groups working on related work packages gathered for discussion and planning.
Martin Giese, Assistant Scientific Director of Optique, explains why the plenary meetings are very important in a large project such as Optique: “To me, the plenary meeting is a great opportunity to discuss topics that span multiple work packages (and that otherwise often get neglected) with all the key people present.”
The plenary meeting schedule also allows for many discussion opportunities outside of the planned break-out sessions. This allows the researchers to find new research fellows and to discover interesting research topics outside their normal research areas.
“The strong focus of Optique towards the common goal of building an industry mature Ontology-Based Data Access and Integration system, creates a strong synergy among the project partners that fosters scientific collaboration.” says Diego Calvanese from the University of Bolzano. “Both in virtual meetings and in the face-to-face plenary project meetings, the emphasis is always on scientific advancements and on technical issues, so that participation to the meetings is scientifically highly effective and rewarding.”
An important theme at the plenary meeting was synchronising the theoretical research, the implementation, and the use case research. Ian Horrocks, Scientific Director of Optique, explains the value of combining theoretical and empirical research: “[our practical work] is part of a virtuous circle in which we use empirical science to evaluate industry deployments of innovative systems based on fundamental research and laboratory prototypes, with feedback from such evaluations informing and guiding ongoing research back in our labs. This has been an outstanding success in Optique with, e.g., new methods for ontology bootstrapping and query answering optimisation being developed as a direct result of our deployment experiences. Of course this empirical science requires an enormous effort within the consortium, and I would like to mention Dag Hovland and Martin G. Skjæveland, both of whom have played key roles in this regard.”
On the last day of the plenary meeting, everyone gathered for summaries of the break-out sessions, and for outlining the plans for the coming months. The deadline for the Year 3 Deliverables is coming up later this year, and at the summary session it was clear that the Optique project is producing results, and that the project is very much on track for the coming deadlines.
Andreas Eberhart from fluidOps is happy with the outcome of the planning sessions and discussions at the plenary meeting. “Optique provides a unique approach to scalable integration and data access.” says Eberhart. “We’re excited about the great level of cooperation and are looking forward to bringing this technology to market.”