We believe that the next generation of ontology-based information systems (ISs) should be based on a synthesis and an extension of ontology and database systems and techniques, providing data handling capabilities similar to current relational database management systems, but with schemas that are rich, flexible, and tightly integrated with the data. In order to achieve this ambitions goal, however, a number of challenging fundamental problems must be solved.
First, ontology and dependency languages need to be unified in a coherent theoretical framework.
Second, it will be necessary to identify fragments of the framework that are likely to exhibit robust scalability but can still support realistic use cases.
Third, it will be necessary to devise effective algorithmic techniques that can form the basis of practical ISs.
Prof Michael Zakharyaschev is PI at Birkbeck, Dr Roman Kontchakov is researcher-co-investigator, Dr Stanislav Kikot is research fellow on the project.
Prof Ian Horrocks is PI at Oxford, with Prof Georg Gottlob, Prof Michael Benedikt, Dr Boris Motik and Dr Thomas Lukasiewicz co-investigators.