Archive for the 'knowledge maps' Category

Address of a location in a boundary less world

March 15, 2015

If we are interested in a border less world, what kind of address we shall give to a friend who wants to visit? Or deliver a letter to someone?

Currently the postal departments all over the world use a very hierarchical way of locating a place.  First we name a country, then a state, district, town, street, building and if you live in an apartment, the flat number, and then of course person’s name. All this sounds very logical and politically correct.  But in a world where there are several possessed boundaries.  When such political boundaries do not exist, how would you locate yourself?

In the current modern techno-savvy world, we can simply use latitude and longitude of the place. Perfect! But the lat-long numbers are  difficult to remember.

If we link lat-long to a landmark, and if the landmark has a unique number, and if the landmark is not a political boundary, such as e.g. a tree that lives longer than most buildings and roads we build, we have a better system of locating ourselves.

For example, I can say that I work close to tree 355, live close to tree 400.  We can also give directions, e.g. turn right at tree 320, stop opposite tree 455.  Since there are many many trees the numbers will go on increasing, which may become difficult to remember.

We recently started a citizen science project to map the trees, map all the trees, in India. It is in this context that I realized that the platform that we have built assigning serial numbers to the trees and to the planting sites.  Then it occurred to me we can use these numbers as another way of giving address to ourselves and the sites we inhabit.

tree 51

tree 51 at metaStudio

I meet visitors at my office and eat my lunch, drink tea/coffee at tree 51 of

If you want to create such landmarks and try to grab a smaller easy to remember number for your address, join at and map your tree anywhere in India.  If you live in any other part of the world, please send us a request by naming the locality where you want to create a landmark tree, we will create a tree mapping site for you.


metaStudio, Emacs and orgmode

February 18, 2013

metaStudio, Emacs and orgmode

We have been developing a semantic platform for collaborative construction of knowledge networks of open educational resources.  We have reached some level of stability and so would invite members of the community to visit and explore the site.  The link to the site is:

Here I will keep publishing a series of posts featuring some special features and a link to where the feature can be seen or a screenshot of the feature. In this post we feature a simple online orgmode editor implemented for collaborative editing of text.

Online Emacs Orgmode Editor

The site uses a very simple wiki style text editor that uses orgmode style markup (actually markDown).  The typed text is processed directly by orgmode vida emacs on the server side script.  The orgmode text as well as the automatically exported html are stored in the database.   This editor is limited only by the knowledge of the user about orgmode use and the html export limitations of orgmode.  It can have images, embedded videos, embedded java applets, or just about anything that we need to publish on the web.

The main highlight is the easy of use and very low learning curve.  Students and teachers who have never been exposed to any wiki or web authoring have picked up the editing methods with least training.

metastudio orgmode editor

metastudio orgmode editor

embedding video and orgmode

metastudio embedding video using orgmode

GNOWSYS Mode for Semantic Web

October 25, 2009

Since I could not go to the 8th International Semantic Web Conference ISWC 2009 to present our contribution,  and also to the Workshop on Collaborative Construction, Management and Linking of Structured Knowledge ), I have uploaded the video of the presentation.  The reasons for not being able to go to the conference are posted in my earlier blog post.

The papers are available from the Semantic Web archives and the CEUR site.

More about GNOWSYS-mode from the gnowledge lab’s site.

Saturation in the scale-free dependency networks of free software

February 3, 2009

As reported in my previous post on Debian Dependency Maps we started to study the properties of dependency relation and the kind of networks the relation can generate.  One preliminary study we (me along with Arnab K. Ray and Rajiv Nair) posit a  nonlinear model for the global analysis of data pertaining to the semantic network of a complex operating system (free and open-source software). While the distribution of links in the dependency network of this system is scale-free for the intermediate nodes, we found that the richest nodes deviate from this trend, and exhibit a nonlinearity-induced saturation effect. This also distinguishes the two directed networks of incoming and outgoing links from each other. The initial condition for a dynamic model, evolving towards the steady dependency distribution, determines the saturation properties of the mature scale-free network.

