Ontologies: What Are They, and Where's The Research?
A panel held at
KR'96, the Fifth
International Conference on Principles of Knowledge Representation and
November 5, 1996
in Cambridge, Massachusetts
In recent years, the AI community has been evolving a notion of
ontologies as artifacts that play significant roles in knowledge representation
and reasoning (KR&R). The objective of this panel was to contribute to
that evolutionary process and to promote a greater degree of consideration of
ontology-related research in the KR&R community.
The panel focused on the following two questions:
We adopted the premise that it would be worthwhile for the KR&R community
to converge on a formal definition of what it means by an "ontology". We were
particularly interested in precisely relating ontologies to symbol-level
artifacts and to the roles they play in KR&R so that ontologies can be
distinguished from arbitrary knowledge bases, the formal properties of
ontologies can be studied, reasoning methods specifically for ontologies can be
developed, effective tools for building and maintaining ontologies can be
- What is a definition of "ontology" that is both precise and useful for AI?
- What are the primary research issues involved in enabling the effective
creation and use of ontologies?
The panel consisted of:
Professor (Research), Computer Science
Knowledge Systems Laboratory
Professor, Industrial Engineering
Enterprise Integration Laboratory
University of Toronto
Research Scientist, Institute for Systems Science and Biomedical Engineering
Italian National Research Council
Director, Architecture Laboratory
National Semiconductor Corporation
The following are the slides from the panel presentations:
The following are the position statements included in the conference
- What's an Ontology?
- Where's the Research?