This, 2009, is the year linked data is being heralded as a treasure map as early adopters offer some very interesting pointers on how we can browse, explore, query and re-use data on the Web at a more fine-grained level in exciting new ways. "We are already seeing examples of non-personal public data through initiatives spearheaded by the U.S. and UK governments. Other countries will follow suit. This will be one of the tipping points for the growing web of linked data and the increasing number of applications to exploit the data sets", says Professor Dame Wendy Hall, one of the pioneers of the Semantic Web from the University of Southampton, speaking from the Online Information conference in London in early December.

Putting government data online means increasing citizen awareness of government functions for greater accountability and enables the government to function more efficiently. The UK’s new policy for public data has been triggered by pioneering work in the arena of linked data in a relatively short time-frame.

“Available public data creates bottom-up pressure to improve public services. Data is essential in enabling citizens to choose between public service providers, helping them compare their local services with services elsewhere and enables all of us to lobby for improvement”, says Nigel Shadbolt, a co-pioneer of the Semantic Web, also from the University of Southampton., a developer’s version of the government website that will be made public early next year, currently gives access to 1100 datasets ranging from traffic counts on the road network, reference data on schools and the Farm Survey, illustrating the future growth potential in the step-change towards the Web of Data, or Semantic Web, encompassing technology development, politics, economics and social change.

Linked data principles provide a basis for realising the Web of Data by ensuring data is organised, structured and independent of any application programmes so it can serve a broad community of people and many applications. The main drivers behind linked data include the value-add of structured content, a mission or mandate to make data linkable and most importantly low development barriers. Key enabling technologies span Web2.0, Mash-ups, Open Source, Cloud Computing and Software-as-a-Service.

Is it complicated? Not particularly. As Ian Davis, CTO at Talis explained "What is needed is a little extra effort when publishing data through the Resource Description Framework (RDF), the HTML of data web. This is done by giving each thing an identifier or Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), just as we do with web pages. The next step is to describe these things using RDF with links to other information so as to provide a context and respond to requests on identifiers by sending the description of that thing. No special software is needed to use it. When we turn a site into an API using linked data, people can start building new things reusing data in new and interesting ways”.

The BBC programme catalogue and their music site is a good example of linked data in action. Every BBC programme, segment of a programme, every brand and every person has an identifier, a URI, with the data hidden behind the page displayed on the screen. But it doesn’t stop here. Linked data from the BBC programme pages are remixed on Twitter through, a prototype service, creating a social space for fans of BBC programmes. While many of the early use sites are read-only, linked data can also be used for powerful fully interactive web applications with full editing capabilities thanks to this very flexible technology.

"The Semantic Web will transform the World Wide Web into a more useful and powerful information source. In particular it will revolutionise scientific and other web publishing by defining new web technologies that make more web content accessible to machines. These technologies will provide better tools that make it easier for people to create machine-readable content that is widely available. A good case in point is an initiative spearheaded by the Association for Computing (ACM), the world’s leading educational and scientific computing society. In early 2010 Semantic Web tools will be implemented in the ACM Digital Library ( to enable its hundreds of thousands of professional and student users to more easily find, share, and combine information on the Web”, said Dame Wendy .

How will the Web of Data evolve? For now we only have clues on the direction Web3.0 will take in the next few years, when we can expect to see linked data services available on iPhones and mobile devices and new business models emerge. While there are still some open questions as to what tools are needed, the Semantic Web will emerge and it will probably be a hybrid of data and documents side by side. How they will co-exist is the fruitful line of research and development. “We believe that linked data will be an even bigger sea change than the world wide web not only because it plays a key role in assisting a wide range of people in government and research but also socially. With linked data it will be much easier to tackle grand global challenges like climate change, energy and health issues, ageing, and world poverty by sharing data to capture correlations and trends more effectively  and more quickly and spot clues that enables someone to make that all-important step forward. The key thing is to arrive at universal standards just as we did with the web, understand that attitude is as important as the technology to get critical mass that will boost innovation and that linked data means lots more innovation", explained Dame Wendy, who also serves as President of ACM, the first person from outside North America to hold this position.

