Applications of Description Logics: State of the Art and Research Challenges

  • Ian Horrocks
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3596)


Description Logics (DLs) are a family of class based knowledge representation formalisms characterised by the use of various constructors to build complex classes from simpler ones, and by an emphasis on the provision of sound, complete and (empirically) tractable reasoning services. They have a range of applications, but are mostly widely known as the basis for ontology languages such as OWL. The increasing use of DL based ontologies in areas such as e-Science and the Semantic Web is, however, already stretching the capabilities of existing DL systems, and brings with it a range of challenges for future research.


Description Logic Ontology Language Role Hierarchy Reasoning Service Tableau Algorithm 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    McGuinness, D.L., Wright, J.R.: An industrial strength description logic-based configuration platform. IEEE Intelligent Systems, 69–77 (1998)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Calvanese, D., De Giacomo, G., Lenzerini, M., Nardi, D., Rosati, R.: Description logic framework for information integration. In: Proc. of the 6th Int. Conf. on Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (KR 1998), pp. 2–13 (1998)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Calvanese, D., De Giacomo, G., Lenzerini, M.: On the decidability of query containment under constraints. In: Proc. of the 17th ACM SIGACT SIGMOD SIGART Symp. on Principles of Database Systems (PODS 1998), pp. 149–158 (1998)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Horrocks, I., Tessaris, S., Sattler, U., Tobies, S.: How to decide query containment under constraints using a description logic. In: Proc. of the 7th Int. Workshop on Knowledge Representation meets Databases (KRDB 2000), CEUR (2000),
  5. 5.
    Horrocks, I., Patel-Schneider, P.F., van Harmelen, F.: From SHIQ and RDF to OWL: The making of a web ontology language. J. of Web Semantics 1, 7–26 (2003)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Knublauch, H., Fergerson, R., Noy, N., Musen, M.: The protégé OWL plugin: An open development environment for semantic web applications. In: McIlraith, S.A., Plexousakis, D., van Harmelen, F. (eds.) ISWC 2004. LNCS, vol. 3298, pp. 229–243. Springer, Heidelberg (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Liebig, T., Noppens, O.: Ontotrack: Combining browsing and editing with reasoning and explaining for OWL Lite ontologies. In: McIlraith, S.A., Plexousakis, D., van Harmelen, F. (eds.) ISWC 2004. LNCS, vol. 3298, pp. 244–258. Springer, Heidelberg (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Rector, A.L., Nowlan, W.A., Glowinski, A.: Goals for concept representation in the galen project. In: Proc. of the 17th Annual Symposium on Computer Applications in Medical Care (SCAMC 1993), Washington, DC, USA, pp. 414–418 (1993)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Visser, U., Stuckenschmidt, H., Schuster, G., Vögele, T.: Ontologies for geographic information processing. Computers in Geosciences (to appear)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Oberle, D., Sabou, M., Richards, D.: An ontology for semantic middleware: extending daml-s beyond web-services. In: Proceedings of ODBASE 2003 (2003)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Wroe, C., Goble, C.A., Roberts, A., Greenwood, M.: A suite of DAML+OIL ontologies to describe bioinformatics web services and data. Int. J. of Cooperative Information Systems (2003); Special Issue on BioinformaticsGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Berners-Lee, T., Hendler, J., Lassila, O.: The semantic Web. Scientific American 284, 34–43 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    The DAML Services Coalition: DAML-S: Web service description for the semantic web. In: Proc. of the 2003 International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2003). LNCS, vol. 2870. Springer, Heidelberg (2003)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Uschold, M., King, M., Moralee, S., Zorgios, Y.: The enterprise ontology. Knowledge Engineering Review 13 (1998)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Stevens, R., Goble, C., Horrocks, I., Bechhofer, S.: Building a bioinformatics ontology using OIL. IEEE Transactions on Information Technology in Biomedicine 6, 135–141 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Rector, A., Horrocks, I.: Experience building a large, re-usable medical ontology using a description logic with transitivity and concept inclusions. In: Proceedings of theWorkshop on Ontological Engineering, AAAI Spring Symposium (AAAI 1997). AAAI Press, Menlo Park (1997)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Spackman, K.: Managing clinical terminology hierarchies using algorithmic calculation of subsumption: Experience with SNOMED-RT. J. of the Amer. Med. Informatics Ass. (2000); Fall Symposium Special IssueGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Emmen, A.: The grid needs ontologies—onto-what (2002),
  19. 19.
