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Fall 2010

Over the course of my first semester at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute I have had the wonderful opportunity to get involved with the new undergraduate lab at the Tetherless World Constellation. I am very interested in semantic web technologies, so I jumped at the chance to join the undergraduate group at the TWC.

My first project with the lab was supposed to be helping Dominic out with a semantic web app he’s working on. The app lets the user input a zip code of interest and then provides them with a myriad of government data on the health conditions in that area. The data comes from several different government sources, and the amazing power of the application is the fact that it takes that and compiles it into one place. I was supposed to help Dominic put the final touches on the app, basically just using PHP to output the data points that had already been fetched from the various databases with a SPARQL query. Unfortunately, before I had the chance to get the job done Dominic was forced to quickly do the work so that he could present his app at a conference. I know that there are plans to expand the app with more zip-code specific information as well as information from DBpedia, so I hope to get more involved with the project next semester.

Recently David and I decided to get together to work on a research paper about the application of so-called “human flesh search engine” techniques to online disruption and troublemaking in the Western world. We are still in the process of planning out the paper and its concepts, and we plan to work on it over our winter break and the spring semester.

While my first semester at the TWC did not produce much output, it was very exciting to see all the interesting projects other people are working on, and helpful in getting me acquainted with the lab. I want to get more involved with research next semester and over the future of my undergraduate career.

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