Advanced Computer Science: Advanced Web Technologies [MSc]

Ontology Engineering for the Semantic Web

Unit code: COMP62342
Credit Rating: 15
Unit level: Level 6
Teaching period(s): Semester 1
Offered by School of Computer Science
Available as a free choice unit?: Y



Additional Requirements


A knowledge of basic logic; Java programming


The unit will provide students with a theoretical and practical understanding of leading edge solutions for the Semantic Web. It will introduce students to the W3C standard Web Ontology Language, OWL, and its underlying Description Logics. It will provide students with experience using a set of established patterns for developing OWL ontologies and help them to learn to avoid the major pitfalls in using OWL. It will give them an opportunity to become familiar with a widely used environment for developing and an API for applying OWL ontologies, and making use of reasoning services accessible via both.


Ontologies provide rich, expressive vocabularies of terms describing a domain (e.g. medicine, astronomy, music etc.) They are key to development of the next generation of the Web, support a number of activities such as information exchange, data integration and search. This unit will provide an introduction to OWL, a standardised language for the representation of ontologies. It will cover the syntax and semantics of the language; authoring ontologies (including the use of standard design patterns); the use of reasoning and the use of ontologies in applications.

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and workshops

1 day per week (5 weeks)

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes are detailed on the COMP60421 course unit syllabus page on the School of Computer Science's website for current students.

Employability skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Innovation/creativity
  • Problem solving
  • Research

Assessment methods

  • Written exam - 50%
  • Written assignment (inc essay) - 50%



  • Introduction to Knowledge Representation and the Semantic Web
  • Introduction to the Web Ontology Language OWL
  • Description logics and classifiers
  • Description Logics Syntax, Semantics, and reasoning problems
  • Methods for developing and evaluating ontologies.
  • Common problems and patterns in ontology development
  • Application development using the OWL API

Lab work

  • Introduction to Protege and OWL including advanced tutorial
  • Special problems of representation and reasoning in OWL
  • Practical individual development project using Java
  • Critique/comment on implemented ontologies on the Web

Recommended reading

COMP60421 reading list can be found on the School of Computer Science website for current students.

Feedback methods

* In-class tests and questionnaires to support students in monitoring their understanding.
* Weekly assignments via Blackboard.
* Weekly practical lab sessions with demonstrator assistance.

Study hours

  • Assessment written exam - 2 hours
  • Lectures - 20 hours
  • Practical classes & workshops - 15 hours
  • Independent study hours - 113 hours

Teaching staff

Sean Bechhofer - Unit coordinator

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