Logic and Computation advanced course:
Ontologies: Structuring, Modularity, and Heterogeneity.

  • Stefano Borgo ()
  • Oliver Kutz ()

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The design of formal ontologies is an interdisciplinary area of research that draws on logic, philosophy, cognitive science, linguistics, as well as computer science, with major applications in the Semantic Web. As the scope and relevance of ontologies grows, both for supporting Semantic Web applications and for knowledge-rich processing in general, the issue of re-using/importing developed ontological components takes on an ever more critical role. The current solutions being pursued within OWL-oriented Semantic Web approaches have some severe limitations in this respect. For the next generation of ontology-based systems, it will be essential to move beyond this.

To achieve this, we present major methodologies and techniques to correctly construct, modify, and relate ontologies - understood in a broad sense as logical theories formulated in various formal languages - with an emphasis on heterogeneity, structuring and modularity, as well as foundations of ontology design. As illustrative examples, we will discuss prominent ontologies from the spatial, philosophical and linguistic domains. These will be analysed and structured using the Common Algebraic Specification Language (CASL), and shown 'at work' employing the tool HeTS, offering (heterogeneous) reasoning support for structured ontologies and providing powerful new mechanisms for reusing ontological components or modules. A Live-CD for hands-on experimentation with HeTS will be distributed to all participants.