A reusable ontology for computer-aided process engineering

  • Eine Ontologie für computergestütze Anwendungen in der Verfahrenstechnik

Morbach, Jan

Aachen (2009)

In: Verfahrenstechnik

Zugl.: Aachen, Techn. Hochsch., Diss., 2009


This thesis presents OntoCAPE, a reusable ontology for different applications in the domain of computer-aided process engineering (CAPE). In the context of this work, ontologies are primarily seen as an effective means to build knowledge-based software. Such software, which is also referred to as ‘intelligent systems’ or ‘expert systems’, comprises two basic software components: (i) the knowledge base, which contains both general knowledge and concrete facts about the case under consideration, and (ii) the inference engine, which processes the knowledge and facts stored in the knowledge base and infers a solution for the case at hand. Typically, the construction of a knowledge base is difficult and time-consuming. However, it can be greatly facilitated by reusing an existing ontology: An ontology represents general knowledge in a structured form such that it can be reused and shared across different software applications. Domain ontologies, in particular, aim at capturing the knowledge of an entire application domain. By extending and refining an ontology, a knowledge base for a particular application can be created. OntoCAPE is a formal ontology for the CAPE domain; it has the dual objectives of being both usable and reusable. These two objectives are in a natural conflict: Usability implies specialization to a particular task, whereas reusability requires generality in order to be applicable in different contexts. Consequently, it is difficult to simultaneously achieve high degrees of usability and reusability. Thanks to its well thought-out design, OntoCAPE provides a reasonable balance between these competing goals.