The WDAqua team look back on yet another successful ESWC Conference as well as our team workshop in Portorož, Slovenia.

A few weeks ago, the WDAqua team flew in from their respective corners of Europe to attend the Extended Semantic Web Conference (ESWC) in the idyllic seaside town of Portorož on the Slovenian coast. In order to make the most of the location – and the sunshine – we also scheduled a workshop to update each other on how our research was progressing, and further explore opportunities for collaboration.

From the perspective of the students, ESWC was a great success. Several of us attended workshops and tutorials in the lead up to the conference, including Alessandro and Hady who particularly enjoyed the Linked Data Quality workshop, in which they were able to exchange their points of view surrounding data quality with other researchers.

Several of the students and supervisors presented their work during ESWC, including José and Antoine. Jose introduced the NdFluents Ontology (an ontology to represent statements about statements without losing reasoning power) and Antoine SPARQL Generate (a language to describe transformations from any data source in any format to RDF).

Many other students attended and presented at the PhD Symposium and Demo sessions - including Dennis and Shanzay who previewed the WDAqua question answering system, in particular the user interface and a feedback mechanism. For Lucie, ESWC was her first academic conference, and she was pleasantly surprised to meet people in person that she’d been collaborating with online.

Ioanna, our Project Manager, had the opportunity to participate in an EU project networking event as part of the conference, briefly presenting the objective of the WDAqua project - to provide a training programme for young scientists and develop an open source framework for question answering components - as well as what the project can offer to the others. The presentation was very well received, and it was noted that many of the other presenters were impressed and interested by the achievements of WDAqua thus far.

The poster and demo session gave us a chance to directly get in contact with other researchers and speak about our work. Dennis and Shanzay spoke with a lot of people and live demonstrated two new features of the QA system. A lot of feedback was given and many questions were ask to our live demo!

Immediately after the conference, the WDAqua team held a workshop for students to share updates on the progress of their work, as well as to talk about upcoming projects and events on our radar. All of the students gave quick presentations on the state of their work, with some, like Harsh, conducting doctoral symposia and fielding questions from the rest of the room. There were also discussions around collaboration opportunities between students.

The end of the day was a workshop by Alex in which students were asked to explain their research using only the 1000 most common English words - an unexpectedly difficult challenge! You can see some of the students and supervisors attempts at simplifying their research topics here. We also discussed our upcoming plans for an R&D week in Berlin, which is looking to be another great opportunity to catch up and collaborate.

All in all, it was another successful project meeting, made even better by the beautiful Slovenian sunshine and the opportunity for everyone to share a drink by the Adriatic sea at the end of the week. A big thanks to Ioanna for her coordination efforts and to everyone for sharing their work.