This volume contains papers presented at the 8th edition of the Formal Ontology in Information Systems conference, FOIS 2014, held September 22–25, 2014, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For the first time in its history the conference hosted a special track Ontology Competition whose aim was to encourage ontology authors to make their ontologies publicly available and to subject them to evaluation according to a set of predetermined criteria. In addition, the conference hosted five more specialised workshops, namely: the Workshop on Modular Ontologies, the Joint Workshop Onto.Com/ODISE on Ontologies in Conceptual Modeling and Information Systems Engineering, the Workshop on Logics and Ontologies for Natural Language, the Information Artifact Ontologies Workshop, as well as the Workshop on Formal Ontologies Meet Industry. Moreover, the conference included an Early Career Symposium, giving starting researchers the opportunity to present their work and engage with senior scientists in their field as well as to meet and discuss their work with each other in a 'PhD Lounge'.
We received 81 submissions to the main track of the conference, 15 submissions to the ontology competition, and 19 submissions to the Early Career Symposium, coming from 29 countries and marking a record number of submissions for the FOIS conference series. Based on the reviews we received from the programme committee we accepted 24 full papers (29,6% of submissions) and six short papers for the main track. The ontology competition track included eight papers—four of which were simultaneously accepted as full papers in the main track. Finally, the Early Career Symposium accepted ten of the submitted proposals for presentation as posters and lightning talks in a dedicated session of the conference.
We briefly summarise the content of this volume in the following:
1. Main Track
As it usually happens at FOIS conferencesthe variety of topics, methods, results, formalisms, etc. one can find in the papers is astonishing. In order to find some unity in this variety we grouped the main track papers into four broad categories and organised them in respective chapters of the proceedings as follows:
• Processes, Agency, and Dispositions
• Methods and Tools
Regarding applications of ontologies, also a broad spectrum of areas is covered, including in particular biology and medicine, engineering, and economy.
M. Grüninger, T. Hahmann, M. Katsumi and C. Chui, in their A Sideways Look at Upper Ontologies, present a new perspective on upper-level ontologies that does not interpret them as isolated representations but considers them as embedded in the context of collections of formal theories. An upper-level ontology is seen as a cross-section of generic concepts formally characterised by the theories in these collections. Logical Operators for Ontological Modeling, by S. Borgo, D. Porello and N. Troquard, puts forward the idea that formal logic can offer more to applied ontology than just first-order based languages. They show how some basic operators of linear logic can be used to provide a homogeneous reconstruction of three notions of artefact. The next two papers focus on the notion of void and its role in foundational ontology, in particular as applied to the domain of geology. In the paper entitled Interdependence among material objects and voids, T. Hahmann, B. Brodaric and M. Grüninger axiomatically characterise a type of dependence in which material endurants and immaterial voids participate and participants share their matter or voids they occupy. This type of dependence exhibits three main cases: two material endurants sharing matter, two voids (and their hosts) overlapping, or a void and a part of its host being in strong contact. In the paper titled Voids and material constitution across physical granularities, T. Hahmann and B. Brodaric define two types of constitution relation between physical objects and the matter they are made of: within and between granularity levels. M. Haemmerli and A. Varzi, in Adding Convexity to Mereotopology, show how to extend mereotopology with the operator line segment between points so that one can define the standard convexity predicate and the convex hull operator. The account depends on the availability of boundary elements in the domain of quantification, including mereotopological points. The last full paper in this group, A First-order Formalization of Event, Object, Process and Role in YAMATO, by S. Borgo and R. Mizoguchi, develops a first-order axiomatisation of a fragment of the upper level ontology YAMATO. The fragment under consideration includes such categories as events, objects, time instants and intervals, and relations such as causal contribution, enacting, participation, and constitution. The Foundations group includes also one short paper. States, Events, and Truth-makers, by C. Masolo and A. Botti Benevides, provides a formal theory of states as completely specified truth-makers.
