Workshop on Ontology Design and Patterns held at ISWC 2017

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On Saturday October 21st the 8th WOP workshop was run during ISWC2017 in Vienna, Austria. Eva Blomqvist has been the general chair of this workshop instance, and co-organisers included Oscar Corcho (UPM), David Carral (TU Dresden), Rinke Hoekstra (Elsevier) and Matthew Horridge (Stanford). The workshop program and other information can be found on the WOP2017 page.

Pascal Hitzler (Wright State University, US) kicked off the workshop with a very interesting keynote on next generation ontology engineering, listing a number of open problems and practical showstoppers towards better utilisation of ODPs in ontology engineering. Then we heard a number of exciting talks presenting the latest research around ODPs, and a number of actual ODPs were also described. The workshop concluded with a discussion session, conducted in three groups, focusing on different problems bought forth by the participants. The groups talked about meta-languages to describe ODPs and ODP usage, relations between ODPs, and the relation between ontologies and thesauri. Notes are on the WOP page linked above.

An interesting thing to note is that ODP research is getting broader, with two main tracks; one considering the classical view of ODPs as design patterns for ontologies, and the second one more focusing on ODPs as templates or macros for generating OWL from a specification. A lot of discussions at the workshop centered around how to use both these views together to allow users to benefit from both of them. Interest in ODPs is also not only an academic thing, in the audience there were several industry representatives from around the world. Overall, the workshop attracted a quite large audience, counting around 45 people during the main sessions. In the evening almost half of the attendants met again, for a social dinner at a local restaurant.

Anyone who is interested in updates on ODP research and future events is encouraged to join the ODP mailing list (a google group).

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Eva Blomqvist invited speaker at the ESSENCE final conference

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ESSENCE is an EU-funded Marie Curie network, ending in October 2017. As a final event the network arranged the International Conference on Computational Approaches to Diversity in Interaction and Meaning, in San Servolo, Venice, Italy, from 6-9 October 2017. Eva Blomqvist was one of the invited speakers in this conference, talking about managing diversity of ontologies on the Semantic Web by means of Ontology Design Patterns (ODP). An ODP is not only an aid for constructing ontologies, but also a means of identifying commonalities in ontologies, i.e., based on the way they model various aspects. So at a certain level of abstraction ODPs can constitute a shared level of understanding between ontologies using those same ODPs.

The slides of Eva’s talk are available here.

A tweet containing some nice pictures from the talk.

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Karl Hammar defended his PhD thesis on Ontology Design Patterns

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On September 29, Karl Hammar successfully defended his PhD thesis entitled “Content Ontology Design Patterns: Qualities, Methods, and Tools”. The thesis was first presented by the opponent, professor Harald Sack, FIZ, Karlsruhe, Germany, who then continued to discuss the research results and future ideas with Karl. The three members of the examining committee then continued the discussion with Karl, before unanimously deciding to approve his thesis and award the PhD degree to Karl. At which point we could all congratulate him to a an interesting defence and an excellent thesis. In particular, his three supervisors, Henrik Eriksson (LiU), Eva Blomqvist (LiU) and Vladimir Tarassov (JTH) were of course the first to congratulate him, followed by colleagues and family.

Karl Hammar’s research has aimed to combine quantitative and qualitative research methods, primarily based on five ontology engineering projects involving inexperienced ontologists, studying how Ontology Design Patterns (ODPs) can support that specific group of users. A series of ontology engineering workshops and surveys provided data about developer preferences regarding ODP features and quality, ODP usage methodology, and ODP tooling needs. Other data sources were ontologies and ODPs published on the web, which have been studied in detail. To evaluate tooling improvements, experimental approaches provided data from comparison of new tools and techniques against established alternatives.

The analysis of the gathered data resulted in a set of measurable quality indicators that cover aspects of ODP documentation, formal representation or axiomatisation, and usage by ontologists. These indicators highlight quality trade-offs: for instance, between ODP Learnability and Reusability, or between Functional Suitability and Performance Efficiency. These are things that ontology engineers need to keep in mind when using ODPs in their ontologies, and in particular if they are inexperienced ontologists. Furthermore, the results demonstrated a need for ODP tools that support three novel property specialisation strategies, and highlighted the preference of inexperienced developers for template-based ODP instantiation, neither of which were supported in prior tooling. The studies also resulted in improvements to ODP search engines based on ODP-specific attributes. Finally, the analysis showed that a specific ontology engineering methodology, the eXtreme Design (XD), should include guidance for developer roles and responsibilities in ontology engineering projects, suggestions on how to reuse existing ontology resources, and approaches for adapting XD to project-specific contexts. Karl therefore proposed a new version of the XD methodology, specifically covering these aspects.

The thesis can be found here.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congratulations Karl!

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