OWL: A Description Logic Based Ontology Language

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Abstract

Description Logics (DLs) are a family of class (concept) based knowledge representation formalisms. They are characterised by the use of various constructors to build complex concepts from simpler ones, an emphasis on the decidability of key reasoning tasks, and by the provision of sound, complete and (empirically) tractable reasoning services.

Although they have a range of applications (e.g., reasoning with database schemas and queries [1,2]), DLs are perhaps best known as the basis for ontology languages such as OIL, DAML+OIL and OWL [3]. The decision to base these languages on DLs was motivated by a requirement not only that key inference problems (such as class satis.ability and subsumption) be decidable, but that “practical” decision procedures and “efficient” implemented systems also be available.