Processes, Agency, and Dispositions
This chapter contains papers on processes, agency, and dispositions, and opens with a foundational article on the relation of participation – Mathematical Foundations for Participation Ontologies by C. Chui and M. Grüninger. They present three existing formalisations of the notion of participation, namely as found in PSL, DOLCE, and a set of OWL axioms provided by A. Gangemi, and verify them with respect to two new classes of structures: incidence bundles and incidence foliations. The next paper in this group,
A formal theory for conceptualizing artefacts and tool manipulations, by N. Troquard, details a “pre-ontology” of artefacts and their manipulations: design, implementation, existence, use, and persistence. The logical background of this formal theory is defined by the logic of bringing-it-about.
Next, we have two papers on the Business Process Modelling Notation BPMN. The first paper, An ontology for the Business Process Modelling Notation, by M. Rospocher, C. Ghidini and L. Serafini, presents a formal description of the Business Process Modelling Notation in the language of OWL DL. As the authors note in the introduction “[...] the BPMN Ontology provides an ontological formalization of BPMN as a graphical language, that is, it describes all the elements of the language and how they can be used to compose BPMN diagrams. It is not intended to provide an ontological analysis of these entities in a foundational fashion”. The second, a short paper, Events and Activities: Is there an Ontology behind BPMN?, by E. Sanfilippo, S. Borgo and C. Masolo, can be seen as a complementary effort since it provides an in-depth ontological analysis of BPMN events and activities.
In addition, this group contains two papers that focus on the notion of disposition. A. Barton, R. Rovetto and R. Mizoguchi, in Newtonian Forces and Causation: A Dispositional Account, show how different kinds of forces (i.e., gravitational, electromagnetic and contact forces) can be formalised as dispositions. A force is seen here as a disposition of a given object that depends on the field exerting the force and on the accelerated motion of the object. The second paper, Resilience as a Disposition, by D. Daniel, aligns the notion of resilience to the Basic Formal Ontology description of disposition.
Finally, D. Porello, E. Bottazzi and R. Ferrario, in their The Ontology of Group Agency, formalise the notion of group agency developed by Ch. List and Ph. Pettit within the framework of the foundational ontology DOLCE. One of the specific characteristics of this approach is a multiplicative view of group agents, where a group agent is different from the aggregate of individuals that grounds it.
Methods and Tools
This chapter assembles papers related to various methods and tools in use in ontology development. The first paper, Aspect-Oriented Ontologies: Dynamic Modularization Using Ontological Metamodeling, by R. Schäfermeier and A. Paschke, studies how the paradigm of aspect-oriented programming may inspire a new approach to modularisation in applied ontology. In particular, the authors illustrate how the problem of recombination of modules can be solved using second-order logic under Henkin semantics, thereby reducing the problem to first-order logic. B. Bennett and C. Cialone, in their paper entitled Corpus Guided Sense Cluster Analysis: a methodology for ontology development (with examples from the spatial domain), develop the notion of a sense cluster as a cornerstone for a methodology of corpus guided analysis for gathering information about the range and frequency of senses associated with a lexical term. The analysis combines two types of investigation: (a) logic-based semantic analysis, and (b) corpus-based statistical analysis of the actual use of terminology. The paper Applying the Realism-Based Ontology-Versioning Method for Tracking Changes in the Basic Formal Ontology, by S. Seppälä, B. Smith and W. Ceusters, extends the realism-based ontology versioning strategy ‘Evolutionary Terminology Auditing’. In particular, the paper shows how this strategy can be deployed to track changes between different versions of the BFO ontology, namely BFO 1.0, BFO 1.1, and BFO 2.0.
This chapter also contains two short papers. The Unique Predication of Knowledge Elements and their Visualization and Factorization in Ontology, by Hermann Bense, proposes the notation of Ontological Graphs (OG) to visualise a number of types of model structures: data models, semantic networks, taxonomies, etc. The second short paper, Crowdsourcing Ontology Content and Curation: The Massive Ontology Interface, written by S. Sarjant, C. Legg, M. Stannett and D. Willcock, presents a web portal to support ontology crowd-sourcing.