    Tuecke, S., Czajkowski, K., Foster, I., Frey, J., Graham, S., Kesselman, C., Vanderbilt, P.: Grid service specification (draft). GWD-I draft, GGF Open Grid Services Infrastructure Working Group (2002),
  20. 20.
    Foster, I., Kesselman, C., Nick, J., Tuecke, S.: The physiology of the grid: An open grid services architecture for distributed systems integration (2002),
  21. 21.
    Horrocks, I., Sattler, U., Tobies, S.: Practical reasoning for expressive description logics. In: Ganzinger, H., McAllester, D., Voronkov, A. (eds.) LPAR 1999. LNCS, vol. 1705, pp. 161–180. Springer, Heidelberg (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Baader, F., Calvanese, D., McGuinness, D., Nardi, D., Patel-Schneider, P.F. (eds.): The Description Logic Handbook: Theory, Implementation and Applications. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2003)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Blackburn, P., Seligman, J.: Hybrid languages. J. of Logic, Language and Information 4, 251–272 (1995)zbMATHCrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Baader, F., Hanschke, P.: A schema for integrating concrete domains into concept languages. In: Proc. of the 12th Int. Joint Conf. on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI 1991), pp. 452–457 (1991)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Donini, F.M., Lenzerini, M., Nardi, D., Nutt, W.: The complexity of concept languages. Information and Computation 134, 1–58 (1997)zbMATHCrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Horrocks, I., Sattler, U.: Ontology reasoning in the SHOQ(D) description logic. In: Proc. of the 17th Int. Joint Conf. on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI 2001), pp. 199–204 (2001)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Horrocks, I.: The FaCT system. In: de Swart, H. (ed.) TABLEAUX 1998. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 1397, pp. 307–312. Springer, Heidelberg (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Patel-Schneider, P.F.: DLP system description. In: Proc. of the 1998 Description Logic Workshop (DL 1998), CEUR Electronic Workshop Proceedings, pp. 87–89 (1998),
  29. 29.
    Haarslev, V., Möller, R.: RACER system description. In: Goré, R.P., Leitsch, A., Nipkow, T. (eds.) IJCAR 2001. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 2083, pp. 701–705. Springer, Heidelberg (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Pan, J.Z.: Description Logics: Reasoning Support for the Semantic Web. PhD thesis, University of Manchester (2004)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Horrocks, I., Sattler, U., Tobies, S.: Practical reasoning for very expressive description logics. J. of the Interest Group in Pure and Applied Logic 8, 239–264 (2000)zbMATHMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Baader, F., Franconi, E., Hollunder, B., Nebel, B., Profitlich, H.J.: An empirical analysis of optimization techniques for terminological representation systems or: Making KRIS get a move on. Applied Artificial Intelligence. Special Issue on Knowledge Base Management 4, 109–132 (1994)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Bresciani, P., Franconi, E., Tessaris, S.: Implementing and testing expressive description logics: Preliminary report. In: Proc. of the 1995 Description Logic Workshop (DL 1995), pp. 131–139 (1995)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Horrocks, I.: Using an expressive description logic: FaCT or fiction? In: Proc. of the 6th Int. Conf. on Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (KR 1998), pp. 636–647 (1998)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Patel-Schneider, P.F.: DLP. In: Proc. of the 1999 Description Logic Workshop (DL 1999), CEUR Electronic Workshop Proceedings, pp. 9–13 (1999),
  36. 36.
    Horrocks, I., Patel-Schneider, P.F.: Optimizing description logic subsumption. J. of Logic and Computation 9, 267–293 (1999)zbMATHCrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Horrocks, I., Tobies, S.: Reasoning with axioms: Theory and practice. In: Proc. of the 7th Int. Conf. on Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (KR 2000), pp. 285–296 (2000)Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Baker, A.B.: Intelligent Backtracking on Constraint Satisfaction Problems: Experimental and Theoretical Results. PhD thesis, University of Oregon (1995)Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Oppacher, F., Suen, E.: HARP: A tableau-based theorem prover. J. of Automated Reasoning 4, 69–100 (1988)CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Wroe, C., Stevens, R., Goble, C.A., Ashburner, M.: A methodology to migrate the Gene Ontology to a description logic environment using DAML+OIL. In: Proc. of the 8th Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing (PSB) (2003)Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Rogers, J.E., Roberts, A., Solomon, W.D., van der Haring, E., Wroe, C.J., Zanstra, P.E., Rector, A.L.: GALEN ten years on: Tasks and supporting tools. In: Proc. of MEDINFO 2001, pp. 256–260 (2001)Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Rector, A.: Analysis of propagation along transitive roles: Formalisation of the galen experience with medical ontologies. In: Proc. of DL 2002, CEUR (2002),
  43. 43.
