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Archive for the 'Ontologies' Category

2018 Ontology Summit: Ontologies in Context

September 12th, 2017, by Tim Finin, posted in events, KR, Ontologies, Semantic Web

2018 Ontology Summit: Ontologies in Context

The OntologySummit is an annual series of online and in-person events that involves the ontology community and communities related to each year’s topic. The topic chosen for the 2018 Ontology Summit will be Ontologies in Context, which the summit describes as follows.

“In general, a context is defined to be the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed. Some examples of synonyms include circumstances, conditions, factors, state of affairs, situation, background, scene, setting, and frame of reference. There are many meanings of “context” in general, and also for ontologies in particular. The summit this year will survey these meanings and identify the research problems that must be solved so that contexts can succeed in achieving the full understanding and assessment of an ontology.”

Each year’s Summit comprises of a series of both online and face-to-face events that span about three months. These include a vigorous three-month online discourse on the theme, and online panel discussions, research activities which will culminate in a two-day face-to-face workshop and symposium.

Over the next two months, there will be a sequence of weekly online meetings to discuss, plan and develop the 2018 topic. The summit itself will start in January with weekly online sessions of invited speakers. Visit the the 2018 Ontology Summit site for more information and to see how you can participate in the planning sessions.

Dissertation: Context-Dependent Privacy and Security Management on Mobile Devices

September 10th, 2017, by Tim Finin, posted in cybersecurity, Machine Learning, Mobile Computing, Ontologies, Semantic Web

Context-Dependent Privacy and Security Management on Mobile Devices

Prajit Kumar Das, Context-Dependent Privacy and Security Management on Mobile Devices, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, September 2017.

There are ongoing security and privacy concerns regarding mobile platforms that are being used by a growing number of citizens. Security and privacy models typically used by mobile platforms use one-time permission acquisition mechanisms. However, modifying access rights after initial authorization in mobile systems is often too tedious and complicated for users. User studies show that a typical user does not understand permissions requested by applications or are too eager to use the applications to care to understand the permission implications. For example, the Brightest Flashlight application was reported to have logged precise locations and unique user identifiers, which have nothing to do with a flashlight application’s intended functionality, but more than 50 million users used a version of this application which would have forced them to allow this permission. Given the penetration of mobile devices into our lives, a fine-grained context-dependent security and privacy control approach needs to be created.

We have created Mithril as an end-to-end mobile access control framework that allows us to capture access control needs for specific users, by observing violations of known policies. The framework studies mobile application executables to better inform users of the risks associated with using certain applications. The policy capture process involves an iterative user feedback process that captures policy modifications required to mediate observed violations. Precision of policy is used to determine convergence of the policy capture process. Policy rules in the system are written using Semantic Web technologies and the Platys ontology to define a hierarchical notion of context. Policy rule antecedents are comprised of context elements derived using the Platys ontology employing a query engine, an inference mechanism and mobile sensors. We performed a user study that proves the feasibility of using our violation driven policy capture process to gather user-specific policy modifications.

We contribute to the static and dynamic study of mobile applications by defining “application behavior” as a possible way of understanding mobile applications and creating access control policies for them. Our user study also shows that unlike our behavior-based policy, a “deny by default” mechanism hampers usability of access control systems. We also show that inclusion of crowd-sourced policies leads to further reduction in user burden and need for engagement while capturing context-based access control policy. We enrich knowledge about mobile “application behavior” and expose this knowledge through the Mobipedia knowledge-base. We also extend context synthesis for semantic presence detection on mobile devices by combining Bluetooth, low energy beacons and Nearby Messaging services from Google.

Jennifer Sleeman dissertation defense: Dynamic Data Assimilation for Topic Modeling

June 27th, 2017, by Tim Finin, posted in Big data, Earth science, Machine Learning, NLP, Ontologies, Semantic Web

Ph.D. Dissertation Defense

Dynamic Data Assimilation for Topic Modeling

Jennifer Sleeman
9:00am Thursday, 29 June 2017, ITE 325b, UMBC

Understanding how a particular discipline such as climate science evolves over time has received renewed interest. By understanding this evolution, predicting the future direction of that discipline becomes more achievable. Dynamic Topic Modeling (DTM) has been applied to a number of disciplines to model topic evolution as a means to learn how a particular scientific discipline and its underlying concepts are changing. Understanding how a discipline evolves, and its internal and external influences, can be complicated by how the information retrieved over time is integrated. There are different techniques used to integrate sources of information, however, less research has been dedicated to understanding how to integrate these sources over time. The method of data assimilation is commonly used in a number of scientific disciplines to both understand and make predictions of various phenomena, using numerical models and assimilated observational data over time.

