Ontological Engineering

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Title: PHI 598 / IE 500: Ontological Engineering (Online class), Spring 2018.


Class#: 23854 (PHI)
Class#: 23450 (ENG)
Off-campus students: Registration details are provided under Part Time/Graduate here.

Instructor: Barry Smith

Office hours: By appointment via email at phismith@buffalo.edu

The Course

The aim of this 3-credit-hour course is to provide an introduction to the methods and uses of ontological engineering, focusing on applications in areas such as military intelligence, healthcare, and document processing. It will provide an overview of how ontologies are created and used, together with practical experience in the development of ontologies and in the use of associated web technology standards. It will also address some of the human factors underlying the success and failure of ontology projects, including issues of ontology governance and dissemination.

The course is built out of fifteen sessions, consisting of an on-line video lectures, video presentations created by students, and discussion sessions covering the topics of each lecture.

Text: Robert Arp, Barry Smith and Andrew Spear, Building Ontologies with Basic Formal Ontology, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, August 2015

Further readings and examples of video lectures from previous courses are provided below

Ontologies are an important tool in all areas where data is collected and described by different groups in different ways. Ontologies provide taxonomy-based computerized lexica used to describe diverse bodies of data. They thereby help to aggregate and compare data, to make data more easily discoverable, and to allow large bodies of data to be more effectively searched and analyzed. Ontologies also play an important role in the so-called Semantic Web, where the Web Ontology Language (OWL) forms a central building block in the stack of web technology standards created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Ontology in Buffalo: UB ontologists are involved in a variety of national and international projects in the military, healthcare, bioscience, engineering, transport and financial domains. There is an acknowledged shortage of persons with ontological engineering expertise in all these fields, and in related fields such as journalism, manufacturing and government administration. UB ontologists also work closely with CUBRC, a Buffalo research, development, testing and systems integration company specializing in the areas of Data Science and Information Fusion; Chemical, Biological and Medical Sciences; and Aeronautics.

Provisional list of topics

1. Introduction to Ontology and the Semantic Web
2. Big Data and How to Overcome the Problems it Causes
3. Ontology, AI and Robotics
4. Services, Commodities, Infrastructure
5. Product Life Cycle Ontology
6. Ontology and Information Engineering in the Healthcare Domain
7. The Science of Document Informatics
8. Finance Ontology
9. The Ontology of Plans
10. Ontology of Military Logistics
11. Ontology and Intelligence Analysis
12. Ontology and Data Fusion
13. Ontology of Terrorism
14. Presentations of Student Projects 1
15. Presentations of Student Projects 2

Sample videos

  • Ontology: A Brief Introduction
  • Ontology: From Philosophy to Engineering
  • Ontology as a Solution to the Problem of Data Integration
  • Object Based Production (OBP): Use of Ontologies in Tracking Systems
Basics of Referent Tracking (RT)
Referent Tracking and Video Surveillance
Referent Tracking and Data Descriptions
  • Military ontology
  • What is a document?
Video (to be edited)
  • Document Acts and the Ontology of Social Reality
  • Ontology and the Semantic Web