Ontolog Forum

Launch Session - Thu 2016-02-11

Session Co-chairs: Donna Fritzsche & Michael Grüninger (IAOA; U of Toronto)


The necessity for systems to interoperate has become crucial to the conduct of business and operations in organizations. In practice, however, interoperability is difficult to achieve, since each of these applications utilizes information in a different way, and the knowledge representation formalisms inherent to these applications are also different. In particular, existing approaches to interoperability lack an adequate specification of the semantics of the terminology used by the systems, which leads to inconsistent interpretations and uses of knowledge.

The mission statement for the first Ontology Summit (Upper Ontologies, March 2006) noted that agreement on upper level ontologies would facilitate semantic interoperability (SI) among other ontologies. In turn, the benefit would be "to enable a large degree of compatibility and interoperabiity for the many projects developing knowledge bases that include the most common mid-level concepts".

Ontologies and related reasoning systems (both terms used in the broadest sense) are key to the facilitation of semantic integration and interoperability. How do we define the frameworks which support this interoperability? What is required to achieve optimal performance across applications and domains? What have we learned in the last 10 years? How do we frame the conversation when discussing the role of ontologies with various stakeholders?

As part of Ontology Summit 2016, we seek to explore, identify and articulate how ontologies and ontological methods can facilitate semantic interoperability. We solicit input and anticipate that summit presenters and participants will help identify the methods, tools and architectures which utilize or might utilize ontologies to facilitate semantic interoperability. Practical considerations will be brought to the forefront, but philosophical and theoretical questions will be addressed as they arise.

During the course of these talks, speakers will address the methodologies, successes and challenges of semantic interoperability within the areas of

  • Healthcare
  • Earth Sciences
  • Engineering and manufacturing
  • Finance and Retail

We will

  • explore the techniques that people are using to achieve semantic integration and interoperability;
  • articulate the framework that supports semantic integration and interoperability;
  • identify the role that ontologies play in these frameworks;
  • abstract a set of discussion points to better characterize this role.

We will draw from learnings gleaned in past summits and extend our knowledge based on domain-specific talks and summit attendee active participation As part of our discussion, we intend to examine, question and extend past summit findings including but not limited to Communiqués addressing:

  • The Role of Upper Ontologies (2006),
  • Ontology-based Standards (2009),
  • Ontology Evaluation across the Ontology Lifecycle (2013)
  • The Internet of Things: Toward Smart Networked Systems and Societies (2015)

As part of Ontolog’s general advocacy to bring ontology science and engineering into the mainstream, we endeavor to abstract a conversational toolkit from the sessions that may facilitate discussion and knowledge sharing amongst stakeholders of various SI ecosystems and architectures. Our findings will be supported with examples from the various domains of interest. The results will be captured in the form of a 2016 Summit Communiqué, with expanded supporting material provided on the web.


Conference Call Details

  • Date: Thursday, 11-Feb-2016
  • Start Time: 9:30am PST / 12:30pm EST / 6:30pm CEST / 5:30pm BST / 1630 UTC
  • Expected Call Duration: ~1.5 hours
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  • This session, like all other Ontolog events, is open to the public. Information relating to this session is shared on this wiki page.
  • Please note that this session may be recorded, and if so, the audio archive is expected to be made available as open content, along with the proceedings of the call to our community membership and the public at-large under our prevailing open IPR policy.



[12:24] KenBaclawski: I will be starting the conference bridge.

[12:28] Gary Berg-Cross: Donna's intro slides at

[12:28] Gary Berg-Cross: Mine and Ken's are at

[12:29] Gary Berg-Cross: Ram and Leo's at

[12:32] Gary Berg-Cross: Meeting page is

[12:36] MugeSevinc: Hi, I am Muge Sevinc, I am at a noisy place, cannot talk, am just listening. I am a computational linguist.

[12:36] MichaelGruninger: hi Michael here

[12:36] MugeSevinc: thank you

[12:40] Mark Underwood: Welcome back, Ravi

[12:50] RaviSharma: Mark thanks, I will be back from India in the US in March.

[12:52] RaviSharma: John, looking forward to listening to you next week, regards

[12:52] John Sowa: Formatting comment: PDF is more convenient for slides than PPT or PPTX.

[12:54] MikeBennett: It's not obvious but on the agenda page, the link with the names of the speakers links to the PDF version of the slides (not the namesake page), and the link after that gives .PPTX as an alternative.

[13:01] RaviSharma: Gary - FIBO or XBRL is then at syntactic or semantic levels?

[13:02] John Sowa: Questions I always ask: How can legacy systems interoperate with the new systems? What is the migration path? Is interoperability possible without rewriting everything?

[13:04] Donna Fritzsche: John - good question - and its always a challenge. Hopefully we can address it further in our sessions.

[13:04] FrankOlken: What are the dates of the Onotology Summit Face-to-Face meeting? location?

