Blending the physical and the digital through conceptual spaces

Dietze, Stefan; Benn, Neil; Domingue, John and Orthuber, Wolfgang (2009). Blending the physical and the digital through conceptual spaces. In: OneSpace 2009 Workshop at Future Internet Symposium (FIS) 2009, 01-03 Sep 2009, Berlin, Germany.


The rise of the Internet facilitates an ever increasing growth of virtual, i.e. digital spaces which co-exist with the physical environment, i.e. the physical space. In that, the question arises, how physical and digital space can interact synchronously. While sensors provide a means to continuously observe the physical space, several issues arise with respect to mapping sensor data streams to digital spaces, for instance, structured linked data, formally represented through symbolic Semantic Web (SW) standards such as OWL or RDF. The challenge is to bridge between symbolic knowledge representations and the measured data collected by sensors. In particular, one needs to map a given set of arbitrary sensor data to a particular set of symbolic knowledge representations, e.g. ontology instances. This task is particularly challenging due to the vast variety of possible sensor measurements. Conceptual Spaces (CS) provide a means to represent knowledge in geometrical vector spaces in order to enable computation of similarities between knowledge entities by means of distance metrics. We propose an approach which allows to refine symbolic concepts as CS and to ground ontology instances to so-called prototypical members which are vectors in the CS. By computing similarities in terms of spatial distances between a given set of sensor measurements and a finite set of CS members, the most similar instance can be identified. In that, we provide a means to bridge between the physical space, as observed by sensors, and the digital space made up of symbolic representations.

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