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The Logical Difference and Module Extraction Problems for Acyclic Terminologies

  • Speaker:   Dr  Boris Konev  (University of Liverpool)
  • Host:   Uli Sattler
  • 27th February 2008 at 14:15 in Lecture Theatre 1.4, Kilburn Building
In computer science, ontologies and terminologies are used to provide a common vocabulary (signature) for a domain of interest together with a logical theory defining the meaning of terms built from the vocabulary and relationships between them. Current applications are leading to the development of very large terminologies, an important example is the Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine, Clinical Terms (SNOMED), which comprises about 0.5 million terms and underlies the systematized medical terminology used in the health systems of the US, the UK, and other countries.

This terminology is currently under vivid development and one can see big changes over a period of a year, even syntactically. However, the real difference between terminology versions can only be noticed on the semantic level. Therefore, the two following problems are particularly interesting from a practical point of view:

- The logical diff problem: given a signature Sigma (set of concept names and relations) and two versions T and T' of a terminology, check whether T and T' are logically different in the sense that they do not imply the same dependencies between Sigma-terms.

- The module extraction problem: given a terminology T and a signature Sigma, extract from T a minimal self-contained terminology T' such that T and T' imply the same dependencies between Sigma-terms.

We present tractable algorithms for both problems and demonstrate experimental results obtained with the prototype implementations CEX and MEX.
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