Knowledge Engineering and Management (KnowTech 2001)

The KnowTech 2001 'Knowledge Engineering and Management'- a congress and a trade fair on knowledge technology - was held at Dresden/Germany on 2001-11-01/03. The conference was attended by 300 participants, with an estimated 40 % from academia and research institutes, 40 % consultants and solution providers (who usually provide their own marketing and consulting services) and 20 % end users.

The conference with 110 papers was structured in four parallel streams covering, concepts and architectures of Knowledge Management (KM), semantic meta models and developments in ontologies, KM applications - nearly all inter or intranet based - and experiences both in large enterprises (of the German automotive industry) as well as in SMEs, text and data mining, cultural, human or organisational and management aspects of KM, reference models derived from best practice studies. These topics were presented from different viewpoints - IT or human oriented, research and development or end users - hence the discussions were lively and beneficial.

Knowledge Management has matured from a enterprise document management system under groupware applications like Lotus Notes to very complex multi language model based knowledge systems with numerous service functions in addition to information input and retrieve. Beside the IT aspect, very much emphasis is put on the human aspect e.g. the discussion on how to convince and motivate people to externalise their expert knowledge and obtain the necessary acceptance of the new technology. Which always requires a management in trust and confidence.

As a summary of the presentations, knowledge models are usually information models with the intent of a rich semantic content. Designed according to the principles of object orientation they are represented in UML or XML notation. Knowledge models are often limited in capturing processes except simple waterfall type processes deployed in workflow. 

Two remarkable projects are mentioned: 1) OntoWeb, a European project reported by Prof. Studer from University Karlsruhe attempts to build generic semantic knowledge models with ontology principles which can be created and used in distributed environments as the internet. 2) Semtalk presented by C. Fillies from SC4 Solution Clustering is a project trying to enable the interoperability of business process models via a Web based semantic meta model. This meta model can be modified and adapted with 'simple' tools like Visio or even using MS-Word . A demonstration showing the interoperability between models designed in Bonapart and in ARIS was presented.

Many presentations discussed aspects or needs of integration of a KM system with other enterprise functions - over and above the exchange of data- , but very little was mentioned about standardisation which could support integration.

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