Explanation in Web Ontologies

Project description

Ontologies are used in bio-health, e-science, and Semantic Web applications to capture the meaning of terms. With the advent of the W3C's description-logic-based Web Ontology Language OWL, more ontologies are being created and used than ever before. Designing ontologies is a non-trivial task that requires sophisticated tool and service support. One of the most important services for logic based ontologies is the explanation of entailments (or non-entailments). That is, a user needs to understand why a reasoner claims that some fact follows from the ontology. Explanation has a been a rich area of research (the 2012 BCS Distinguish Dissertation award went to a Manchester PhD student studying explanation) and of practical application.

The aim of this PhD project is to advance our knowledge and use of explanation for ontology engineering. Specific topics including: optimising the computation of explanations, the investigation or invention of new forms of explanation, novel applications of explanations, and understanding the cognitive complexity of explanations.

Requirements: knowledge of (or willingness to learn about) first order and description logic, logic-based knowledge representation, ontologies; standard software development skills.

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