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The goal of the National Center for Ontological Research is to advance ontological investigation within the United States. NCOR serves as a vehicle to coordinate, to enhance, to publicize, and to seek funding for ontological research activities. It lays a special focus on ontology training and on the establishment of tools and measures for quality assurance of ontologies. NCOR provides ontology services to multiple organizations, including the US Department of Defense.


See here

For past events see here

For Buffalo Toronto Ontology Alliance (BoaT) see [1]


DOD, Intelligence Community adopt resource developed by UB ontologists, Bert Gambini, UBNow, February 29, 2024.

U.S. Defense and Intelligence to Adopt BFO and CCO Standards for Enhanced Data Management,Shivani Chauhan, 28 Feb 2024.

Article on BFO in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, September 28, 2022, p. N3. Translation of opening paragraph:

Industry standards are not usually associated with philosophy or the humanities. That is why the new ISO/IEC 21838 standard conceals a minor scientific-historical sensation. Because for the first time, a philosophical theory has now been declared an industry standard, namely: the "Basic Formal Ontology", BFO for short. When you try to pronounce this acronym, it sounds a lot like "Buffalo," and that's no coincidence. Because Barry Smith, the main brain behind this norm, is the Julian Park Professor of Philosophy at the University of Buffalo in northern New York State, not far from Niagara Falls ...
For full text see here.

Interview with Barry Smith on Careers in Ontology, September 15, 2022

Interviews and podcasts on ''Why Machines Will Never Rule the World''

New book on limits of AI published, August 12, 2022.

Machines ruling the world? Impossible, say researchers

This will totally blow your mind

UB professor’s ontology work recognized in an international standard, April 29, 2022.

Press release on launch of Industrial Ontologies Foundry, February 19, 2021.

Video recording of talk by Barry Smith on "Defining Intelligence", February 17, 2021

Press-release launching the new Industrial Ontologies Foundry, February 19, 2021

NCOR-Brasil established, December 1, 2020

Using Ontology as Powerful Weapon in COVID-19 Fight, July 14, 2020

Leveraging a powerful weapon in the fight against COVID-19 — ontology, June 10, 2020

UB workshop to address human and machine capabilities, April 20, 2018

Working group seeks to extend the depth and functionality of biomedical ontologies, October 14, 2017

Barry Smith wins 2016 IAOA Ontology Competition, August 18, 2016

Doctoral Candidate Invited to Work on United Nations Project, January 4, 2016

Advantages of the Financial Report Ontology in Accounting Research, February 23, 2013

UB Ontologists Win Bioinformatics Integration Award to Support National Institutes of Health

Announcing Clinical and Translational Science Ontology Affinity Group

Information Overload in the Era of Big Data

Botanists building ontologies to cope with information overload

UB Applied Informatics Portal unveiled.


Ontology 101

Online Courses

Barry Smith

Werner Ceusters

Defining 'Ontology'

An ontology is a representation of some part of reality, (e.g. medicine, social reality, physics, etc.). Smith states that: “Ontology is the science of what is, of the kinds and structures of objects, properties, events, processes and relations in every area of reality…Ontology seeks to provide a definitive and exhaustive classification of entities in all spheres of being.” To be an accurate representation of reality an ontology includes the types of entities and events in a given domain (along with their definitions) arranged in a hierarchical structure, along with relations (such as part-of, depends-on, caused-by, etc. where necessary). Ontologies enable the formulation of robust and shareable descriptions of a given domain by providing a common controlled vocabulary for doctrine writers, IT Developers, and war-fighters alike, thereby allowing these disparate communities to communicate with each other. An ontology should be a shared resource between communities, and its continued collaborative development should support the integration of information and facilitate knowledge discovery. These two goals are realized by ensuring wide dissemination of the ontology, so that it will be used by many stakeholders, and its terms will be correspondingly familiar and readily used for search.

Basic Formal Ontology 2.0

Basic Formal Ontology 2.0

Basic Formal Ontology 2020

BFO 2020

Buffalo Toronto Ontology Alliance (BoaT)

Why Machines Will Never Rule the World

Interviews and Podcasts

AI is cool, but will never reach human capability, Aug. 12, 2022

Blog of the American Philosophical Association: Interview with Charlie Taben, August 30, 2022. Youtube version

Systems Conversation (with Dr Oliver Gao, Director, Systems Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, September 2, 2022)

AI is here, but will it rule us?, Wirkman Comments, podcast with David Ramsey Steele (September 27, 2022). See also here.

