Joel and Bracha

I work in the biodiversity informatics group at Agriculture and Agrifood Canada. I am a recent graduate of the UMBC CS department's PhD program. Earlier in life, I was a researcher in the department, working on Spire and AISL. Spire was about integrating ecological and environmental data (especially citizen science observations) on the semantic web; AISL is about sharing trusted information with the right (and only the right) people.

I sometimes data mine earth science data, space science data, and e-commerce server logs. I think there's a future in data blogging. Unfortunately, I only seem able to blog on Fieldmarking (website down pending migration) when I'm in the Laurentians.

You can reach me at jsachs #$&!
Let me know if you'll be at any of the following:

Nov. 11 - 15: ISWC, Boston, MA.

Relatively Recent History
October 16, 17: EarthCube NextGen Workshop. Word .

September 30, 31: Exploring Taxon Concepts Advisory Board meeeting. NLP; logic; entropy - much good will come from this.

August 9 - 12: Educating for Sustainable Happiness Great event at an excellent school. I will post my bug hunt slides soon.

July 22 - 26: AAAI If you have 45 minutes, do yourself a favour and watch Christos Papadimitrou's moving and personal Turing lecture on Darwin and Turing, and the parallels in their thinking. If you have another hour watch Judea Pearl's mindblowing ACM Turing Award lecture, and let me know if you agree with his claim that counterfactuals are the building blocks of scientific thought, free will, and moral behaviour.

July 10, 11: iEvoBio There were many excellent talks, e.g. Rob Beiko's lightning talk on biomonitoring 2.0, and Hilmar Lapp's call to arms

June 12 - 14 : EarthCube charrette I met Robert Hazen, who claims the whole bio/geo distinction is just an ism/schism game; I highly recommend his books.

May 16 - 18: Semantics of Biodiversity We got brainwashed by Barry Smith. John Deck assembled an excellent use-case repository .

October: TDWG We kicked off the RDF Best Practices task group.
June: iEvoBio Here are the notes from our triple BoF.

October: TDWG The TechnoBioblitz, what I learned there, and one way of representing it in RDF.

Ancient History
Nov. 9-13: TDWG
Oct. 25-29: ISWC When I first proposed a panel on "Does the Semantic Web Need Ontologies?", the organizing committee was afraid that I wouldn't be able to find panelists who would say yes. It turns out that none of the panelists said no (at least not strongly enough for David Karger).
June 1-3: eBiosphere Enter the Challenge.
May 8-9: SciBarCamp (Toronto).
March 19: Stanley Jordan at Blues Alley. Hands-down highlight of my NSF review panel.
March 2-5: Practical Semantic Astronomy.
Jan. 5-9: UC Davis Information Center for the Environment. Publishing "Biological Inverntories of  the World's Protected Areas" as linked  data. What a hornet's nest.

Oct. 25-30: ISWC 08. John Giannandrea's keynote argued the case for "schema last".
Oct. 19-24: TDWG 08. I got stung by a jellyfish!
Sept. 11-12 : AISL kickoff.  As it turns out, the intelligence and biodiversity communities share several problems. For example, the locations of protected species are important to a range of reseachers, and should be disseminated as widely as possible in the scientific and conservation communities. But the data is highly sensitive, and must not fall into the wrong hands (specimen collectors, unscrupulous developers, etc.)
July 20       : The Bio-Ontologies SIG at ISMB in Toronto.  I still don't  get their beef with multiple inheritance.
April 16     :  Kenny Werner trio  at Blues Alley.  An amazing  show.
April 8-10  :  Intergovernmental/Inter-agency Cooperation on Ecoinformatics, Research Triangle Park, NC. More biodiversity content and focus than in previous meetings of this group.
SciBarCamp (March 15, 16) was amazing. I posted about it here and here.
Here are slides from updates on SPIRE that I gave at NBII, and EPA.
Microsoft may eventually post my semantic eco-blogging  demo from their 2007 e-science workhop in Chappel Hill. The night before the meeting, I saw living legend Randy Weston at Duke University's Page Auditorium.

Some Publications
Joel Sachs and Tim Finin., Social and Semantic Computing in Support of Citizen Science, Proceedings of the Third Canadian Semantic Web Symposium, August 2011.

Joel Sachs and Tim Finin, What Does it Mean for a URI to Resolve?, Proceedings of the AAAI Spring Symposium on Linked Data Meets Artificial Intelligence, March 2010

Lushan Han et al., RDF123: from Spreadsheets to RDF, Seventh International Semantic Web Conference, October 2008

Andriy Parafiynyk et al., Adding Semantics to Social Websites for Citizen Science, Proceedings of the Workshop on Semantic e-Science (AAAI 07), June 2007

Joel Sachs et al., Using the Semantic Web to Support Ecoinformatics, Proceedings of the AAAI Fall Symposium on the Semantic Web for Collaborative Knowledge Acquisition , October 2006

Tim Finin et al., Finding Data, Knowledge, and Answers on the Semantic Web, Proceedings of the 20th International FLAIRS Conference

Tim Finin and Joel Sachs , Will the Semantic Web Change Science?, Science Next Wave, September 2004

Joel Sachs and Tim Finin, "Indexing the Hidden Web",  Proceedings of the First NASA Workshop on Radical Agent Concepts, McLean, VA, Jan. 16, 2002
Hoban, S., J. Keating, J. Sachs, D. Laughlin & Y. Yesha, 2002. "Science Investigation System for Telescopes in Education Research", Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS36)

Suresh, R., J. Sachs, R. Pfister, J. Behnke, 2001, "Content Based Metadata Systems: A Workbench to Prototype Data Mining Concepts", Proc. Of the 2001NASA Earth Science Technology Office Workshop, Greenbelt, MD. 

Joel Sachs and Olga Streltchenko, 1998, "Data Mining the SurfandBuy Virtual Mall", IBM Technical Report