Here I give some of the motivations on conducting this study and some conclusions.
The full paper with all the technical details is uploaded at

Scale-free distributions in complex networks have been very well studied by now. The ubiquity of scale-free properties is quite noteworthy, and spans across vastly  diverse domains like (to name a few) the World Wide Web and the Internet, the social, ecological, biological and linguistic networks, income and wealth distributions, trade and business networks, and semantic networks.

It should occasion no surprise, therefore, that further developments have led to the discovery of scale-free features in the architecture of computer software as well. A recent
work  has shown that the structure of object-oriented software is a heterogeneous network characterised by a power-law distribution.  More in keeping with the purpose of this present paper, an earlier work on complex networks in software engineering had found evidence of power-law behaviour in the inter-package dependency networks in free and open-source software (FOSS).  It is a matter of common knowledge that when it comes to installing a software package from the  Debian GNU/Linux repository, many other packages — the “dependencies” — are also called for as prerequisites. This leads to a network of these dependencies, and every such package may be treated as a node in a network of dependency relationships. Each dependency relationship connecting any two packages (nodes) is treated as a link (an edge), and every link establishes a relation between a prior package and a posterior package, whereby the functions defined in the
prior package are called in the posterior package. This enables reuse (economy) of functions and eliminates duplicate development. As a result the whole operating system emerges as a coherent and stable semantic network. However, unlike other semantic networks, the network of nodes in the Debian repository is founded on a single relation spanning across all its nodes: Y depends on X; its inverse, X is required for Y .
So, given any particular node, its links (the relations with other nodes) can be of two types — incoming links and outgoing links — as a result of which, there will arise two distinct kinds of directed network.  For the network of incoming links, a newly-reported work  has empirically established the relevance of Zipf’s law and the conditions attendant on it in Debian GNU/Linux distribution. Carrying further along these very lines, the present study purports to analyse and model the finite-size effects in a FOSS network. There is a general appreciation that for any system with a finite size, the power-law trend is not manifested indefinitely, and in the context of the FOSS network, this is a matter that is recognised as one worthy of a more thorough investigation. Deviations from the power-law trend appear for both the heavily-linked and the sparsely-linked nodes. The former case corresponds to the distribution of a disproportionately high number of links connected to a very few special nodes — the so-called “top nodes” (or rich nodes).  The importance of these nodes is, therefore, a self-evident fact.

The data needed for the modelling pertain to the current stable Debian release, Etch (Debian GNU/Linux 4.0).  The respective networks of both the incoming links and the outgoing links span 18630 nodes (software packages).
The study argues for the significance of non-linearity and saturation, as regards a quantitative characterisation of the incoming and outgoing distribution in the Debian GNU/Linux network.  One might rightly expect to encounter similar features in other networks.  And indeed, given the possibility that the entire network of software packages in an operating system can be construed to be a semantic (albeit non-autonomous) system, its characteristics can furnish a model that can shed light on much more complex but realistic autonomous semantic and cognitive systems, such as the human society, or
even the human mind.

In the road ahead, the gnowledge lab will conduct a similar study for the dependencies between concepts and activities as and when we obtain sufficient number of nodes at  Currently we have only about 1000 dependency relations.  As more people get to know about the need of establishing dependency relation between concepts, and as and when the portal itself matures with features to attract more users we can study the properties of the resulting knowledge network.

The full paper with all the technical details is uploaded at

Building a road map of knowledge!

November 12, 2008
The lab of Homi Bhabha Centre (HBCSE) launched a new community portal on 31st October 2008 to make concept maps of all areas of knowledge.  Currently there are about 400 concepts with about 350 prerequisite relations among them.

The activity is to build a road map of knowledge by  establishing dependency relations (prerequisites) between concepts and activities.  Soon we will extend the site for TypeMap, PartMap, InteractionMap, ProcessMap, CauseMap, functionMap, TestsMap, TranslationMap etc.  That way progressively and collaboratively we can represent all knowledge as concept maps.

The current map looks like this.

The site is waiting for community contributions and suggestions at

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