Some of the early adopters have already started to unleash information that is of value socially, politically and economically. Looking ahead, other important areas creating a treasure map for online information could include globally aggregated services on university courses encompassing league tables and citations and even a global index for a world library collection, bringing fantastic new opportunities for knowledge information professionals, who already have the skill sets needed to understand data management issues and in some instances of using metadata to describe the data in their collections, a rich information source for linked data. The bottom-line is that this is an evolution and not a replacement of the Web and that future-gazing is part and parcel of being involved in bleeding-edge technologies.

The conference program for the 2009 International Supercomputing Conference (ISC’09)is now finalized, and according to ISC’09 General Chair Prof. Hans Meuer, this year's conference program is set to be the most illustrious in the 24-year history of the conference. This year’s conference will be held June 23-24 in Hamburg.

The four-day high performance computing conference and trade show at the Congress Center Hamburg provides a unique international platform to gain insights, network and do business, all under one roof. With over 1,500 attendees and more than 120 exhibitors from over 45 countries expected to attend, ISC’09 is shaping up to be the most extensive and dynamic since the conference began as a meeting in Mannheim in 1986.

ISC, which marks its 24th anniversary in 2009, has a well-established reputation for presenting well-founded, precise and up-to-date information in an environment that encourages informal conversations and sharing of ideas. ISC is also the largest high performance computing exhibition in Europe. All conference proceedings are conducted in English.

In addition to world-renowned keynote speakers, ISC’09 will feature four in-depth sessions examining some of the most exciting – and challenging – areas in high performance computing today. Here is a quick look at each of the sessions:

“Every year, as we put together the conference program, I say this will be the best ever, but this year the program is truly illustrious,” said Conference Chair Prof. Hans Werner Meuer of the University of Mannheim. “For 2009, we have four days of presentations, an impressive lineup of speakers and our largest exhibition ever. At the same time, we have also updated our pricing structure to ensure that everyone who wants to attend can afford this extremely valuable investment.”

The ISC’09 program also includes four keynote speakers:

An overview of the ISC’09 conference program can be found at

Online registration starts on March 2

Advance registration for ISC’09 begins Monday, March 2, and in addition to reduced rates, a number of one-day options for both the program and exhibition are being offered for the first time. As an added incentive for U.S. attendees, the U.S. dollar is about 25 percent stronger against the euro than last year. For complete details on registration categories and rates, go to:

Successful Sales Executive Joins the Industry Leader in FCoE to Accelerate Market Share Gains, Spearhead Revenue Growth: QLogic today announced the appointment of Jim Rothstein to vice president of North America Sales. With an established rack record of growing profitable storage companies, Rothstein, who multiplied sales at Brocade (Nasdaq:BRCD) and Hitachi, Ltd.'s Data Systems unit, will spearhead the company's sales in North America across all channels-including OEM Sales and the QLogic Partner Program-while advancing its go-to-market capabilities. He will report to Scott Genereux, senior vice president of Worldwide Sales and Marketing at QLogic.

"Jim Rothstein will synergistically unify our North America channel and OEM sales organizations under a single leader, thereby strengthening our competitive positioning and enabling our partners to win more business in high growth markets such as Fibre Channel over Ethernet," said Genereux. "Jim brings a history of proven sales management skills and consistent execution balanced with an aggressive, dynamic approach that will be a welcome addition to the QLogic management team."

Commenting on his appointment, Rothstein said, "QLogic has been taking extensive market share from competitors for the past year in the Fibre Channel adapter market. The emergence of FCoE in next-generation data centers presents a significant growth opportunity for companies with tangible products today. With QLogic now at the forefront of network convergence, I look forward to helping the company expand its share in this rapidly emerging market and leading the North America sales organization to its next stage of growth."

Rothstein's career spans a multitude of sales and sales management roles over a period of 18 years in the storage industry. Rothstein spent seven years at Brocade in strategic sales roles with increasing levels of responsibility, including vice president of Worldwide Tapestry Sales and vice president of North America Sales. At Brocade, Rothstein established a scalable sales growth model and was responsible for managing a $400 million enterprise sales organization. He is credited with significantly expanding the company's addressable market by implementing go-to-market models that increased the company's sales coverage in both established and emerging markets.

