Results of the Industry-Research co-operation on Language Extensions

Chosen Use Case: Brain Anatomy
KW Partners: U of Manchester, U of Bolzano
IB Member: France Telecom, U of Rennes

The main output of this Industry-Research co-operation is a concrete proposal for a more expressive ontology language, OWL 1.1, which incorporates requirements from typically complex medical use cases and critical mass for standardization has been achieved. All major reasoners and several editors have implemented support for OWL 1.1. OWL 1.1 has many industrial supporters, including HP, Oracle, Boeing, Siemens, Science Commons and NASA.
Continuing adoption of semantic web languages in industry is evidenced by the active W3C Semantic Web Health Care and Life Sciences Interest Group. In particular, the Ontology Task Force has collected use cases to guide its work.
More about these proposals can be found at:
OWL 1.1


Achievement of consensus with major industrial partners is a strong demonstration of the applicability of the proposals to industrial requirements. Work on bridges to other communities, such as the recently-developed mapping between Open Biological Ontologies format and OWL 1.1, could provide great value in the future.
Semantic web query languages are making progress towards expressive languages such as OWL. It is expected that (RDF) semantic query languages based on SPARQL might achieve industrial uptake in 2 years.


There are many applications very dependant on OWL 1.1. For example, the Brain Anatomy use case is greatly aided by more expressive languages (e.g. a precentral gyrus is bounded by exactly one precentral sulcus, but can also be bounded by other things...).
OWL 1.1 is industry ready, however more industry experience is needed before large medical systems are widely deployed using the technology. There are commercial (RacerPro), open source/free (Protégé, FaCT, Pellet) and research prototype tools (IformiT). Tutorials are given on OWL regularly e.g. at the annual OWL-ED workshop

Christine Golbreich, Web rules for Health Care and Life Sciences: use cases and requirements. In Proceedings of the Reasoning on the Web workshop, World Wide Web Conference 2006 (WWW2006), Edinburgh, Scotland, June 2006.
Christine Golbreich, Olivier Bierlaire, Olivier Dameron, Bernard Gibaud, Use Case: Ontology with Rules for identifying brain anatomical structures. W3C Workshop on Rule Languages for Interoperability, Washington, D.C., USA, April 2005.
Christine Golbreich, Olivier Dameron, Olivier Bierlaire, Bernard Gibaud, What reasoning support for Ontology and Rules? the brain anatomy case study. Proceedings of OWL-ED workshop at the International Semantic Web Conference 2005 (ISWC2005), Galway, Ireland, November 2005.

For more information about this Industry-Research co-operation please contact Dr Lyndon Nixon, Knowledge Web Industry Area co-manager