SGER: Exploratory Investigation of Modular Ontology Languages

Project: Research project

Project Details


Many distributed data and knowledge base applications call for a structured

approach to collaborative construction of large ontologies

(conceptualizations of objects, properties, and relationships between

objects of interest in specific domains). This high risk, potentially high

impact research is aimed at addressing the need of such applications for

ontology languages, distributed reasoning algorithms, and software tools

that support rapid collaborative assembly and use of complex ontologies

through partial and selective reuse of independently created ontology

modules. A family of description logics (DL) based modular ontology

languages, namely Package-Based Description logics (P-DL) being developed by

the researchers to explore the language features, syntax, and semantics of

package-based partial order ontologies (PPO). The resulting tools will be

evaluated in the context of collaborative construction of animal trait

(phenotype) ontologies needed for comparative genomics. Anticipated results

of the research include open source software for rapid, collaborative

construction of PPO (and eventually, P-DL ontologies). The resulting tools

can potentially transform distributed data and knowledge base applications

in the same way in which the World-Wide Web transformed the construction,

sharing and use of hyperlinked documents and Wiki has transformed

encyclopedia construction. Broader impacts of this research include enhanced

opportunities for research-based training of graduate and undergraduate

students, enhanced interdisciplinary collaborations, increased participation

of under-represented groups, and engagement of the broader scientific

community in developing and using increasingly sophisticated collaborative

ontology development tools. The project Web site ( provides access to the information on the project, publications and prototype software tools.

Effective start/end date9/1/062/28/09


  • National Science Foundation: $112,000.00


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