The 2nd UK Ontology Network Workshop

The 2nd UK Ontology Network Workshop took place in the Informatics Forum of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland last Thursday, April 11th, 2013. It was a one-day event that included 2 sessions of short 5-minute presentations, software and technology demos and an hour of group networking among all participants. The workshop was hosted by Fiona McNeill and Alan Bundy (the School of Informatics , University of Edinburgh). The theme of the meeting was to understand how ontology development and application are being used to address problems in the UK, with a particular focus on creating and using open data. The 70 or so participants represented a diverse range of backgrounds bringing together the academic research community with people from industry, government and public organisations.

The 5-minute presentations covered a wide range of disciplines and a number of theoretical and practical topics related to ontology development and linked data publishing, including knowledge representation and reasoning, web science, politics, history, physical sciences, medical research, linguistics, and others. Some of the presentation slides are available on the website (see link above).

There were four afternoon demo sessions. Yuan Ren (University of Aberdeen) presented a new reasoner called Trowl, that can be used as a plugin for the open source ontology editor Protégé. The main advantage over other reasoners packaged with Protégé is the speed of calculations which in the demonstrations improved very significantly.

Peter Murray-Rust (Open Knowledge Foundation) presented AMI2 and Chemical Tagger. AMI2 is a content-mining software tool that reads PDF files and converts their contents to XHTML. Chemical Tagger is open source tool which uses natural language processing to tag and parse experimental sections in chemistry literature.

Enrico Motta presented Rexplore, a comprehensive tool for understanding dynamics of research areas, including analysing main trends, new topics, and significant shifts in research. It allows the user to compare and rank authors according to a number of criteria. For example it is possible to compare authors' career histories in terms of research interests and evaluate them for similarity.

The networking group I joined focused on the practical issues and considerations of the ontology development. One of the main concerns discussed at length was when and how to reuse existing ontologies and when is it appropriate to define custom data structures.