NGISearch Showcased at OW2con'24

Jun 12 2024

RENEE RIDGWAY Presents NGI Search at OW2con'24

June 11-12, 2024 in Paris, BTECH Post-Doc Renée Ridgway presented the NGI Search project at the Open Source Community Annual Conference (OW2con'24). The two-day conference showcases Open Source software in modern information systems developed and implemented by people from around the world. This year added a special focus–– financing open source and the commons. 

On Day 1, Renée presented her talk Ethics and values in FOSS: sustainability of open-source development, and the EU NGI vision that first introduced the EU’s Next Generation Internet (NGI) search project, which funds SMEs, entrepreneurs, academics and activists for innovations on search. The vision of the NGI Search project is to change the way we use and experience search & discover data and resources in general on the internet and on the web (Replay the video). NGI Search coordinator Associate Professor Mirko Presser, together with a team of experts from the University of Murcia, OW2, Linknovate and Funding Box, decide which projects will be awarded. These innovations address search and discovery within a human-centric context (meaning privacy-aware and trust-oriented) as well as proposing vertical use-cases developed jointly with industry, with the condition that all code from deliverables must be made open source. 

Ethics in Search and Discovery

Renée then zoomed in on ‘Ethics in Search and Discovery’, a theme that focuses on the responsible development of AI systems, de-biasing mechanisms such as data augmentation and resampling, as well as encouraging responsible and explainable AI in ethical terms. She then briefly presented her ethnographic research, consisting of interviews with some of the developers to comprehend the ethics and values of the forms FOSS/open source is taking within their awarded NGI search projects. The research questions why is it necessary to understand what FOSS/open source is, its histories and how public funding promotes its sustainability. Additionally, she introduced research by other members of BTECH’s FOSS research group that examines sustainability of open source development and what types of business models are at play in each of the funded NGI search projects. The last NGI Search open call (5), deadline July 28, 2024, augments its sister project, a forthcoming distributed European open web index, which is seeking innovative search applications (engines, LLMs, knowledge graphs) and data products to make use of its open infrastructure. 

HeReFaNMi, Metavision, and MindBugs in Progress

On the second day of OW2con'24, Renée moderated the Breakout Session NGI Success Stories, which presented a few of the recipients of NGI Search funding. From the 1st round, Mohamed-Amine Kerkouri from Orlean University, France presented HeReFaNMi (Health Related Fake News Mitigation), an AI-based automatic system to detect fake news related to healthcare. Current NLP techniques for fake health news detection have limitations, with most relying on supervised learning and the proposed project aims to overcome these limitations by continuously updating the knowledge base with emerging events. Next, Caspar Krampe from Wageningen University, the Netherlands presented third-round winner Metavision, which provides a 3D art gallery for artists to become searchable, exhibit and sell their artwork to a global audience with minimal barriers, and for consumers to have an unbounded experience not limited by physical space/entry fees. Besides creating Metaverse-ready art galleries procedurally through free and open source software, the project will investigate the integration of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to ensure privacy and trust are upheld within the emerging 3D web for art. Finally, second-round awardees Ioana Cheres and Mihai Topor from the Technical University Cluj-Napoca, Romania presented a live demo of MindBugs Discovery, an AI-powered knowledge graph that visualizes connections in the world of disinformation. Powered by AI algorithms, a knowledge graph, and dataset, the interactive tool displays visual charts and graphics that expose the origin, evolution, targeted locations and temporal trends, offering an innovative solution for navigating and understanding the complex landscape of disinformation.

The presentations incited a lively discussion with the attendees at the Breakout Session and those participating online, encompassing philosophical questions regarding the provenance of retrieved information, what defines ‘truth’ in an era of fake news, along with emphasising human interpretation of data, placing people at the forefront of open source technologies (search, AI, non-fungible tokens). 


EU programme:  HORIZON-CL4-2021-HUMAN-01  


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under the grant agreement 101069364 and it is framed under Next Generation Internet Initiative.

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