Constructing and Extending Description Logic Ontologies using Methods of Formal Concept Analysis

Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral thesis



Description Logic (abbrv. DL) belongs to the field of knowledge representation and reasoning. DL researchers have developed a large family of logic-based languages, so-called description logics (abbrv. DLs). These logics allow their users to explicitly represent knowledge as ontologies, which are finite sets of (human- and machine-readable) axioms, and provide them with automated inference services to derive implicit knowledge. The landscape of decidability and computational complexity of common reasoning tasks for various description logics has been explored in large parts: there is always a trade-off between expressibility and reasoning costs. It is therefore not surprising that DLs are nowadays applied in a large variety of domains: agriculture, astronomy, biology, defense, education, energy management, geography, geoscience, medicine, oceanography, and oil and gas. Furthermore, the most notable success of DLs is that these constitute the logical underpinning of the Web Ontology Language (abbrv. OWL) in the Semantic Web.

Formal Concept Analysis (abbrv. FCA) is a subfield of lattice theory that allows to analyze data-sets that can be represented as formal contexts. Put simply, such a formal context binds a set of objects to a set of attributes by specifying which objects have which attributes. There are two major techniques that can be applied in various ways for purposes of conceptual clustering, data mining, machine learning, knowledge management, knowledge visualization, etc. On the one hand, it is possible to describe the hierarchical structure of such a data-set in form of a formal concept lattice. On the other hand, the theory of implications (dependencies between attributes) valid in a given formal context can be axiomatized in a sound and complete manner by the so-called canonical base, which furthermore contains a minimal number of implications w.r.t. the properties of soundness and completeness.

In spite of the different notions used in FCA and in DLs, there has been a very fruitful interaction between these two research areas. My thesis continues this line of research and, more specifically, I will describe how methods from FCA can be used to support the automatic construction and extension of DL ontologies from data.


Original languageEnglish
Qualification levelDr.-Ing.
Awarding Institution
Defense Date (Date of certificate)22 Oct 2019
Place of PublicationDresden, Germany
Publication statusPublished - 2019
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