Machines Will Never Rule Us!, LocoFoco, September 27, 2022

Will Machines Rule the World? NAS Podcast with Scott Turner, October 4, 2022

Why AI will never rule the world, Interview by Luke Dormehl on Digital Trends Philpapers

Walid Saba on Why Machines Will Never Rule the World, Machine Learning Street Talk, December 15, 2022 (review starts half way through)

Why Machines Will Never Rule the World – On AI and Faith, Conversation between Jobst Landgrebe, Barry Smith and Rev. Jamie Franklin, Irreverend, November 30, 2022

Why the Singularity Might Never Come. Interview with Richard Hanania, Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology, January 30, 2023.

Where there’s no will there’s no way, Interview with Alex Thomson, UKCommons (April 2023)

Conversation with Jobst Landgrebe and Barry Smith: Why AI won’t rule the world, The Pangburn Hangout, May 5, 2023.

AI and ChatGPT: Should we be worried? Stever Peterson, Jobst Landgrebe and Barry Smith, National Association of Scholars, May 19, 2023

Why Machines Will Never Rule the World, Jobst Landgrebe and Barry Smith, Interview with Kyle Polich, Data Sceptic, May 29, 2023

Press Items and Notices

AI is cool, but will never reach human capability, Bert Gambini, August 25, 2022

Why AI will never rule the world Interview by Luke Dormehl on Digital Trends, September 25, 2022 (Recording)

UB Lecture, September 20, 2022

L’intelligenza artificiale non dominerà il mondo, interview with Barry Smith, Il sole de 24 ore, April 27, 2024.:

The Philosophome

Philosophome Website

Philosophome Wiki

Semantics of Biodiversity

Paper: Semantics in Support of Biodiversity Knowledge Discovery (PLoS ONE, 2013)

Video Presentations from: Semantics of Biodiversity Workshop (2012)

Ontologies as a method of viewing data
Basic Formal Ontology (BFO)
How to build an ontology with BFO
Tracking referents with Instance Unique Identifiers (IUIs)
Tracking Changes in Our Understanding of Reality: Reality vs. Beliefs
Darwin Core (DwC) and Basic Formal Ontology: Putting it All Together
Building Darwin Core top-down in BFO
Organisms, photographs, media
How to re-use ontologies
Principles of singular nouns, secondary use, understandability
Writing good definitions (DwC Examples)
Management strategies
Ontologies for reuse (BFO, EnvO, IDO, OBI, Plant Ontology , Uberon, IAO)
Educational resources (OBI, Protege, BFO)

Finance and Economics

An Application of Basic Formal Ontology to the Ontology of Services and Commodities, Institute for Business Informatics, University of Koblenz, Germany July 23, 2013

Barry Smith, Reference Data Integration: A Strategy for the Future, Financial Reference Data Management Conference (FIMA), New York, March 2012

The Wernicke Ontology Principle

Wernicke is an ontology-dependent AI system used to automate recurring business processes. Wernicke is based on formal logic developed by Jobst Landgrebe and co-workers at Cognotekt. Its ontologies do not have an Aristotelian taxonomic structure, but are fully axiomatised and logically describe the syntactic structure of recurring language patterns in the Prolog-subset of first order logic. The use of terms in two or more axiomatic definitions of ontological entities creates an implicit network structure within the ontology.

Examples (in German)

1. Implication relations for verbs and verb phrases. (There are hundreds of examples of such formulae in each Wernicke ontology.)

 ((zahlung(Y) AND nachkommen(Z) AND verb(Z,X,Y)) IMPL zahlen(Z))
 ((geld(Y) AND schicken(Z) AND (verb(Z,X) OR verb(Z,X,Y1))) IMPL zahlen(Z))
 ((kosten(Y) AND tragen(Z) AND verb(Z,X,Y)) IMPL zahlen(Z))
 ((überweisungsträger(Y) AND einwerfen(Z) AND verb(Z,X,Y)) IMPL zahlen(Z))
 ((bringen(Z) AND ausgleich(A) AND zum(B) AND mod(B,A,Z) AND verb(Z,X,Y)) IMPL zahlen(Z))
 ((möglich(A) AND mod(A,Z) AND sein(Z) AND (verb(Z,X) OR verb(Z,X,Y))) IMPL möglichsein(Z))  
 ((bitten(Z) AND mod(B,A,Z) AND möglichkeit(A) AND verb(Z,X,Y)) IMPL möglichsein(Z))

