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DSC Weekly Newsletter 10 May 2022: Data Meshes, Digital Twins, and Knowledge Graphs

  • Kurt Cagle 
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Data Mesh, Digital Twins, Knowledge Graphs: Data Fabrics, one and all.

There’s an underlying theme to this week’s articles, which is a curious occurrence given that so much of our content is user-driven. That theme is the Value of Data. There is a tendency when looking at data in its various incarnations to view all data as somehow being valuable. Realistically, without rolling up sleeves and doing the hard work of analysis at all points in the data life cycle, such exercises can be a waste of time and resources.

Bill Schmarzo, in his fascinating weekly column about data, asks the question of whether data meshes, where we view data in a metaphorical sense as a seamless cloth, actually bring value to an organization without also questioning how value comes from data. He brings up an important point here:

An organization’s data strategy should NOT start with data.  When you start your data strategy with data, then one is drawn to generalized technology capabilities that promise all sorts of magical outcomes without the prerequisite hard work and business stakeholder collaboration.

Digital twins, similarly, attempt the process of building a virtual duplicate of a physical object or process, yet ultimately it is a question of the fidelity between thing and model that drives whether the digital twin is actually useful. Ajit Jaokar, in his latest article in a series on Digital twins, brings up whether the fidelity of such a twin should include building a dynamic, rather than static, model because without the dimension of time, digital twins have little real value.

I weigh in on the topic myself with the exploration of both now graphs and eternal graphs in knowledge graph systems. In effect, I argue that rdf-star, which was proposed originally to provide the infrastructure necessary to turn RDF-based knowledge graphs into labeled property graphs, could in fact solve one of the biggest conundrums that knowledge graphs have: managing versioning. The answer, it turns out, is surprisingly simple: use assertions about assertions (reifications) to create simplified now graphs that are easy to both query and navigate.

We’re in the process of switching over to a new newsletter platform this week – providing better value to you is a concern for us as well. Until then, enjoy!