Semantically-Enabled Science Data Integration

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Research Areas: Semantic eScience
Principal Investigator: Peter Fox
Co Investigator: Deborah L. McGuinness
The vast majority of explorations of the Earth system are limited in their ability to effectively explore the most important (often most difficult) problems because they are forced to interconnect at the data-element, or syntactic, level rather than at a higher scientific, or semantic, level. In many cases, syntax-only interoperability IS the state-of-the-art. In order for scientists and non-scientists to discover, access, and use data from unfamiliar sources, they are forced to learn details of the data schema, other people¿s naming schemes and syntax decisions. Our work is aimed at providing scientists with the option of describing what they are looking for in terms that are meaningful and natural to them, instead of in a syntax that is not. The missing element in enabling the higher-level interconnections is the technology of ontologies, ontology-equipped tools, and semantically aware interfaces between science components. Ontologies fill a major technology gap in machine-to-machine communication across multiple disciplines to advance Earth system science by enabling data integration without the need for human intervention.

This project, the Semantically-Enabled Science Data Integration (SESDI), will demonstrate how ontologies implemented within existing distributed technology frameworks will provide essential, re-useable, and robust, support for an evolution to science measurement processing systems (or frameworks) as well as for data and information systems (or framework) support for NASA Science Focus Areas and Applications.