Ontology 101: An Introduction to Knowledge Representation and Ontology Development
Share this Session:
  Elisa Kendall   Elisa F Kendall
Thematix Partners LLC
  Deborah McGuinness   Deborah McGuinness
Tetherless World Chaired Constellation Professor
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)


Tuesday, November 29, 2011
01:00 PM - 04:15 PM
Level:  Technical - Introductory

Location:  Ballroom D

Effective communication requires participants in a conversation to have a common understanding of the concepts and vocabulary exchanged. An ontology makes the terminology, concepts and relationships between them explicit. Ontologies can be extremely useful when people or systems, who need to exchange information for some business purpose, do not have a consistent understanding of a domain.

Over the last several years there has been increasing commercial interest in semantic technologies, particularly for enriched search and navigation, search engine optimization, business intelligence, and social networking applications. Rule-based manufacturing, product configuration, and financial services systems have been deployed in production systems for many years, although the underlying ontologies for rule systems are just beginning to be formalized and exploited independently. Fewer organizations have successfully deployed semantically rich systems that incorporate ontology-based metadata, sophisticated reasoning and explanation support. In other words, the technology has been around for decades, though it remains challenging for people to understand, let alone use effectively.

This tutorial, which has been given annually for several years now, provides a great introduction for those who are just beginning to “get their feet wet” in the field, and is helpful in setting the stage for the rest of the conference. It provides an overview of the knowledge representation landscape and attempts to de-mystify some of the ‘black art’ of ontology development. We will outline basic methodology steps developed from a combination of

  • Domain analysis methodology from software engineering
  • IDEF methods developed for the US Department of Defense
  • Terminology analysis using ISO terminology and metadata standards
  • Formal concept analysis
  • Best practices from the Semantic Web (Best Practices and) Deployment working group
  • Experience and lessons learned

Examples from several business domains will be provided, with a focus on the Web Ontology Language (OWL). We will describe appropriate uses of some of the profiles developed for OWL 2, and of more expressive languages such as Common Logic, to help potential users understand both the power and limitations they impose on applications in making such choices.

Ms. Kendall has over 30 years professional experience in the design, development and deployment of enterprise-scale information management systems, with emphasis on complex taxonomy, ontology and knowledge-based systems design. As founder of an early entrant in the semantic technology space, she developed a number of best practices for marrying traditional IT with semantics to address complex information management issues. Elisa represents ontology and information architecture concerns on the Object Management Group (OMG)’s Architecture Board, and is co-editor of the Ontology Definition Metamodel (ODM). She has also been an active participant in the ISO JTC1 SC32 WG2 Metadata working group and was a member of the W3C OWL and Best Practices working groups. She holds a B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science from UCLA, and an A.M in Linguistics from Stanford University.

Deborah L. McGuinness is the Tetherless World Senior Constellation Chair and Professor Computer Science and Cognitive Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as an endowed chair of the Tetherless World Research Constellation. She is one of the creators of the OWL Web Ontology Language. McGuinness was previously the Director and Senior Research Scientist at the Knowledge Systems, Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Stanford University. She is a leading expert in knowledge representation and reasoning languages and systems and has worked in ontology creation and evolution environments for over 20 years. Most recently, Deborah is best known for her leadership role in semantic web research and applications of semantic web technology, particularly for scientific applications.

Close Window