August 9/10, 2003

Workshop on
Ontologies and Distributed Systems

From the early 1990s, there has been a fruitful series of over a dozen workshops, symposia and conferences on the emerging field concerned with the development and application of ontologies. Early workshops were focused in large part on identifying what ontologies were, and how they might be used. As the field developed and matured, we have obtained a reasonable understanding and consensus about the nature of ontologies. The core idea is to explicitly encode a shared understanding of some domain that can be agreed among different parties (be they people or computers). This shared understanding is the ontology - it is an explicit representation comprising a vocabulary of terms, each with a definition specifying its meaning. All parties commit to using these terms in accordance to their definitions.

Meanwhile, the benefits of using ontologies have been recognized in many areas such as knowledge and content management, electronic commerce and recently the emerging filed of the semantic web. These new applications can be seen as a great success of research in ontologies. On the other hand, moving into real application comes with new challenges that need to be addressed on a principled level rather than for specific applications. The main purpose of this workshop is two-fold:

  1. identify and discuss these new challenges as well as ways towards solutions in terms of stable infrastructure, advanced methods and professional tools.

  2. discuss unconventional new ideas to cope with the new challenges that arise in distributed and weakly structured environments

  3. The workshop should be seen as an opportunity for comparing and discussing traditional and new methods for capturing, describing and using semantics descriptions of certain domains and to try to bridge gaps between the two where-ever necessary.

    Fundamental Issues

    One part of the workshop will be devoted to fundamental issues of ontological research.As such it will not be devoted to a specific application area, but will rather address more fundamental questions like:

    • What is the language of choice when building an ontology for a specific purpose ?
    • What kind of reasoning services are needed to support the development and use of ontologies ?
    • How can we ensure the quality of ontologies using formal methods reuse of standard models and engineering methodologies ?
    • What kind of tools are demanded by users and how do they have to be designed to be applied in real life ?

    In order to answer these kinds of questions, we ask for contributions that address fundamental issues concerning ontology infrastructure, methods and tools. The topics of interests include but are not limited to the ones listed below:

    Ontology and Infrastructure Methods Tools
    • Formal Ontology
    • Upper-level ontologies
    • Architecture
    • Methodologies
    • Standards
    • Libraries
    • Evaluation
    • Visualization
    • Querying
    • Merging and Mapping
    • Transformation
    • Management
    • Environments
    • Editors
    • Browsers
    • Storages
    • Query Engines
    • Reasoners

    Advanced Issues

    The second part of the workshop is devoted to less well explored topics that have come into focus recently as a response to the new problems we face when trying to use ontologies in a heterogeneous distributed environments. These environments include the use of ontologies in peer-to-peer and multi-agent systems as well as the semantic web. A couple of additional questions arise with respect to these environments, such as:

    • Can we automatically generate ontologies from information and data structures ?
    • How can we mediate between different viewpoints and contexts encoded in different ontologies ?
    • How can we build Systems of independent agents that are able to cooperate by negotiating different viewpoint and ontologies ?

    In general this second part of the workshop asks for new methods needed to handle ontologies under new circumstances and for changes in the way we use ontologies in general. The topics of interest include but are not limited to:

    Ontology Evolution Ontology Coordination Ontologies and Agent Systems
    • Refinement
    • Update
    • Revision
    • Versioning
    • Compatibility
    • semantics of coordination
    • the role of context
    • linguistic/structural matching
    • applications
    • cooordination vs integration
    • Architectures
    • Platforms
    • Protocols
    • Standards
    • Ontology-based Communication

    Beyond contributions to the mentioned topics we strongly encourage work that tries to bridge the gap between traditional methods and techniques of building, and using ontologies and new approaches that have been developed in response of new challenges.

    Submission Instructions

    To be announced

    Note: Participants are expected to register for the main IJCAI conference in addition to the workshop.

    Important Dates and Deadlines

    • Deadline for the submission of papers: Month day, year. March 7th, 2003
    • Notification of acceptance/rejection: March 21st, 2003
    • Deadline for the receipt of camera-ready papers: May 23rd, 2003.

    Organizing Committee

    Fausto Giunchiglia
    Department of Information and Communication Technology
    University of Trento
    38050 Povo di Trento, ITALY

    Asuncion Gomez-Perez
    Facultad de Informatica
    Universidad Politecnica de Madrid
    Campus de Montegancedo, sn Boadilla del Monte, 28660, Spain

    Adam Pease
    1810 Embarcadero Rd, Palo Alto, CA, 94303, USA

    Heiner Stuckenschmidt (Chair)
    Artificial Intelligence Department
    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
    De Boelelaan 1081a, 1081 HV Amsterdam, NL

    York Sure
    Institut AIFB
    Universität Karlsruhe (TH)
    D-76128 Karlsruhe, Germany

    Steven Willmott
    Languages and Systems Department
    Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
    Barcelona, Spain

    Tentative Program Committee

    • Troels Andreasen
    • Paolo Bouquet
    • Joost Breuker
    • Stephen Cranefield
    • Ian Dickinson
    • Rose Dieng
    • Jerome Euzenat
    • Martin Frank
    • Fausto Giunchiglia
    • Asuncion Gomez-Perez
    • Nicola Guarino
    • Siegfried Handschuh
    • Frank van Harmelen
    • Vipul Kashyap
    • Michel Klein
    • Alexander Maedche
    • Eduardo Mena
    • Natasha Noy
    • Leo Obrst
    • Dan O'Leary
    • Borys Omelayenko
    • Adam Pease
    • Alun Preece
    • Guus Schreiber
    • Luciano Serafini
    • Steffen Staab
    • Heiner Stuckenschmidt
    • Gerd Stumme
    • York Sure
    • Valentina Tamma
    • Ingo Timm
    • Mike Uschold
    • Ubbo Visser
    • Steve Willmot