Workshop at AI&Design'94 on Shared Ontologies

Tom Gruber <gruber@HPP.Stanford.EDU>
Date: Thu, 5 May 1994 18:25:25 -0700 (PDT)
From: Tom Gruber <gruber@HPP.Stanford.EDU>
Reply-To: gruber@HPP.Stanford.EDU
Subject: Workshop at AI&Design'94 on Shared Ontologies
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                       to be held prior to the 
     Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, Switzerland
                          15-18 August 1994


Design processes in general involve multiple participants from several
disciplines and with different goals. As a consequence, a large number
of different views on the required design product can be
distinguished. Apart from syntactical differences due to the
particular representational schemes employed for describing the design
product, each of these views will bring along its own interpretation
of the design object at hand.
   The problem of combining different representations, in terms of
syntax and computational semantics, has already been extensively
investigated in the domain of software engineering. Typical examples
of established software engineering techniques for this purpose are
parsing, filtering, and compiling. Less emphasis has been put on
coping with different meanings or possible interpretations of the
information (data and knowledge) represented. This distinction can be
summarised as that between the computational aspects of information
and the description of the concepts that this information refers to,
   Within AI, there seems to be a growing awareness of the importance of
dealing with differences in the conceptual bases underlying the
representation of information. For instance, several research groups
are currently working on the development of so-called sharable
ontologies: taxonomies of concepts, the `meaning' of which the users
of the information have agreed upon. Most people seem to agree that
communication about a problem requires some form of understanding of
each others conceptualisation of that problem. However, there seems to
be less agreement concerning the means for establishing this

Goals and Scope of the Workshop

In the workshop, we would like to inventory existing ontologies and
conceptual models for design in the context of sharability. Typical
questions would be: what are important sources for a shared conceptual
basis (e.g. design standards, social conventions, and legacy systems),
and: how do we guarantee that conceptualisations can be shared between
different design agents. The goal of the workshop is to improve the
semantic basis required for the development of software systems that
allow for communication and sharing among engineering knowledge and
data bases used by different members of a design team. Expected
outcomes include an inventory of existing approaches to and
recommendations for obtaining such a semantic basis.

Workshop Format 

The workshop will run over half a day prior to the main AI in Design
conference. Accepted papers will be distributed prior to the workshop
with a set of discussion topics. A selection will be made among the
accepted papers, the authors of which will be asked to present a
(very) concise summary of their views, concentrating on the discussion
topics. These presentations are intended as ``stepping stones'' for
extensive discussion, rather than at given a detailed account of the
specific approach taken.

Guidelines for Submissions

Research-summary or position papers (in ascii or postscript, 8
pages max.) should be submitted by email to Mert Alberts,, no later than the 2nd June 1994. Submitted
papers must clearly state the suggested approach to the problem of
interfacing different conceptual models of a design product, and focus
around one of the following topics:

- conceptual models of design
- ontologies for design knowledge
- combining different ontologies
- multiple views on design products
- sharable representations of design objects and design knowledge

Number of Participants

There will be 20-25 participants.  Admission, as determined 
by a selected panel, will be based upon the expediency of the submitted 
position papers and limited to attendees of the AI in Design conference.  

Each participant will be charged a fee of SFr 75 to cover costs of 
workshop notes, administration and refreshments.


Organising Committee:

 Mert Alberts
 University of Twente
 The Netherlands

 Tom Gruber
 Stanford University

 Mary-Lou Maher
 University of Sydney

International Advisory Committee:

 Bernd Bachmann, DFKI, Germany
 James Bowen, National University at Cork, Ireland
 Cherif Branki, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK
 Susan Finger, Carnegy Mellon University, USA
 Mike Rosenman, University of Sydney, Australia
 Duvvuru Sriram, MIT, USA
 Chris Tong, Rutgers University, USA
 Nel Wognum, University of Twente, The Netherlands