Ontology Modularization (In co-operation with the University of Amsterdam)


Possible supervisor: Heiner Stuckenschmidt


Project description

Currently, research in the area of the semantic web is in a state where ontologies are ready to be applied in real applications such as semantic web portals, information retrieval or information integration. In order to lower the effort of building ontology-based applications, there is a clear need for a representational and computational infrastructure in terms of general purpose tools for building, storing and accessing ontologies. Most of these tools, however, treat ontologies as monolithic entities which leads to problems with respect to complexity and scalability.

Modularization is a well known concept for managing complexity in many areas of computer science. Methods and guidelines for partitioning complex representations into smaller, interconnected parts have for example been developed for computer programs, databases and computer networks. On a more general level, researchers have developed sophisticated algorithms for partitioning graphs and trees structures according to certain coherence criteria. Besides these mainly structure-based approaches, foundational ontologies provide us with some basic semantic distinctions (e.g. Entities vs. Events) that can provide some hints towards a meaningful grouping of concepts.

The question to be addressed in this thesis is two fold. First of all, it should be investigated, if existing methods for partitioning graphs and trees can be applied to ontologies and provide meaningful results. Further, it should be investigated, whether the additional use of foundational ontologies can improve the result of structural methods.

Candidates should have knowledge in programming with JAVA or PROLOG. Experience with using semantic web languages, especially the Web Ontology language are useful.