A Visual Formalism for BFO-Based Ontologies

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José M. Parente de Oliveira

Standard graphical representations of ontologies are flawed because the representation of non-hierarchical relations lacks appropriate support. In particular, the graphical representation of specialization and whole-part, as well as quality and dependency relationships are poorly represented. In consequence, graphical representations fail to provide the needed synoptic view of how the represented elements are interrelated.

I will show how we can use the Higraph visual formalism [1],[2] to represent domain ontologies based on BFO in a way that will provide visual representations that are both clearer and more concise. More specifically, the idea is to pursue ways to represent in a more concise and intuitive way the following aspects of BFO ontologies:

Generalization/ specialization relationships Whole-part relationships Qualities Dependency relationships among entities Occurrent and related entities

Future steps will include the exploration of using Higraph to support visual inference over content using BFO-conformant ontologies.

[1] Harel, D. On Visual Formalisms

[2] Power, J. and Tourlas, K. Abstraction in Reasoning about Higraph-Based Systems


Dr Parente will be visiting UB until March 2017 on a sabbatical fellowship. He is Associate Professor of Computer Science and Deputy Dean for Graduate Education and Research at the Brazilian Aeronautics Institute of Technology (ITA). His research is in the areas of command and control (C2) and situation awareness, knowledge representation, ontology engineering, semantic computing and the Semantic Web. He has also worked on cancer data mining, ontology-based tutoring, and e-government.