Basic Formal Ontology 2015

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Tutorial organized in conjunction with the International Conference on Biomedical Ontology, Lisbon, 2015

Faculty: Barry Smith, Department of Philosophy, University at Buffalo. Email:


The tutorial will fall into two parts:
Part 1 is for beginners, and provides a simple introduction to the rationale and principles underlying BFO, a brief guide to the history of the ontology, of its relations to other candidate upper ontologies, and of its principal applications, culminating in some examples of how BFO is used to initiate ontology development. The introduction to BFO described here will be released in advance of the meeting.
Part 2 will provide a guide to the current state of BFO and specifically of the proposed BFO version 2, and of the state of work along the three parallel tracks of (i) English-language specification, (ii) OWL and (iii) FOL formalization. 2.0 will be released in draft form for public comment in advance of the tutorial. It will also describe how BFO 2.0 is being used in current work on the Information Artifact Ontology (IAO).

Rationale BFO is now used as the top-level architecture for over 130 ontologies in the biological and biomedical domains. MIT Press will publish Building Ontologies With Basic Formal Ontology in August 2015, and this book will serve as basis for this tutorial.