KGC 2022 is in the books, and I’ve had a weekend to decompress and think about it. Like many, if not most, people I spoke with at the conference, this was my first time “out of the house” in 2 years. I had a lot of fun at the event, and it was great to have a chance to actually interact with the knowledge graph community and not just trade slacks/emails.
This is the fourth year of the conference, and I’ve had the fortune to participate in the conference every year both as a presenter and attendee. However, this is only the second time the conference has been held in person. What started as a small half academic/half industry conference is maturing into a great event in the industry. The audience is a fun mix of academics, researchers, and practitioners that provides a lot of different viewpoints and experiences in the world of knowledge graphs.
KGC 2022 was held in NYC, May 2-6 at the Cornell Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island. Situated in the middle of the East River, the venue was a bit tricky to get to, as I found out at midnight in the back of a cab, requiring an unexpected tour of Queens. One of my co-workers, a life-long New Yorker, stated, “I didn’t know it had a subway station” — for the record, it does, on the F train.
But once you were there, you were treated to a spectacular view of the city and a quiet locale that had easy access via a tram (!) to Manhatten.
The conference started with two days of tutorials and workshops that combined both physical and virtual audiences. These sessions covered a wide range of topics, from product overviews to discussions about data modeling best practices.
After that, the main event — two full days of hybrid conference sessions followed by a full day virtual program. Three in-person presentations happened concurrently, each a combined physical and virtual audience and a fourth virtual-only option. Needless to say, a lot was going on at any given time.
The main event kicked off with the opening keynote from Bob Muglia, a board member at RelationalAI and previously from Snowflake and Microsoft. He talked about how the Modern Data Stack had done a good job helping organizations perform DSML at scale, but that, for the most part, enterprises are still in their infancy in terms of effective and systemic data usage and how there are clear requirements on topics like governance, which are not sufficiently addressed by the existing stack.
Bob did a great job setting the stage for our subsequent presentation about how the “Bermuda Triangle” of the enterprise data storage, analytics, and governance all need to be fully and equally considered part of the backbone of the enterprise data ecosystem and how knowledge graphs are the enabling technology that brings it all together.
This was also the first year the conference was divided into discrete tracks, ranging from Data Architecture to Graph Data Science. KGC2022 had a dedicated “Business Use Case” track recognizing what had been a growing trend at previous shows. There were plenty of practical, high-level talks in addition to the wealth of engineering/technical ones giving attendees a great variety of topics to learn about.
I participated in the conference for two days in the middle of the event: Tuesday, the final workshop/tutorial day; and Wednesday, the first day of the main event. This included my talk on what I’ve learned is the best day to have a talk, May the 4th (AKA, Star Wars Day). Following the opening keynote, I gave my first in-person presentation in over two years; I’d forgotten how much more fun and energizing presenting in person is instead of virtually.
There were some snafus in the A/V for my presentation, so things didn’t quite go according to plan, but that doesn’t matter because I got to use a lightsaber. If you haven’t done this before, I highly recommend. I also built a custom Star Wars focused demo on how standard data integration challenges plagued even the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire and exactly how Knowledge Graphs can overcome those challenges and bring the data together.
In case you missed it, we’ve added the demo to Stardog Express. Just check out the database kgc-demo.
After the first day of the event, KGC and Stardog hosted the official welcome party on the rooftop venue of the conference hotel. Many of the event’s attendees kept making connections in their personal knowledge graphs well into the evening as we looked onto the Manhattan at sunset.
Unfortunately, I could not stay for the last day of the main event. Still, our team reported another day full of exciting conversations about knowledge graphs and how they’re increasingly becoming a key, foundational piece of the enterprise data ecosystem.
On the final (and entirely virtual) day of the event, Laura Firey, Product Manager at Stardog, gave an overview of Stardog Designer, our new low-code/no-code visual data modeling and mapping environment. Designer provides an easy-to-use tool for building your knowledge graph that requires zero technical knowledge to get started.
Overall, KGC 2022 was a great event. While there were some hiccups, the 4th edition was the best so far; a fun and interesting locale with a nice blend of business and technical-focused talks and attendees, representing a great cross-section of our community.
Personally, it was amazing to have an opportunity to present in person again after such a long break. I also got the chance to meet several new team members who previously had only existed virtually. There are a lot of virtues to working remotely, but being able to chat with a teammate isn’t necessarily one of them. I live 50 miles from a newish co-worker, but it took KGC 2022, and a trip to NYC, for us to meet in person. I’m already looking forward to next year.
In my KGC session, I invited folks to check out our new Stardog Essentials, a private cloud instance of your own Stardog Enterprise Knowledge Graph platform (no installation required). You can access that here.