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Living Semantic Web

Does the Semantic Web behave like a living system?

The goal of this work is to show how to model and analyse the Semantic Web as a whole, i.e. as a complex system.

To explain the difference between simple and complex systems, the terms “interconnected” or “interwoven” are somehow essential. Qualitatively, to understand the behaviour of a complex system, we must understand not only how the parts interact but also how they act together to form the behaviour of the whole. This is because we cannot describe the whole without describing each part, and because each part must be described in relation to other parts.

Complex Systems have demonstrated its power for modelling living systems, such as neural networks or food webs, and technological networks, such as Peer-to-Peer systems, Multi-Agent Collaboration networks, the World Wide Web or power grids, using statistical mechanics.

The question is: could the Semantic Web be modelled as a living system, which is a subclass of Complex Systems? The answer is yes, if we consider that both systems present the same regularities (predictable, mechanistic laws) and dynamics (self-organization, adaptation or evolution).

We have modelled a meaningful portion of the Semantic Web showing that it satisfies Complex Systems properties:

  1. SemanticWebGraph
    First, we have “crawled” a set of ontologies building the RDF graph model that they define.
  2. Graph analysis
    Second, we have applied statistical tools to extract graph properties in order to compare to other complex systems.
  3. Results
    Finally, we report experimental values.


Measuring the Semantic Web v2 PDF PPT

Gil, R. and García, R.
First on-Line conference on Metadata and Semantics Research, MTSR 2005
Rinton Press, 2006

Measuring the Semantic Web v1 PDF

Gil, R., García, R. and Delgado, J.
"Semantic Web Challenges for Knowledge Management: towards the Knowledge Web",
SIGSEMIS Bulletin Vol 1, Issue 2, pp 69 - 72. July 2004

Towards the Composition of Ad Hoc B2B Applications PDF

Gil, R., Choukair, Z. and Delgado, J.
Workshop on Application Design, Development and Implementation Issues in the Semantic Web,
World Wide Web Conference WWW'04, 2004

Contact: rgil at