Internship | Intelligent agents and scattered knowledge

With knowledge scattered all around us, let cooperating agents come to the rescue! Join our Plasido team to build a next-gen knowledge engine.



Education type

university (wo)


Internship and graduation project

Hours a week

Fulltime – 40


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What will you be doing?

In today's society, knowledge is often distributed among multiple heterogeneous sources. For example, your personal knowledge is distributed over different apps, clouds and devices and knowledge from businesses are stored in different (legacy) IT systems. Although these separate knowledge bases have value in and of itself, even more benefit can be achieved when the knowledge in these heterogeneous sources is combined with knowledge from other sources. This might give new possibilities and insights, for example when you combine your personal photo library with your historic navigation routes.

Although many organizations recognize the value of integrating this scattered knowledge, they are often opposed by the expensive and tailored IT solutions. Similar difficulties arise when groups of organizations decide to cooperate and would like to share some of their knowledge with each other. The interoperability and heterogeneity issues that arise is such situations are typically handled using Semantic Technologies like RDF, OWL and SPARQL. However, these solutions often copy and store knowledge in a single large database, but this gives rise to challenges related to data governance, scalability and updates. The research community is currently investigating whether Intelligent Agent Technology might help the integration and cooperation between distributed independent knowledge bases while keeping knowledge at its source and only retrieve it when it is required.

The purpose of this research is to further develop our approach on the communication of knowledge between agents with the purpose of integrating knowledge bases in a federated knowledge environment. It will be part of the Hybrid AI program within TNO.

At the Data Science department of TNO we are developing the Plasido platform where we combine Semantic Technology related standards and tools like OWL, SPARQL, Apache Jena and GRLC. For this platform we would like:
  • a design of a protocol based on SPARQL graph patterns for the communication of knowledge between knowledge bases (i.e. agents).
  • an implementation of this protocol using Apache Jena that integrates with our Plasido platform.
This thesis will first consider existing approaches and tools related to communication (about knowledge) between Intelligent Agents and compare it with our approach. Next, the results from this literature study are used to develop our approach into an actual protocol and implement this protocol using Apache Jena and Semantic technologies. And finally, the student validates the protocol's design and implementation via a use case within our Plasido platform.

What do we require of you?

Your background and interests should include knowledge representation, semantic modeling and intelligent agents. We expect from you to have a creative way of thinking to come up with new solution directions and innovations that are out-of-the-box and not yet thought of in the context of the problem to be solved. In addition, you are a teamworker that is also interested in the work of others in the department and has an open eye for related work that can be applied to the problem at hand. Finally, a result-oriented attitude is necessary for this assignment and it is expected that a working prototype of the proposed solution will be realized.

What can you expect of your work situation?

TNO is an independent research organisation whose expertise and research make an important contribution to the competitiveness of companies and organisations, to the economy and to the quality of society as a whole. Innovation with purpose is what TNO stands for. With 3000 people we develop knowledge not for its own sake but for practical application. To create new products that make life more pleasant and valuable and help companies innovate. To find creative answers to the questions posed by society. We work for a variety of customers: governments, the SME sector, large companies, service providers and non-governmental organisations. Working together on new knowledge, better products and clear recommendations for policy and processes. In everything we do, impact is the key. Our product and process innovations and recommendations are only worth something if our customers can use them to boost their competitiveness.

What can TNO offer you?

You want to work on the precursor of your career; a work placement gives you an opportunity to take a good look at your prospective future employer. TNO goes a step further. It’s not just looking that interests us; you and your knowledge are essential to our innovation. That’s why we attach a great deal of value to your personal and professional development. You will, of course, be properly supervised during your work placement and be given the scope for you to get the best out of yourself. Naturally, we provide suitable work placement compensation.

Has this vacancy sparked your interest?

Then please feel free to apply on this vacancy! For further questions don’t hesitate to contact us.

Contact: Barry Nouwt
Phone number: +31 (0)88-86 65691

Note that applications via email and third party applications are not taken into consideration.


Apply now



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