PSDE: Ontology engineering for management and integration of data

This project aims to develop methods and tools to improve and integrate ontologies for use in management and integration of data.

Ontologies are a key technology for management and integration of distributed data sources. They can can be seen as ways to define and standardize the basic concepts and relations of a domain of interest, as well as the rules for combining these concepts and relations. They lead to a better understanding of a field and to more effective and efficient handling of information in that field. The benefits of the use of ontologies include reuse and sharing of knowledge across platforms, and improved documentation, maintenance, reliability and interoperability between applications. Several projects within SeRC aim to develop ontologies or reuse existing ontologies. In several cases information from different ontologies will need to be integrated. In this project we will focus on two aspects in ontology engineering: ontology debugging and ontology alignment, as well as their interaction.

1. Ontology debugging. Developing ontologies is not an easy task and, as the ontologies grow in size, they are likely to show a number of defects. Such ontologies, although often useful, also lead to problems when used in semantically-enabled applications. Wrong conclusions may be derived or valid conclusions may be missed. Defects in ontologies can take different forms. Syntactic defects are usually easy to find and to resolve. Defects regarding style include such things as unintended redundancy. More interesting and severe defects are the modeling defects which require domain knowledge to detect and resolve such as defects in the structure, and semantic defects such as unsatisfiable concepts and inconsistent ontologies. In this project we will develop methods and tools to detect and repair these defects.

2. Ontology alignment. In recent years many ontologies have been developed and often we would want to be able to use multiple ontologies. For instance, companies may want to use community standard ontologies and use them together with company-specific ontologies. Applications may need to use ontologies from different areas or from different views on one area. Ontology builders may want to use already existing ontologies as the basis for the creation of new ontologies by extending the existing ontologies or by combining knowledge from different smaller ontologies. In each of these cases it is important to know the relationships between the terms in the different ontologies. In this project we will develop methods and tools to detect mappings between different ontologies.