Lecture: Foundations of the Semantic Web


The Semantic Web is an extension of the Web, which enables machines to capture the semantics of Web content at scale. A popular application scenario for this paradigm are personal assistants (Siri, Google Home, Cortana, etc.), which rely on technologies derived from the Semantic Web efforts to answer some of your questions. The goal of this lecture is to provide students with insights in the syntax and the semantics of the key languages of the Semantic Web. In addition, applications of the paradigm are presented. The lecture is structured as follows:

  1. Introduction
  2. The Resource Description Framework (syntax and semantics)
  3. The simple ontology language RDFS (syntax and semantics)
  4. Description logics and the Web Ontology language (syntax and semantics)
  5. Query languages for the Semantic Web: SPARQL (syntax and semantics)
  6. Knowledge extraction from the Web
  7. Efficient data integration algorithms
  8. Using machine learning for accurate data integration
  9. Applications of Semantic Web technologies


The course consists of:

  1. A lecture: 2h/week, slides uploaded after the lecture
  2. Six series of coding exercises evaluated automatically through an online platform. Students are required to reach at least 50% of the points and submit at least 60% of the exercises to be allowed to participate in the exam. The exercises are discussed during a bi-weekly seminar.
  3. A mini-project: The goal of the mini-project is to apply the content of the lecture to a practical problem and to implement a non-trivial solution to said problem. Groups of up to 3 persons are allowed, as long as the portion of the work carried out by each student can be identified clearly. The solution is evaluated automatically on a benchmark against a non-trivial but baseline solution to the same problem. Students must outperform the baseline to be allowed to participate in the exam. Moreover, a short document (12-15 pages, written using the provided LaTeX template) explaining the solution implemented by the students and a link to clearly commented code are a prerequisite to complete this requirement for the exam.


The exam lasts 60 minutes. The students are expected to answer both theoretical questions (e.g., what are the time and space complexity of a particular algorithm) and practical questions (e.g., write a SPARQL query for a given use case).

Course description in PAUL

L.079.05630 Foundations of the Semantic Web (in English)

Discussion forum

http://go.upb.de/semweb or https://panda.uni-paderborn.de/course/view.php?id=6505

Contact persons