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IEEE P1600.1

Standard Upper Ontology Working Group (SUO WG)

Scope & Purpose


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Scope of Proposed Project:

(The Scope describes what is being done, including the technical boundaries of the project.)


This standard will specify an upper ontology that will enable computers to utilize it for applications such as data interoperability, information search and retrieval, automated inferencing, and natural language processing. An ontology is similar to a dictionary or glossary, but with greater detail and structure that enables computers to process its content. An ontology consists of a set of concepts, axioms, and relationships that describe a domain of interest. An upper ontology is limited to concepts that are meta, generic, abstract and philosophical, and therefore are general enough to address (at a high level) a broad range of domain areas. Concepts specific to given domains will not be included; however, this standard will provide a structure and a set of general concepts upon which domain ontologies (e.g. medical, financial, engineering, etc.) could be constructed.

Purpose of Proposed Project:

  • A. AUTOMATED REASONING: The standard will be suitable for automated logical inference    to support knowledge-based reasoning applications.
  • B. INTER-OPERABILITY: The standard will provide a basis for achieving Inter-Operability among various software and database applications.
    • 1) Application developers can define new data elements in terms of a common ontology, and thereby gain some degree of interoperability with other conformant systems.
    • 2) Applications based on domain-specific ontologies that are compliant with this standard will be able to interoperate (to some degree) by virtue of the shared common terms and definitions.
    • 3) The SUO will play the role of a neutral interchange format whereby owners of existing applications will be able to map existing data elements just once to a common ontology. This provides a degree of interoperability with other applications whose representations conform to SUO. This entails the SUO being able to be mapped to more restricted forms such as XML, database schema, or object oriented schema.
  • C: APPLICATION AREAS
    • 1) E-commerce applications from different domains that need to interoperate at both the data and semantic levels.
    • 2) Educational applications in which students learn concepts and relationships directly from, or expressed in terms of, a common ontology. This will also enable a standard record of learning to be kept.
    • 3) Natural language understanding tasks in which a knowledge-based reasoning system uses the ontology to disambiguate among likely interpretations of natural language statements.


Last updated on 2003-12-28 by Webmaster

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