New Year at SDA – Looking back at 2018

Xmas2019 has just started and we want to take a moment to look back at a very busy and successful year 2018, full of new members, inspirational discussions, exciting conferences, accepted research papers, new software releases and a lot of highlights we had throughout the year.

Below is a short summary of the main cornerstones for 2018:

An interesting future for AI and knowledge graphs

Artificial intelligence/machine learning and semantic technologies/knowledge graphs are central topics for SDA. Throughout the year, we have been able to accomplish a range of interesting research achievements. One particularly active area was question answering and dialogue systems (with and without knowledge graphs). We acquired new projects for more than a million Euro this year and were able to transfer our expertise to industry via successful projects at Fraunhofer. External interest in our results has been remarkably high. Furthermore, we extended our already established position in scalable distributed querying, inference, and analysis of large RDF datasets. Among the race for ever-improving achievements in AI, which has gone far beyond what many could have imagined 10 years ago, our researchers were able to deliver important contributions and continued to shape different sub-areas of the growing AI research landscape.

Papers accepted

We had 41 papers accepted at well-known conferences (i.e., the AAAI 2019 workshops, ISWC 2018, ESWC 2018, Nature Scientific Data Journal, Journal of Web Semantics, Semantic Web Journal, WWW 2018 workshops, EMNLP 2018 workshops, ECML 2018 workshops, CoNLL 2018, SIGMOD 2018 workshops, SIGIR 2018, ICLR 2018, EKAW 2018, SEMANTiCS 2018, ICWE 2018, ICSC 2018, TPDL 2018, JURIX 2018 and more. We estimate that SDA members had approximately 2500+ citations per year (based on Google Scholar profiles).

Software releases

SANSA – An open source data flow processing engine for performing distributed computation over large-scale RDF datasets had 2 successfully released during 2018 (SANSA 0.5 and SANSA 0.4).

From the funded projects we were happy to launch the first major release of the Big Data Ocean platform – a platform for Exploiting Ocean’s of Data for Maritime Applications.

There were several other releases:

  • SML-Bench – A Structured Machine Learning benchmark framework 0.2 has been released.
  • WebVOWL – A web-based visualization for ontologies had several releases in 2018. AS a major new feature characterizing WebVOWL is the integration of the WebVOWL Editor – a Device-Independent Visual Ontology Modeling.
  • AskNowQA – A Suite of Natural Language interaction technologies that behave intelligently through domain knowledge. The 0.1 version has been released.


Likewise, SDA deeply values team bonding activities. Often we try to introduce fun activities that involve teamwork and teambuilding. At our X-mas party, we enjoyed a very international and lovely dinner together while exchanging a `Secret Santa` gifts and played some ad-hoc games.

IMG_20181212_183158_1 IMG_20181212_184803








Long-term team building through deeper discussions, genuine connections and healthy communication helps us to connect within the group!

Many thanks to all who have accompanied and supported us on this way! So from all of us at SDA, we wish you a wonderful new year!

Jens Lehmann on behalf of The SDA Research Team