In this dissertation, I introduce a novel algorithm for scientific data assimilation, called Dynamic Data Assimilation for Topic Modeling (DDATM), which uses a new cross-domain divergence method (CDDM) and DTM. By using DDATM, observational data in the form of full-text research papers can be assimilated over time starting from an initial model. DDATM can be used as a way to integrate data from multiple sources and, due to its robustness, can exploit the assimilating observational information to better tolerate missing model information. When compared with a DTM model, the assimilated model is shown to have better performance using standard topic modeling measures, including perplexity and topic coherence. The DDATM method is suitable for prediction and results in higher likelihood for subsequent documents. DDATM is able to overcome missing information during the assimilation process when compared with a DTM model. CDDM generalizes as a method that can also bring together multiple disciplines into one cohesive model enabling the identification of related concepts and documents across disciplines and time periods. Finally, grounding the topic modeling process with an ontology improves the quality of the topics and enables a more granular understanding of concept relatedness and cross-domain influence.

The results of this dissertation are demonstrated and evaluated by applying DDATM to 30 years of reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) along with more than 150,000 documents that they cite to show the evolution of the physical basis of climate change.

Committee Members: Drs. Tim Finin (co-advisor), Milton Halem (co-advisor), Anupam Joshi, Tim Oates, Cynthia Matuszek, Mark Cane, Rafael Alonso

SemTk: The Semantics Toolkit from GE Global Research, 4/4

March 17th, 2017, by Tim Finin, posted in AI, KR, NLP, NLP, Ontologies, OWL, RDF, Semantic Web

The Semantics Toolkit

Paul Cuddihy and Justin McHugh
GE Global Research Center, Niskayuna, NY

10:00-11:00 Tuesday, 4 April 2017, ITE 346, UMBC

SemTk (Semantics Toolkit) is an open source technology stack built by GE Scientists on top of W3C Semantic Web standards.  It was originally conceived for data exploration and simplified query generation, and later expanded to a more general semantics abstraction platform. SemTk is made up of a Java API and microservices along with Javascript front ends that cover drag-and-drop query generation, path finding, data ingestion and the beginnings of stored procedure support.   In this talk we will give a tour of SemTk, discussing its architecture and direction, and demonstrate it’s features using the SPARQLGraph front-end hosted at

Paul Cuddihy is a senior computer scientist and software systems architect in AI and Learning Systems at the GE Global Research Center in Niskayuna, NY. He earned an M.S. in Computer Science from Rochester Institute of Technology. The focus of his twenty-year career at GE Research has ranged from machine learning for medical imaging equipment diagnostics, monitoring and diagnostic techniques for commercial aircraft engines, modeling techniques for monitoring seniors living independently in their own homes, to parallel execution of simulation and prediction tasks, and big data ontologies.  He is one of the creators of the open source software “Semantics Toolkit” (SemTk) which provides a simplified interface to the semantic tech stack, opening its use to a broader set of users by providing features such as drag-and-drop query generation and data ingestion.  Paul has holds over twenty U.S. patents.

Justin McHugh is computer scientist and software systems architect working in the AI and Learning Systems group at GE Global Research in Niskayuna, NY. Justin attended the State University of New York at Albany where he earned an M.S in computer science. He has worked as a systems architect and programmer for large scale reporting, before moving into the research sector. In the six years since, he has worked on complex system integration, Big Data systems and knowledge representation/querying systems. Justin is one of the architects and creators of SemTK (the Semantics Toolkit), a toolkit aimed at making the power of the semantic web stack available to programmers, automation and subject matter experts without their having to be deeply invested in the workings of the Semantic Web.

SADL: Semantic Application Design Language

March 4th, 2017, by Tim Finin, posted in KR, Ontologies, OWL, RDF, Semantic Web

SADL – Semantic Application Design Language

Dr. Andrew W. Crapo
GE Global Research

 10:00 Tuesday, 7 March 2017

The Web Ontology Language (OWL) has gained considerable acceptance over the past decade. Building on prior work in Description Logics, OWL has sufficient expressivity to be useful in many modeling applications. However, its various serializations do not seem intuitive to subject matter experts in many domains of interest to GE. Consequently, we have developed a controlled-English language and development environment that attempts to make OWL plus rules more accessible to those with knowledge to share but limited interest in studying formal representations. The result is the Semantic Application Design Language (SADL). This talk will review the foundational underpinnings of OWL and introduce the SADL constructs meant to capture, validate, and maintain semantic models over their lifecycle.