Biology and Medicine. The first subcategory of Applications is all about biology and medicine. Within the context of the Component Library ontology, V. Chaudhri, N. Dinesh and S. Heymans define, in their paper Conceptual Models of Energy Transfer and Regulation, a number of concepts related to energy transfer and regulation. They show how their ontological representations can be used as components of the question-answer module of an ‘intelligent’ textbook. The next paper in this group, An Ontology-based Taxonomic Key for Afrotropical Bees, by A. Gerbera, C. Eardley, and N. Morar, demonstrates that morphological key data can be captured in a standardised format as an ontology. The ontology, as well as the key web-based application, form the basis of a suite of tools to support the taxonomic process in this domain. S. Schulz, C. Martínez Costa, D. Karlsson, R. Cornet, M. Brochhausen and A. Rector discuss, in An Ontological Analysis of Reference in Health Record Statements, five different formal representations of electronic health records, three using OWL-DL, one using OWL Full, and one using a query language. The different representations are evaluated against the computed entailments they provide and the ontological commitments they involve. ContoExam: an ontology on context-aware examinations, by P. Brandt, T. Basten and S. Stuijk, deals with the problem of semantic interoperability of sensor data. ContoExam is proposed as a solution to this problem – it is an applied ontology providing means for comparability and context-dependence of sensor data.
Engineering. The second subcategory in the group of application-focused papers concerns engineering, in particular software engineering. Towards an Ontology of Software: a Requirements Engineering Perspective, by X. Wang, N. Guarino, G. Guizzardi and J. Mylopoulos, is an ontological analysis of four types of software artefacts: programs, software systems, software products, and licensed software products. The authors argue that these types may be differentiated by means of different identity criteria and the essential properties of their instantiations. The second paper in this subcategory – An Ontological Analysis of the ISO/IEC 24744 Metamodel – concerns the ISO/IEC 24744 standard and the SEMDM metamodel defined therein. Its authors, F. B. Ruy, R. A. Falbo, M. P. Barcellos and G. Guizzardi, provide an ontological analysis of this model using the Unified Foundational Ontology. Finally, An Ontological Interpretation of Non-Functional Requirements, by R. Guizzardi, F.-L. Li, A. Borgida, G. Guizzardi, J. Horkoff and J. Mylopoulos, interprets the notion of non-functional requirements in terms of qualities as defined in the Unified Foundational Ontology. This interpretation gives way for the development of an ontology-based syntax to specify non-functional requirements. The paper An Ontological Core for Conformance Checking in the Engineering Life-cycle, by A. Jordan, M. Selway, W. Mayer, G. Grossmann and M. Stumptner, develops formalisations of the notion of artefact (in particular of information artefact), of artefactual roles and functions, and of notions related to the engineering life-cycle.
Economy. The third subcategory of application-focused papers concerns economy. N. Antonioli, F. Castanò, S. Coletta, S. Grossi, G. Stefano, D. Lembo, M. Lenzerini, A. Poggi, E. Virardi and P. Castracane, in their Ontology-based Data Management for the
Italian Public Debt, present the OBDM (ontology-based data management) Project. The key idea behind this project is to deploy a three-level architecture: (i) the ontology, (ii) the data sources, and (iii) the mappings between the two. The ontology is a formal description of the domain of interest, specified in terms of formal descriptions of concepts, binary relations between concepts, and attributes. The other two contributions in this group are short papers. J. Dietz, D. Aveiro, J. Pombinho and J. Hoogervorst, in An Ontology for the τ-theory of Enterprise Engineering, present the τ-theory ontology whose aim is to support enterprise engineering by clarifying a number of foundational concepts in this domain, such as: system, model, subject, object, function, purpose and value. The paper Unit of Organizational Learning Ontology based on LOM Standard and IMS Learning Design, by A. Menolli, H. S. Pinto, S. Reinehr and A. Malucelli, develops the ‘Unit of Organizational Learning Ontology’, which is based on instructional design and integrates distinct learning standards.
