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Graph Abstractions Matter

A talk by Ora Lassila
Principal Graph Technologist, Amazon Neptune

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About this talk

While mathematicians have used graph theory since the 18th century to solve problems, the software patterns for graph data are new to most developers. To enable "mass adoption" of graph technology, we need to establish the right abstractions, access APIs, and data models.

RDF triples, while of paramount importance in establishing RDF graph semantics, are a low-level abstraction, much like using assembly language. For practical and productive “graph programming” we need something different.

Similarly, existing declarative graph query languages (such as SPARQL and Cypher) are not always the best way to access graph data, and sometimes you need a simpler interface (e.g., GraphQL), or even a different approach altogether (e.g., imperative traversals such as with Gremlin).

Furthermore, the nascent graph database industry has not been able to settle on a single graph model: Developers are forced to choose between RDF, a standard that offers broad interoperability, and Labeled Property Graphs (LPG), which offer an object model-like abstraction but lack interoperability.

We present ongoing work towards “OneGraph” (1G), a unifying logical model for graphs. 1G will enable developers to choose their higher-level graph abstractions and query language(s) independent of a particular graph model (RDF or LPG), and thus they do not have to worry that this choice will later limit their access to other available tooling (ETL, visualization, etc.).

Talk+Live Q&A at the Eastern Auditorium in Connected Data World Center; Free Live Streaming

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Ora Lassila

Ora Lassila is a Principal Graph Technologist in the Amazon Neptune graph database group. He has a long experience with graphs, graph databases, ontologies, and knowledge representation. He was a co-author of the original RDF specification as well as a co-author of the seminal article on the Semantic Web.

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