Ruben Verborgh

Ghent University / Inrupt Inc.

Professor of Decentralized Web Technology


Ruben is a Professor of decentralized Web technology at IDLab of Ghent University – imec and a Visiting Fellow at the Oxford Martin School within the University of Oxford. Ruben is also a Solid Ecosystem Architect for Inrupt and an advisor to other companies. From this hybrid academic and industrial perspective, his professional goal is to support Solid on its mission to inspire, transform, and reshape our data-driven society.

Talks and Events

2022 Talk: Web APIs For Decentralized Knowledge Graphs

While the sum of many individual knowledge graphs is a bigger knowledge graph, the sum of many individual APIs is not a bigger API, but rather a mess of interactions in which neither the server nor the client can improve the situation much within the traditional framework of thinking about APIs. The knowledge graphs of the future will be so massively large and elusive that they can never be captured by any single system—and hence impossibly be exposed through any single API. This begs the question of how servers can provide flexible entry points into this emerging Web-shaped knowledge ecosystem, and how clients can sustainably interact with them. This talk describes the upcoming shift from API integration to data integration, why we assume the latter is the easier problem, and what it fundamentally means to channel abstract knowledge through concrete Web APIs.

2020 Talk: Personal knowledge graphs on the Web

In today’s data-driven economy, the company with the most data wins. This means that companies go through great lengths to collect all of our data, sometimes even crossing ethical boundaries. But in the end, we all lose: having the best data process is not an indication of how well a company innovates or what value its services bring. As a result, innovation has come to a standstill, and people are stuck with mediocre data experiences.

If data truly is the new oil, then what we’re currently doing is pouring all that oil in barrels—often without the ability to open the lid ourselves. In order for data to fuel the engine, it has to flow much better than it does today.

In this talk, I will explain how the Solid project gives people back control over their personal knowledge graphs. In doing so, we enable small and large companies alike to innovate.

View the complete talk in the KGC media library.

Headshot of Ruben Verborgh