    Schulz, S., Hahn, U.: Parts, locations, and holes - formal reasoning about anatomical structures. In: Quaglini, S., Barahona, P., Andreassen, S. (eds.) AIME 2001. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 2101, p. 293. Springer, Heidelberg (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Horrocks, I., Li, L., Turi, D., Bechhofer, S.: The instance store: DL reasoning with large numbers of individuals. In: Proc. of the 2004 Description Logic Workshop (DL 2004), pp. 31–40 (2004)Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Horrocks, I., Sattler, U.: Decidability of SHIQ with complex role inclusion axioms. Artificial Intelligence 160, 79–104 (2004)zbMATHCrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Lutz, C., Areces, C., Horrocks, I., Sattler, U.: Keys, nominals, and concrete domains. J. of Artificial Intelligence Research (2004) (to appear)Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Wolter, F., Zakharyaschev, M.: Temporalizing description logics. In: Gabbay, D., de Rijke, M. (eds.) Frontiers of Combining Systems II, pp. 379–401. Studies Press/Wiley (2000)Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Pan, J.Z., Horrocks, I.: Extending Datatype Support in Web Ontology Reasoning. In: Meersman, R., Tari, Z., et al. (eds.) ODBASE 2002. LNCS, vol. 2519, pp. 1067–1081. Springer, Heidelberg (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Horrocks, I., Patel-Schneider, P.F., Boley, H., Tabet, S., Grosof, B., Dean, M.: SWRL: A semantic web rule language combining owl and ruleml. W3C Member Submission (2004), Available at:
  50. 50.
    Tsarkov, D., Riazanov, A., Bechhofer, S., Horrocks, I.: Using Vampire to reason with OWL. In: McIlraith, S.A., Plexousakis, D., van Harmelen, F. (eds.) ISWC 2004. LNCS, vol. 3298, pp. 471–485. Springer, Heidelberg (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Haarslev, V., Möller, R.: High performance reasoning with very large knowledge bases: A practical case study. In: Proc. of the 17th Int. Joint Conf. on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI 2001), pp. 161–168 (2001)Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Horrocks, I., Sattler, U., Tobies, S.: Reasoning with individuals for the description logic SHIQ. In: McAllester, D. (ed.) CADE 2000. LNCS, vol. 1831, pp. 482–496. Springer, Heidelberg (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Hustadt, U., Motik, B., Sattler, U.: Reducing SHIQ-description logic to disjunctive datalog programs. In: Proc. of the 9th Int. Conf. on Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (KR 2004), pp. 152–162 (2004)Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Motik, B., Sattler, U., Studer, R.: Query answering for OWL-DL with rules. In: McIlraith, S.A., Plexousakis, D., van Harmelen, F. (eds.) ISWC 2004. LNCS, vol. 3298, pp. 549–563. Springer, Heidelberg (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Schlobach, S., Cornet, R.: Explanation of terminological reason-ing: A preliminary report. In: Proc. of the 2003 Description Logic Workshop, DL 2003 (2003)Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    McGuinness, D.L.: Explaining Reasoning in Description Logics. PhD thesis, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (1996)Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Borgida, A., Franconi, E., Horrocks, I.: Explaining ALC subsumption. In: Proc. of the 14th Eur. Conf. on Artificial Intelligence, ECAI 2000 (2000)Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Baader, F., Küsters, R., Borgida, A., McGuinness, D.L.: Matching in description logics. J. of Logic and Computation 9, 411–447 (1999)zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Brandt, S., Turhan, A.Y.: Using non-standard inferences in description logics — what does it buy me? In: Proc. of KI-2001Workshop on Applications of Description Logics (KIDLWS 2001). CEUR, vol. 44 (2001),
  60. 60.
    Küsters, R.: Non-Standard Inferences in Description Logics. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 2100. Springer, Heidelberg (2001)zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Brandt, S., Küsters, R., Turhan, A.Y.: Approximation and difference in description logics. In: Proc. of the 8th Int. Conf. on Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (KR 2002), pp. 203–214 (2002)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Horrocks
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Computer ScienceUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

Personalised recommendations