2. Ontology Competition
FOIS papers often refer to ontologies which are not publicly available, or to ontologies whose relations to other ontologies are not clearly specified. The aims of the FOIS 2014 ontology competition were: (1) to encourage ontology authors to make their ontologies publicly available and (2) to subject them to evaluation according to a set of pre-determined criteria. These criteria were identified at the Ontology Summit 2013 and comprise both informal criteria (intelligibility, fidelity, craftsmanship, fitness and deployability), as well as logically formalisable criteria (consistency, intended logical consequences, satisfaction by intended models, alignments with other ontologies, links to versions written in different languages).
From 15 submissions of ontologies (accompanied by explanatory papers), eight were selected by the FOIS Competition PC for presentation at the conference. Four of the submissions were simultaneously selected as FOIS technical papers, while the other four papers are included as dedicated competition short papers. The papers that entered the competition were:
1. C. Chui and M. Grüninger. Mathematical Foundations for Participation Ontologies
2. M. Rospocher, C. Ghidini and L. Serafini. An ontology for the Business Process Modelling Notation
3. P. Brandt, T. Basten and S. Stuijk. ContoExam: an ontology on context-aware examinations
4. N. Antonioli, F. Castanò, S. Coletta, G. Stefano, D. Lembo, M. Lenzerini, A. Poggi, E. Virardi and P. Castracane. Ontology-based Data Management for the Italian Public Debt
5. A. Barton, A. Rosier, A. Burgun and J.-F. Ethier. The Cardiovascular Disease Ontology
6. V. Chaudhri, D. Elenius, S. Hinojoza, and M. Wessel. KB Bio 101: Content and Challenges
7. M. Rospocher. An ontology for personalized environmental decision support
8. T. Breitsprecher, M. Codescu, C. Jucovschi, M. Kohlhase, L. Schröder and S. Wartzack. Towards Ontological Support for Principle Solutions for Mechanical Engineering
The first four papers can be found among the main track chapters as mentioned above, and the remaining four short papers are assembled in the last chapter of this volume. The ontologies themselves can be accessed at ontohub.org/ fois-ontology-competition. We thank all the submitters and all the referees for their valuable work and hope that the Ontology Competition will become an integral part of FOIS.
Winners of the FOIS competition as well as the FOIS best paper award were announced during the conference. Awards and runners-up can be found at iaoa.org/fois/.
In this edition of the conference, we have received the support of several organisations. Firstly, we would like to express our gratitude to FGV (Fundação Getúlio Vargas – portal.fgv.br), which was a patron for the entire realisation of the conference, offering precious support in terms of infrastructure, location and administrative personnel. We are also immensely grateful to our Platinum Sponsors: the Brazilian National Research Council (CNPq – cnpq.br), the Research Funding Agency of the State of Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ – www.faperj.br), and by the partnership COPPETEC Foundation (www.coppetec.coppe.ufrj.br) and EMC Corporation Brazil (brazil.emc.com). We are also thankful to our Gold sponsors: the NIC.BR (Center for Information and Coordination of the Brazilian Internet – www.nic.br) and the CGI.Br (the Brazilian Internet Management Council – www.cgi.br). Furthermore, we are thankful to our Silver sponsor, the multichannel cable and TV service Globosat (globosat.globo.com). FOIS 2014 was organized under the auspices of our scientific promoter association, the International Association for Ontologies and its Applications (IAOA – iaoa.org). We also thank IAOA for financing grants that enabled the participation of a number of students in this edition of FOIS.
Last but not least, we would like to thank our four invited speakers, Nicholas Asher, Kit Fine, Nicola Guarino, and Clarisse Sieckenius de Souza, for delivering keynotes at the conference.