Ontology Languages and Their Applications


To introduce logical languages used to build formal ontologies and terminologies in computer science and information systems;

To introduce logic-based methodologies for designing and maintaining ontologies;

To introduce reasoning problems and procedures in standard ontology languages such as description logics;

To study the tradeoff between expressive power and computational complexity of reasoning for ontology languages;

To study applications of ontologies in bio-informatics, metical informatics, and semantic web.


(1) Introduction to ontologies and terminologies and their applications (2 lectures);

(2) Introduction to ontology languages: Description logics, Rule-based languages, first-order logic (7 lectures);

(3) Introduction to the design and maintenance of description logics (6 lectures);

(4) Algorithms for reasoning in description logics and their applications (11 lectures);

(5) Ontologies and databases (4 lectures);

Recommended Texts

Handbook of Ontologies, Steffen Staab et al, editors, Springer, 2004

Description Logic Handbook, Franz Baader et al, editors, Cambridge University Press, 2007

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the module the student should:

1. be able to translate natural language to standard ontology languages (such as description logics) and back;

2. understand the formal semantics of standard ontology languages;

3. be able to design ontologies in standard ontology languages;

4. understand and be able to apply reasoning procedures for description logics;

5. be able to apply ontologies in computer science applications;

6. understand how reasoning is used in the design and maintenance of ontologies.

Learning Strategy

Teaching will comprise three lectures and one supervised tutorial per week. In a typical week, students are expected to devote 6 hours of unsupervised time to study. This time will typically include three hours for consideration of material from lectures and background reading, and three hours for completion of exercises.