Re: reworking welkin

From: Stefano Mazzocchi <>
Date: Fri, 03 Feb 2006 10:54:09 -0500

Arvind Venkataramani wrote:
> So Iím taking an information visualization class, and Iíve been doing
> some research on classification in social bookmarking systems. And it
> struck me that the best thing to do is to put the two together.

Sounds like a good idea to me.

> Hereís the idea: to combine RDF statement based navigation - Ďshow me
> all authors [subject] who have published [predicate] with penguin
> [object]í - with multi-dimensional info vis techniques to make welkin
> more powerful and adaptable to different contexts and purposes.

Sounds even better :-)

> Iíd like to figure out how much interest there is in this, and what
> people want. (of course, since Iím studying HCI, Iíll do my gosh darned
> best to make sure it is usable). So:
> 1. What are you people using welkin for? What kind of data?

I use it for a few things:

  1) make sure that the RDF I'm writing by hand (mostly ontologies) make
sense and all the things that should be linked are linked.

  2) explore a subgraph of a bigger graph when I don't know what it is
(normally when I need to draw equivalences)

  3) explore a subgraph to understand graph-theoretical properties of it
(how connected it is, how many 'clusters' there are) and so on

> 2. What kinds of questions do you want answered using an info-vis?

see above

> 3. What problems do you have with welkin as it is now? What are the
> things you wish you could do, but canít?

well, first of all, it's slow. The many-body calculation algorithm is a
greedy O(n*n) while there is an algorithm that is O(n*log(n)). That
would give us *tremendous* speed improvement on larger graphs (up to 20k
nodes, I would predict)

second (and Paolo has been working on this but nothing has been
committed yet, Paolo?) different node types should have different shapes
(and not only colors).

third, the "distribution queries" are to be rethought, mostly because
they are not joined, but moving one query on one distribution, resets
the query on the other one.

> Thanks a ton in advance, and Iím really open to suggestions:
> user-centred design and all that :)


at the end, it all works better if *YOU* do whatever *YOU* think welkin
is missing. Scratch your own itch and all that.

We will *gladly* accept patches, if you come up with any. What is useful
for you I'm sure will be useful for others, so don't ask us what we want
to do, ask yourself, it will greatly simplify achieving something with
this effort that is gratifying and feels good.

And don't worry if you get sidetracked and lose interest, you'll still
be welcome here.

Stefano Mazzocchi
Research Scientist                 Digital Libraries Research Group
Massachusetts Institute of Technology            location: E25-131C
77 Massachusetts Ave                   telephone: +1 (617) 253-1096
Cambridge, MA  02139-4307              email: stefanom at mit . edu
Received on Fri Feb 03 2006 - 15:53:18 EST

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