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University of Edinburgh

Dynamic Ontology Repair

Project Description

Dynamic ontology repair is a method for facilitating successful communication between agents with disparate ontologies, even where the mismatches between these ontologies may initially lead to communication failure. When an agent experiences communication failure with another agent, it can call our Ontology Repair System (ORS), which will diagnose the particular ontological mismatch between its ontology and the ontology of the other agent that caused the communication problem, and repair the ontology of that agent appropriately. The interaction can then be attempted again, and will this time either be successful or will reveal further mismatches that need to be repaired.

Such abilities are extremely important in large scale systems such as the Semantic Web or the Grid, where huge numbers of users with different aims, locations and backgrounds need to be able to interact and communicate easily and automatically in areas where their interests overlap. The success of such systems depends on them being easy to join and to use. Enforcing tight constraints on potential users is unreasonable; insisting on all agents using identical ontologies will mean that users must laboriously translate their entire ontologies into the required format, and may have to sacrifice a representation that was more suited to their aims. However, communication between agents with mismatched ontologies is extremely difficult. The ability to repair specific parts of ontologies during runtime, and only where necessary, is thus an important aspect of all such systems.

This project investigates this problem in a planning context, where agents are forming plans to achieve goals based on their ontologies, and these plans are sometime inexecutable due to ontological mismatches with other agents. Communication failure is indicated by plan steps failing to be successfully executed, and the repairs can be seen to be efficacious when these plan steps become executable.

Projects based on ORS

There have been several smaller projects looking at extending ORS.

  • Andriana Gkaniatsou: Developing a Negotiation Protocol for ORS. MSc, 2011
  • This project is concerned with extending the negotiation potential introduced in Agnieszka's project and introducing an extended negotiation protocol to allow more sophisticated interaction between agents using ORS.
  • Punyanuch Borwarnginn: Ontology Versioning. MSc, 2011
  • This project is concerned with capturing information about different versions of ontologies in bridging rules, so that several different versions are available to an agent simultaneously.
  • Agnieszka Bomersbach: Negotiating Mismatches. UG, 2010-2011
  • This project is concerned with enabling agents to protect parts of their ontology so that it cannot be changed by ORS, allowing a planning agent to negotiate with other agents on that basis as to which of them should alter their ontologies, and to what extent.
  • Theodosia Togia: Automated Ontology Evolution: Semantic Matching. MSc, 2010
  • This project was concerned with building semantic matching, that is, dealing with word mismatch (i.e., car/auto) where there is not structural mismatch into ORS. This work is based on simulating Frege's theory of grounding by using folksonomies to give meaning to terms in ontologies.
  • Ken Hu: Experience Sharing with the Ontology Repair System . MSc, 2010
  • This project was concerned with building a repository for repair information, so agents could access the experience of other agents, either to speed up their own repairs or to provide crucial information when they do not have enough information to diagnose a mismatch themselves.
  • Morike Akinsola: Automated Ontology Evolution. MSc, 2008
  • One aspect of this project was concerned with analysing mismatch information in the SUMO repository to determine what percentage of these mismatches ORS could correctly diagnose and repair. The second aspect of this project was concerned with extending ORS to diagnose and repair further mismatches, particularly those related to class mismatch.


    The following people are currently working on ORS, or on work related to ORS:

    The following people have worked on ORS in the past:

    MASWS lecture

    Running ORS

    For access to current ORS code, please contact [f.j.mcneill _AT_]. We have developed several ontologies which can be run on ORS and which demonstrate its diagnostic abilities. These ontologies, and the results we obtained from them, can be found here.

    Selected Publications

    Theodosia Togia, Fiona McNeill and Alan Bundy
    Harnessing the power of folksonomies for formal ontology matching on the fly
    in Proceedings of the ISWC workshop on Ontology Matching, November 2010 [pdf] [bibtex]

    Fiona McNeill and Alan Bundy
    Facilitating virtual interaction through flexible representation
    Encyclopedia of E-Business Development and Management in the Global Economy, IGI Global, 2010 [pdf] [bibtex]

    Fiona McNeill and Alan Bundy
    Dynamic, automatic, first-order ontology repair by diagnosis of failed plan execution
    IJSWIS (International Journal on Semantic Web and Information Systems) special issue on Ontology Matching, Volume 3, pages 1-35, 2007 [pdf] [bibtex]

    Alan Bundy and Fiona McNeill
    Representation as a Fluent: An AI Challenge for the Next Half Century IEEE Intelligent Systems, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 85-87, May/Jun, 2006 [pdf] [bibtex]

    Alan Bundy, Fiona McNeill and Chris Walton
    On Repairing Reasoning Reversals via Representational Refinements
    Proceedings of FLAIRS 2006 (The Florida AI Research Society Conference) [pdf] [bibtex]

    Fiona McNeill, Harry Halpin, Ewan Klein, and Alan Bundy
    Merging Stories with Shallow Semantics
    Knowledge Representation and Reasoning for Language Processing Workshop at the European Association for Computational Linguistics (EACL) conference (KRAQ 2006), Genoa, Italy. [pdf] [bibtex]

    Fiona McNeill, Alan Bundy and Chris Walton
    Planning from rich ontologies through translation between representations
    Proceeings of the ICAPS Workshop on The role of ontologies on planning and scheduling, Monterey, CA, June 2005 [pdf] [bibtex]

    Fiona McNeill, Alan Bundy and Chris Walton
    Diagnosing and Repairing Ontological Mismatches
    Starting AI Researchers' Symposium, Valencia, July 2004 [pdf] [bibtex]

    Fiona McNeill, Alan Bundy and Chris Walton
    An Automatic Translator from KIF to PDDL
    Presented at Planning Special Interest Group, Cork, December 2004 [pdf] [bibtex]

    Fiona McNeill, Alan Bundy and Chris Walton
    Facilitating Agent Communication through Detecting, Diagnosing and Refining Ontological Mismatch
    Proceedings of the KR2004 Doctoral Consortium, AAAI Technical Report, 2004 [pdf] [bibtex]

    Fiona McNeill
    Dynamic Ontology Refinement
    PhD Thesis, 2006 [pdf] [bibtex]
    Fiona McNeill
    On the Use of Dependency Tracking in Theorem Proving
    MSc Thesis, 2000 [pdf] [bibtex]


    This work is currently being funded by ONR. ORS was originally developed during a PhD project funded by EPSRC.

    Webpage maintained by Fiona McNeill