Looking Ahead to ‘A Clear Chance to Shape Our Future’


Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, will lead a U.S. delegation to Geneva, Switzerland, August 31-Septmeber 4 for the World Climate Conference-3 in efforts to establish a Global Framework for Climate Services. This framework is intended to help meet accelerating demands for useful information on the impacts of climate change. 

“Climate change is real. It is happening now, in our backyards and around the globe,” said Lubchenco. “Decision-makers across all sectors require reliable, relevant information about the current and projected impacts of climate change, whether they are farmers, manufacturers, or city officials planning snow removal budgets or options for water resources, transportation or new housing developments. In a rapidly changing world these decisions cannot be made based on weather of the past; decision-makers need to know what to expect in the next twenty to fifty years to plan effectively.”

 Next week’s conference will bring together those who collect and develop climate information with those who need it, setting in motion an unprecedented opportunity to design a system that will inform decision-making in a way that is similar to how weather services work today, but on a longer time-scale. Climate services would include the broad range of what users require to address their needs, including data collection, technical assessment, analysis and prediction, and the ability to interpret and use the information.        

The U.S. delegation will include representatives from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. National Science Foundation, USAID, the Environmental Protection Agency, NOAA and NASA.  U.S. officials will be actively engaged at the conference, learning from the international community and sharing American knowledge and innovations.

The first two World Climate Conferences, in 1979 and 1990, greatly enhanced capabilities to observe and assess climate change, ultimately leading to the establishment of the World Climate Research Program and the Global Climate Observing System, as well as the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“Rarely are we presented with such a clear chance to shape our future, to start taking actions essential to making our planet healthier, safer and more environmentally and economically viable. We look forward to working with the international community to make this a very successful conference,” said Lubchenco.

Multiferroics are materials in which unique combinations of electric and magnetic properties can simultaneously coexist. They are potential cornerstones in future magnetic data storage and spintronic devices provided a simple and fast way can be found to turn their electric and magnetic properties on and off. In a promising new development, researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) working with a prototypical multiferroic have successfully demonstrated just such a switch — electric fields. 

Ramamoorthy Ramesh and Chan-Ho Yang of Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division successfully demonstrated that electric fields can be used as ON/OFF switches in doped multiferroic films, a development that holds promise for future magnetic data storage and spintronic devices.

“Using electric fields, we have been able to create, erase and invert p-n junctions in a calcium-doped bismuth ferrite film,” said Ramamoorthy Ramesh of Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division (MSD), who led this research.

“Through the combination of electronic conduction with the electric and magnetic properties already present in the multiferroic bismuth ferrite, our demonstration opens the door to merging magnetoelectrics and magnetoelectronics at room temperature.”

Ramesh, who is also a professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Department of Physics at UC Berkeley, has published a paper on this research that is now available in the on-line edition of the journal Nature Materials. The paper is titled: “Electric modulation of conduction in multiferroic Ca-doped BiFeO3 films.” Co-authoring the paper with Ramesh were Chan-Ho Yang, Jan Seidel,Sang-Yong Kim, Pim Rossen, Pu Yu, Marcin Gajek, Ying-Hao Chu, Lane Martin, Micky Holcomb, Qing He, Petro Maksymovych, Nina Balke, Sergei Kalinin, Arthur Baddorf, Sourav Basu and Matthew Scullin.

The next generation of computers promises to be smaller, faster and far more versatile than today’s devices thanks in part to the anticipated development of memory chips that store data through electron spin and its associated magnetic moment rather than electron charge. Because multiferroics simultaneously exhibit two or more ferro electric or magnetic properties in response to changes in their environment, they’re considered prime candidates to be the materials of choice for this technology.

This image recorded after an electric field was applied to a calcium-doped bismuth ferrite multiferroic film shows in the top image current being conducted within the red rectangle (On). In the bottom image, an opposite electric field was applied to the area within the green rectangle, switching it back to an insulating state (Off).

This image recorded after an electric field was applied to a calcium-doped bismuth ferrite multiferroic film shows in the top image current being conducted within the red rectangle (On). In the bottom image, an opposite electric field was applied to the area within the green rectangle, switching it back to an insulating state (Off).

