Industry Ontologies Foundry: ASME Workshop 2017

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A Strategy for Promoting Data Interoperability Across the Enterprise

Workshop and Tutorial T7, organized as part of the ASME 2017 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences (IDETC) and Computers & Information in Engineering Conference (CIE) (IDETC/CIE)

Venue: Cleveland Conference Center, Cleveland, OH

Date: Sunday, August 6, 2017

Time: 1:00pm – 5:00pm

Failures of interoperability are a major obstacle to coherent product life cycle and supply chain management. The Industry Ontology Foundry is an initiative designed to address this problem sponsored by NIST and by a number of industrial and academic partners. The strategy is to create a suite of simple consensus-based public domain-ontology modules extending across the major areas of digital manufacturing.

Modules under consideration include: Product Life Cycle, Core Product Model, Functional Basis, Materials and Material Attributes. The workshop will begin with an introduction to the use of ontology as a strategy to promote interoperability across multiple data and information systems, followed by a number of papers illustrating use cases of the IO Foundry approach.

Participants should have an interest in digital manufacturing and some knowledge of the problems caused by failures of interoperability of data and software systems in the industrial domain.


Part 1: Goals and Architecture of the Industry Ontology Foundry

1:00pm Kemper Lewis: Introduction to the Workshop (10 minutes)


1:10pm Ram Sriram: The Role of Ontologies in Smart and Networked Manufacturing: Past, Present, and Future


1:40pm Paul Witherell: Leveraging Ontologies in Next-Generation Data Analytics and Decision Making


2:00pm Barry Smith: introduction to BFO and the Industry Ontologies Foundry

Slides Video

2:30pm Dimitris Kiritsis, Product Life Cycle Ontology


3:00pm Break

Part 2: Examples of IOF Ontology Test Modules

3:30pm Ian Grosse and Tom Hagerdorn, A BFO Compliant Ontology to Support Engineering Design and Innovation


4:15pm Farhad Ameri, Manufacturing Supply Chain Ontology: Experiences with BFO


5:00pm Close

Need for the Workshop

Shortfalls in interoperability deriving from the development of heterogeneous data systems are a plague on all attempts to employ digital technology for collaborative purposes. These shortfalls have been addressed, at least in part, in the biomedical field, through the development of the OBO (Open Biomedical Ontologies) Foundry, which provides a suite of peer-reviewed, interoperable, open source ontologies now used to advance cross-disciplinary exchange and alignment of data across some hundreds of institutions worldwide in fields such as medicine, genomics and drug development. The OBO Foundry model has been adopted in areas such as defense logistics, military intelligence, and sustainable development, and the principles involved in successful application of the underlying methodology have now been thoroughly tested and documented in multiple publications. Shortfalls in interoperability of particular concern in the field of digital manufacturing, as the It is becoming more complex, more interconnected, and more geographically distributed. We believe that this workshop will provide a timely contribution to addressing these shortfalls, and provide an opportunity useful to many participants to discover how they can become involved in this vital work.

Impact We believe that the Industry Ontology Foundry provides a major opportunity to advance interoperability among the data systems and software tools used, especially by small and medium-sized companies in seeking to exploit the possibilities of digital manufacturing. The workshop will not merely provide an introduction to the IOF, but also provide initial guidance to participants who wish to join in the effort, whether by developing new modules, by testing existing modules, or by writing designing new types of software taking advantage of the interoperability which the IOF is designed to promote.


Kemper Lewis (Workshop Organizer)
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University at Buffalo, NY 14260
Barry Smith
National Center for Ontological Research, University at Buffalo, NY 14260
Ram Sriram
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, MD 20899
Dimitris Kiritsis
Institute of Mechanical Engineering, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
Ian Grosse
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003
Farhad Ameri
Department Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666
Paul Witherell
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, MD 20899,

Biographical Sketches

Kemper Lewis is Professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University at Buffalo. He is also the Director of the Sustainable Manufacturing and Advanced Robotic Technologies (SMART) Community of Excellence and the Site Director of the National Center for e-Design as part of the National Science Foundation’s Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) program. His research expertise is in the areas of design analytics, decision networks, complex system tradeoffs and optimization, and decision modeling. He is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and has served on the National Academies Panel on Benchmarking the Research Competitiveness of the United States in Mechanical Engineering.

Ram Sriram is Chief, Software and Systems Division. Information Technology Lab, NIST, where he previously served as leader of the Design and Process group in the Manufacturing Systems Integration Division, Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory. He was also the manager of the Sustainable Manufacturing Program. In the early 2000s Dr Sriram conducted research on standards for interoperability of computer-aided design systems in which he anticipated many features of the ontology systems now being developed and applied in manufacturing engineering and others today.

Barry Smith is Director of the National Center for Ontological Research. His pioneering work on the science of ontology led to the establishment of Basic Formal Ontology (BFO) as the most commonly adopted upper-level ontology development framework. It also led to the formation of the OBO (Open Biomedical Ontologies) Foundry, a suite of interoperable ontology modules designed to support information-driven research in biology and biomedicine. The methodology underlying BFO and the OBO Foundry is now being applied in a range of different domains, including defense logistics, military intelligence, digital manufacturing and sustainable development. Smith is a recipient of the Wolfgang Paul Prize from the Humboldt Foundation in 2001, of the Paolo Bozzi Ontology Prize in 2010, and he was elected Fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics in 2011.

Ian Grosse is Director of the NSF Center for e-Design and the Realization of Engineered Products and Systems. His research is focused on finite element modeling and analysis of biomechanical systems; interoperability, reusability, and adaptability of engineering tools, methods, and models; ontologies for engineering knowledge modeling, management, and sharing; integration of engineering design and analysis. His honors include: 2012 Elected ASME Fellow; 2003 ASME Computers and Information in Engineering Conference Best Paper award, 1993 Outstanding Teaching Award, College of Engineering, University of Massachusetts; 1990 ASME International Computers in Engineering Conference Best Paper Award

Farhad Ameri is head of the Engineering Informatics (INFONEER) research group at Texas State University. received his doctoral degree in Manufacturing Engineering from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor in 2006 and served as a Postdoctoral Scholar at Clemson University from 2007 to 2008. He is currently an Associate Professor of Manufacturing Engineering and Technology in the Department of Engineering Technology at Texas State University. His research is focused on: Sustainable Smart Manufacturing, Product Closed Loop Lifecycle Management, Ontology Engineering, and Design Theory and Methodology.

Dimitris Kiritsis leads the research group on ICT for Sustainable Manufacturing at EPFL in Lausanne. His research interests are Closed Loop Lifecycle Management, IoT and Semantic Technologies for Engineering Applications and Data Analytics for Engineering Applications. Prof. Kiritsis is actively involved in EU research programs in the area of Factories of the Future and Enabling ICT for Sustainable Manufacturing. He is Chair of IFIP WG5.7 – Advanced Production Management Systems and member of the Advisory Group of the European Council on Leadership on Enabling Industrial Technologies – AG LEIT-NMBP. He is also Fellow of the International Society for Engineering Asset Management (ISEAM) and member of the European Factories of the Future Research Association (EFFRA).

Paul Witherell is a Mechanical Engineer in the Systems Integration Division of the Engineering Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). He leads a project on Systems Integration for Additive Manufacturing and serves as the Associate Program Manager of the Measurement Science for Additive Manufacturing program in the Engineering Laboratory. His research interests include Informatics for Additive Manufacturing, Design Optimization, Knowledge Representation in Product Development, and Ontology and Semantic Relatedness for Design and Manufacturing.