2. Temporal structures

 ((übermorgen(W) AND (Y=2)) IMPL zeitabstand(W,in,Y,tagen))
 ((morgen(W) AND (Y=1)) IMPL zeitabstand(W,in,Y,tagen))
 ((heute(W) AND (Y=0)) IMPL zeitabstand(W,in,Y,tagen))
 ((gestern(W) AND (Y=1)) IMPL zeitabstand(W,vor,Y,tagen))
 ((vorgestern(W) AND (Y=2)) IMPL zeitabstand(W,vor,Y,tagen))

3. Domain pattern formulae (ontologic entities)

 past payment a: ((zahlung(X) OR geld(X)) AND rausgehen(Z) AND (I=vergangen) AND verb(Z,X) AND vergangentemp(Z))
 past payment b: ((zahlung(Y) AND tätigen(Z) AND verb(Z,X,Y) AND (I=vergangen) AND vergangentemp(Z))
 past payment c: ((sein(Z) AND (betrag(X) OR forderung(X)) AND zahlen(A) AND mod(A,Z) AND (I=vergangen)
 AND verb(Z,X) AND NOT temp_mod(Z, praet, konj2)

Information Ontology

BFO-based data and information ontologies

Military and Intelligence Ontology

Common Core Ontologies

JFCOM: Semantic Web and Joint Training (2010)

I2WD: Semantic Enhancement for DSGS-A: Distributed Development of a Shared Semantic Resource (2012-13)

I2WD: PED Fusion via Enterprise Ontology

Common Core Ontologies (preliminary statement)

Joint Doctrine Ontology

Ontology for Navy Systems Engineering

Ontology of Planning

Ontology of Planning

Ontology of Engineering

BFO-Based Engineering Ontologies

Bob Young: Towards a Reference Ontology for Manufacturing (2016)

Interoperable Manufacturing Knowledge Systems (2017)

Ontology of Engineering

Ontology for Navy Systems Engineering

Product Life Cycle Ontologies

Modeling and Simulation

Systems Engineering Bootcamp

Materials Ontology

Toshihiro Ashino and Mitsutane Fujita: Definition of a Web Ontology for Design-Oriented Material Selection (2006)

Steel Industry Ontology / .owl file
A Systematic Approach to Developing Ontologies for Manufacturing Service Modeling

Buffalo Engineering Ontology

Ontology for Clinical and Translational Science

Clinical and Translational Science Ontology Group

Infectious Disease Ontology

Immunology Ontologies

Microbiome Ontology


Improved Gene Ontology Annotation for Biofilm Formation, Filamentous Growth, and Phenotypic Switching in Candida albicans

What Biofilms Can Teach Us about Individuality

MorphoCol: An ontology-based knowledgebase for the characterisation of clinically significant bacterial colony morphologies

Designing an Ontology Tool for the Unification of Biofilms Data

Eearth Microbiome Project Ontlogy EMPO

The Human Microbiome

Functional and phylogenetic assembly of microbial communities in the human microbiome

The human microbiome, including as appendix: A microbiome glossary

Defining the Human Microbiome

MicrobiomeDB: a systems biology platform for integrating, mining and analyzing microbiome experiments

Human Microbiome Project

Parts and Wholes: The Human Microbiome, Ecological Ontology, and the Challenges of Community

Microbiomes and the external environment

The Earth Microbiome

Earth Microbiome Project Ontology:EMPO

A communal catalogue reveals Earth’s multiscale microbial diversity

MetaSUB: Metagenomics and Metadesign of Subways & Urban Biome

Tracking human sewage microbiome in a municipal wastewater treatment plant


Collective bio-molecular processes: The hidden ontology of systems biology

A review of methods and databases for metagenomic classification and assembly

Suggested Reading

Ontology: An Introduction

Coordinated Evolution of Biomedical Ontologies

Avoiding Perspective-Relative Silos

Universal Core Semantic Layer

Training Videos

Ontology for Intelligence, Defense and Security

A Repeatable Process for Ontology Development

Avoiding Semantic Stovepipes: Five Ontological Principles for Interoperability

War-Fighter Ontology

Studying Ontology in Buffalo

Areas of Study

Careers in ontology