Bismuth ferrite is a multiferroic comprised of bismuth, iron and oxygen (BiFeO3). It is both ferroelectric and antiferromagnetic (”ferro” refers to magnetism in iron but the term has grown to include materials and properties that have nothing to do with iron), and has commanded particular interest in the spintronics field, especially after a surprising discovery by Ramesh and his group earlier this year. They found that although bismuth ferrite is an insulating material, running through its crystals are ultrathin (two-dimensional) sheets called “domain walls” that conduct electricity at room temperature. This discovery suggested that with the right doping, the conducting states in bismuth ferrite could be stabilized, opening the possibility of creating p-n junctions, a crucial key to solid state electronics.

“Insulator to conductor transitions are typically controlled through the combination of chemical doping and magnetic fields but magnetic fields are too expensive and energy-consuming to be practical in commercial devices,” said Ramesh. “Electric fields are much more useful control parameters because you can easily apply a voltage across a sample and modulate it as needed to induce insulator-conductor transitions.”

In their new study, Ramesh and his group first doped the bismuth ferrite with calcium acceptor ions, which are known to increase the amount of electric current that materials like bismuth ferrite can carry. The addition of the calcium ions created positively-charged oxygen vacancies. When an electric field was applied to the calcium-doped bismuth ferrite films, the oxygen vacancies became mobile. The electric field “swept” the oxygen vacancies towards the film’s top surface, creating an n-type semiconductor in that portion of the film, while the immobile calcium ions  created a p-type semiconductor in the bottom portion. Reversing the direction of the electric field inverted the n-type and p-type semiconductor regions, and a moderate field erased them.

“It is the same principle as in a CMOS device where the application of a voltage serves as an on/off switch that controls electron transport properties and changes electrical resistance from high (insulator) to low (conductor),” said Ramesh.

This schematic diagram shows a calcium-doped bismuth ferrite multiferroic film existing in a highly insulating state until the application of an electric field mobilizes  oxygen vacancies to create n- and p-type conductors in the top and bottom portions of the film respectively.

This schematic diagram shows a calcium-doped bismuth ferrite multiferroic film existing in a highly insulating state until the application of an electric field mobilizes oxygen vacancies to create n- and p-type conductors in the top and bottom portions of the film respectively.

Whereas a typical CMOS device features an on/off switching ratio (the difference between resistance and non-resistance to electrical current) of about one million, Ramesh and his group achieved an on/off switching ratio of about a thousand in their calcium-doped bismuth ferrite films. While this ratio is sufficient for device operation and double the best ratio achieved with magnetic fields, Chan-Ho Yang, lead author on this Nature Materials paper and a post-doc in Ramesh’s group says it can be improved.

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 “To make the ON state more conductive, we have many ideas  to try such as different calcium-doping ratios, different strain states, different growth conditions, and eventually different compounds using the same idea,” Yang said.

A year ago, Ramesh and his group demonstrated that an electric field could be used to control ferromagnetism in a non-doped bismuth ferrite film. (See Nature Materials, “Electric-field control of local ferromagnetism using a magnetoelectric multiferroic”)

With this new demonstration that the combination of doping and an applied electric field can change the insulating-conducting state of a multiferroic, he and his colleagues have shown one way forward in adapting multiferroics to such phenomena as colossal magnetoresistance, high temperature superconductivity and SQUID-type magnetic field detectors as well as spintronics.

Said Yang, “Oxides such as bismuth ferrite are abundant and display many exotic properties including high-temperature superconductivity and colossal magnetoresistance, but they have not been used much in real applications because it has been so difficult to control defects, especially, oxygen vacancies. Our observations suggest a general technique to make oxygen vacancy defects controllable.”

Much of the work in this latest study by Ramesh and his group was carried out at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source (ALS), on the PEEM2 microscope. PEEM, which stands for PhotoEmission Electron Microscopy, is an ideal technique for studying ferro magnetic and antimagnetic domains, and PEEM2, powered by a bend magnet at ALS  beamline, is one of the world’s best instruments, able to resolve features only a few nanometers thick.

“Without the capabilities of PEEM2 our experiments would have been dead in the water,” said Ramesh. “Andreas Scholl (who manages PEEM2) and his ALS team were an enormous help.”

This research was primarily supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science through its Basic Energy Sciences program.

Berkeley Lab is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory located in Berkeley, California.  It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California.

Additional Information:

For more information on the research of Ramamoorthy Ramesh, visit his Website at

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