German government funds Web 3.0 project

German government funds Web 3.0 project

German high-tech heavyweights SAP and Siemens are among the companies that hope to benefit from a government-funded programme to develop new semantic web technologies.

Both companies are in line for German government grants that the European Union approved last week for the Theseus programme. SAP is the lead partner in a project that aims to develop semantic tools for enabling web services based on SOA (services-oriented architecture) systems, while Siemens heads a team focused on semantic search technology for medical images, Theseus spokesman Thomas Huber said on Wednesday.

"The companies view Theseus as a collaborative effort in the area of basic research and a way to develop and bring new applications faster to the market," Huber said.

The SAP-led Texo project will work on semantic tools that allow software components in all types of businesses to communicate with each other and thus allow for new services based on SOA technology, said SAP spokeswoman Angelika Pfahler.

A new semantic web-enabled service, for instance, could allow all home utilities, such as gas, water, electricity and communications, provided by different suppliers, to be monitored, altered or substituted electronically by the owner on the home PC.

"The ability to allow different systems to connect and communicate with each will enable many new business models," Pfahler said.

Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics and the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence are among the 11 partners participating in the Texo project.

Another Theseus project announced Wednesday is on Medico, which is headed by Siemens. The project is focused on developing semantic search technology for medical images.

Despite advances, current medical image databases, such as the Picture Archiving and Communications System and the Radiology Information System, are still indexed by keywords assigned by humans and not by the image content.

The Medico team plan to study new intelligent image search engines that will, among other things, link images to a variety of semantic aspects, such as anatomical relationships between organs, genome data and disease models.

Earlier this year, the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology agreed to contribute €90 million (US$124 million) in funding for the five-year program, with an additional €90 million to come from high-tech companies and research institutions.

Theseus was created at the end of last year after the German government decided to distance itself from a politically inspired partnership with the French government to develop advanced multimedia search technologies. France has since taken control of the Quaero project, which continues to have a focus on search technology.

Theseus is made up of a consortium of 30 companies, universities and research institutions, including nine member institutes of the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft.

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