Media Release Open Web Search Project
For the OpenWebSearch.EU project, Graz University of Technology represented by the Institute of Interactive Systems and Data Science / CoDiS Lab has joined forces with 13 other renowned European research centers to develop an open European infrastructure for web search. The project will be contributing to Europe’s digital sovereignty as well as promoting an open human-centered search engine market. The European Commission has now approved the project's Horizon Europe funding of 8,5 million euros.
"Free, open and unbiased access to information – we have lost these core principles in web search and urgently need to restore them. This is why we will create an open European infrastructure for internet search, based on European values and jurisdiction." says Michael Granitzer of University Passau and Open Search Foundation, project coordinator of OpenWebSearch.EU.
Over the next three years the researchers will develop the core of a European Open Web Index (OWI) as a basis for a new Internet Search in Europe. In addition, the project will set the foundation for an open and extensible European open Web Search and Analysis Infrastructure (OWSAI), based on Europe’s values, principles, legislation and standards.
"In this project, the CoDiS Lab team will focus on the design and integration of user-centered aspects and ethical values in the search technology, and will lead the creation of search applications that demonstrate both the open web search infrastructure and the human values. These contributions are highly relevant for an open web search system, because this approach ensures and increases trust, transparency, and explainability of web search processes." says Christian Gütl, head of the CoDiS Lab.
The project has its origins in concerns over the imbalance of the search engine market. Despite being a backbone of our digital economy, web search is dominated and limited by a few gatekeepers like Google, Microsoft, Baidu or Yandex. Thus, information as public good, with free, unbiased and transparent access is not under public control anymore. This imbalance endangers democracy and limits the innovative potential of Europe's research landscape and economy.
TU Graz benefits from the involvement in this project, as this endeavor aims to solve the major societal challenge of making web search independent through a technological solution. This increases public visibility and reputation of the university and the research team.
OpenWebSearch.EU is the first project the EU has funded to get tomorrow's web search up and running. It will kick-off in September 2022. The 14 partner institutions will initially cooperate over a time-frame of three years. The project has received funding of 8,5 million euros from the European Union’s Horizon research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 101070014.
List of project partners:
About Horizon Europe:
Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation. It aims to build a knowledge- and innovation-based society and a competitive economy while contributing to sustainable development. The programme contributes to the implementation of the European Commission's guidelines.
ISDS welcomes Professor David Garcia, who will head the research group of Computational Social Science Lab (CSS Lab) at the Institute. David Garcia's work aims to understand human behavior and emergent technological phenomena in the digital society. He works at the intersection between Computer Science and the Social Sciences in the new field of Computational Social Science. His research applies computational methods and digital trace data to study human emotions, online polarization, inequality, and social privacy issues.
His Educational Qualifications:
2018: Habilitation in Computational Social Science at ETH Zurich
2009 – 2012: PhD at ETH Zurich.
2007 – 2009: Masters in Computer Science at ETH Zurich. Focus on theoretical Computer Science
2003 - 2007: Bachelors in Computer Science at Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain
His Career Background:
2017 – until present: Faculty Member at the Complexity Science Hub Vienna
2017 – until present: Group Leader at the Medical University of Vienna
2018 – 2021: Privatdozent at ETH Zurich
2015 – 2017: Senior researcher at ETH Zurich
2012 – 2014: Postdoctoral researcher at ETH Zurich
2008 – 2012: Research assistant at ETH Zurich
We at ISDS are extremely happy and proud to welcome David Garcia to our Institute and look forward to enlightening research progress and results.
CyVerse in Graz, Austria (CAT) is deployed as an independent instance based on the model CyVerse US (an initiative of the University of Arizona, US, supporting all processes from data generation, management, sharing and collaboration to analytics). It is formed and funded within the framework of the BioTechMed association.
The team of researchers heading CAT wrote a paper that was selected and published in the HPC 2020 (a special issue on High Performance Computing of the MDPI). It was written and co-authored by the head of ISDS (Institute of Interactive Systems & Data Science) – Stefanie Lindstaedt, along with Konrad Lang (Technical Lead CyVerse Austria), Sarah Stryeck (Data Stewart of TU Graz & User Support CyVerse Austria), David Bodruzic (Technical Expert, University of Graz), Manfred Stepponat (Technical infrastructure, Graz University of Technology), Slave Trajanoski (Technical Expert, Medical University of Graz) and Ursula Winkler (Technical Expert, University of Graz). The topic of the paper was CyVerse Austria—A Local, Collaborative Cyberinfrastructure
What is the project about?
Life sciences (LS) are advanced in research data management, since LS have established disciplinary tools for data archiving as well as metadata standards for data reuse. However, there is a lack of tools supporting the active research process in terms of data management and data analytics. This leads to tedious and demanding work to ensure that research data before and after publication are FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable) and that analyses are reproducible.
Role of CyVerse Austria (CAT)
CAT has helped to enhance and simplify collaborations between the three main universities in Graz by: (i) creating a distributed computational and data management architecture (iRODS-based), (ii) identifying and incorporating relevant data from researchers in LS and (iii) identifying and hosting relevant tools, including analytics software to ensure reproducible analytics using Docker technology for the researchers taking part in the initiative.
This initiative supports research-related processes, including data management and analytics for LS researchers. It also holds the potential to serve other disciplines and provides potential for Austrian universities to integrate their infrastructure in the European Open Science Cloud.
What to look forward to?
“With CAT, we are already in a global community (partners in US, UK, Australia) and CAT will be expanded on a regional level (Styria), on the national level (EU), to other disciplines besides the Life Sciences and expanded to industry as well.
The first step is already ongoing. We have received funding from BMBWF (Federal Ministry of Education, Science & Research) as a partner university in the project - Austrian DataLab and Services (Lead TU Vienna) to deploy CAT in other Austrian institutions as well as to explore the potential of CAT to serve other disciplines (e.g. humanities, engineering)” says Sarah Stryeck (User Support, CyVerse Austria)
Role of ISDS and TU Graz
TU Graz is the leading institution in the project providing the core system where KFUG (University of Graz) and MUG (Medical University of Graz) are connected. The deployment, trainings and user support are done by researchers from ISDS.
Use cases are already being conducted by researchers from TUG, MUG and KFUG and include biologists, psychologists and physicists. The researchers implement analytical pipelines in CAT, use it for collaborative research in order to have an efficient data sharing process, or automatize with CAT tedious processes.