[13:05] Gary Berg-Cross: Ravi "FIBO or XBRL is then at syntactic or semantic levels?" I guess it is at least at the semantic levl but Mike Bennett can better respond.

[13:05] RaviSharma: John - yes, and to add also - as to the effort and returns from interoperability vs updates?

[13:06] MikeBennett: FIBO is at the semantic level. We will explore this in the Finance track. XBRL has semantics grounded in accounting rather than formal logic, and is at the report level.

[13:06] ToddSchneider: Frank, 9 - 10 May at NSF in Arlington, VA

[13:06] FrankOlken: Todd, Thanks.

[13:07] Gary Berg-Cross: @John These indeed are very practical questions and partly a function of how the ontologies have been crafted and integrated into the architecture. SOme like brokers may argue for being reusable infrastructure for some small changes.

[13:08] MikeBennett: Is anyone else not getting the slides for Healthcare? I get some kind of message about style information / access denied.

[13:09] LeoObrst: Ram: can you provide a link to the document you mentioned?

[13:09] Gary Berg-Cross: @RAm can you put a link to the document when you get a chance?

[13:10] Gary Berg-Cross: @Ram it is slide 5 Inserting Semantics into Service Architectures...

[13:10] RaviSharma: Leo - I have trouble downloading your pdf and ppt?

[13:11] KenBaclawski: It is working now. Two people were updating the page at the same time, and the URLs were modified.

[13:13] John Sowa: Another formatting comment: The wide screen format was designed for movies. The 4x3 aspect ration is better for text.

[13:17] Ram D. Sriram: @Gary: If you google ONC A Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap you get the PDF version of the file

[13:17] Donna Fritzsche: precoordination and postcordination are common terms in the IA/Library Sciences world. It will be good to bring some cross-discpline terminology to this community (where/if it did not exist)

[13:18] Ram D. Sriram: FHIR ( may be used as a service broker for semantic interoperability

[13:18] Gary Berg-Cross: @Ravi OK thanks that seems to be

[13:20] Mark Underwood: Referenced George Ball (Raytheon) publication:

[13:21] Mark Underwood: If This Then That cloud service:

[13:21] LeoObrst: Mark/Ken: we need a placeholder in today's agenda for Mark Underwood's contribution, on the conference page.

[13:22] Mark Underwood: Trade pub reference to the API-first design pattern:

[13:24] KenBaclawski: @LeoObrst I added it.

[13:28] LeoObrst: @KenBaclawski: Thanks!

[13:30] RaviSharma: Gary - thanks, it worked but I get the whole document

[13:30] Donna Fritzsche: do we have someone from

[13:30] MichaelGruninger:

[13:31] MikeBennett: I expect we can get someone from the ecosystem - there's an active FIBO initiative in that space, I need to ask the people I'm contact with, whether there is an interoperability angle they can bring out for this.

[13:31] Donna Fritzsche: view community input pages / please add info, mission, vision, goals, ideas - all are welcome to contribute. A dynamic tool for collecting insights!

[13:32] Donna Fritzsche: great mike

[13:33] Ram D. Sriram: @Judith: Peter Lyster from NITRD (who is Keith's deputy) has agreed to open the meeting and describe NITRD activities.

[13:34] Donna Fritzsche: HI Judith - can participants send you ideas for panels/speakers/problem sets?

[13:36] Mark Underwood: @Leo - thx for placeholder update

[13:44] Mark Underwood: Todd "gutter" lol

[13:44] Donna Fritzsche: Cross boundaries - for semantic interoperability - View from an Ecosystems POV (paraphrasing Todd S)

[13:46] RaviSharma: Todd - yes great, there could be the even vocabularies are often partially shared among related practitioners e.g. clinical and pharma

[13:46] Donna Fritzsche: speakers point - proliferation of languages is not necessarily the solution

[13:47] Donna Fritzsche: (sorry John, I did not realize that was you speaking)

[13:48] Donna Fritzsche: everyone - I am trying to capture discussion points - please jump in and correct my paraphrasing if you wish!

[13:49] MichaelGruninger: Mark: can you please say a few words about publicity?

[13:50] LeoObrst: There is also the OntoIOp effort and the Distributed Ontology Language. See:

[13:50] Donna Fritzsche: Live tweeting will take place and we are using creative commons for IP concerns

[13:51] John Sowa: I have another meeting, so I have to sign off.

[13:51] Donna Fritzsche: Thanks John!

[13:53] Mark Underwood: Mark agrees to handle the "slick" web page

[13:53] MikeBennett: Is there a main wiki page for Ontology Summit 2016? The Ontology Summit page on the wiki lists up to 2015.

[13:53] KenBaclawski: @MikeBennet - Yes, see

[13:54] LeoObrst: Thanks, all.

[13:55] Donna Fritzsche: Thank you and hope to see you next week.

Audio Recording

Session Audio Recording