Dr. Crapo has been part of GE’s Global Research staff for over 35 years. As an Information Scientist he has built performance and diagnostic models of mechanical, chemical, and electrical systems, and has specialized in human-computer interfaces, decision support systems, machine reasoning and learning, and semantic representation and modeling. His work has included a graphical expert system language (GEN-X), a graphical environment for procedural programming (Fuselet Development Environment), and a semantic-model-driven user-interface for decision support systems (ACUITy). Most recently Andy has been active in developing the Semantic Application Design Language (SADL), enabling GE to leverage worldwide advances and emerging standards in semantic technology and bring them to bear on diverse problems from equipment maintenance optimization to information security.

PhD Proposal: Understanding the Logical and Semantic Structure of Large Documents

December 9th, 2016, by Tim Finin, posted in Machine Learning, NLP, NLP, Ontologies

business documents

Dissertation Proposal

Understanding the Logical and Semantic
Structure of Large Documents 

Muhammad Mahbubur Rahman

11:00-1:00 Monday, 12 December 2016, ITE325b, UMBC

Up-to-the-minute language understanding approaches are mostly focused on small documents such as newswire articles, blog posts, product reviews and discussion forum entries. Understanding and extracting information from large documents such as legal documents, reports, business opportunities, proposals and technical manuals is still a challenging task. The reason behind this challenge is that the documents may be multi-themed, complex and cover diverse topics.

We aim to automatically identify and classify a document’s sections and subsections, infer their structure and annotate them with semantic labels to understand the semantic structure of a document. This document’s structure understanding will significantly benefit and inform a variety of applications such as information extraction and retrieval, document categorization and clustering, document summarization, fact and relation extraction, text analysis and question answering.

Committee: Drs. Tim Finin (Chair), Anupam Joshi, Tim Oates, Cynthia Matuszek, James Mayfield (JHU)

Streamlining Management of Multiple Cloud Services

May 22nd, 2016, by Tim Finin, posted in cloud computing, KR, Ontologies, Semantic Web


Aditi Gupta, Sudip Mittal, Karuna Pande Joshi, Claudia Pearce and Anupam Joshi, Streamlining Management of Multiple Cloud Services, IEEE International Conference on Cloud Computing, June 2016.

With the increase in the number of cloud services and service providers, manual analysis of Service Level Agreements (SLA), comparison between different service offerings and conformance regulation has become a difficult task for customers. Cloud SLAs are policy documents describing the legal agreement between cloud providers and customers. SLA specifies the commitment of availability, performance of services, penalties associated with violations and procedure for customers to receive compensations in case of service disruptions. The aim of our research is to develop technology solutions for automated cloud service management using Semantic Web and Text Mining techniques. In this paper we discuss in detail the challenges in automating cloud services management and present our preliminary work in extraction of knowledge from SLAs of different cloud services. We extracted two types of information from the SLA documents which can be useful for end users. First, the relationship between the service commitment and financial credit. We represented this information by enhancing the existing Cloud service ontology proposed by us in our previous research. Second, we extracted rules in the form of obligations and permissions from SLAs using modal and deontic logic formalizations. For our analysis, we considered six publicly available SLA documents from different cloud computing service providers.

chmod 000 Freebase

May 2nd, 2016, by Tim Finin, posted in KR, Ontologies, Semantic Web

rip freebase

He’s dead, Jim.

Google recently shut down the query interface to Freebase. All that is left of this innovative service is the ability to download a few final data dumps.

Freebase was launched nine years ago by Metaweb as an online source of structured data collected from Wikipedia and many other sources, including individual, user-submitted uploads and edits. Metaweb was acquired by Google in July  2010 and Freebase subsequently grew to have more than 2.4 billion facts about 44 million subjects. In December 2014, Google announced that it was closing Freebase and four months later it became read-only. Sometime this week the query interface was shut down.

I’ve enjoyed using Freebase in various projects in the past two years and found that it complemented DBpedia in many ways. Although its native semantics differed from that of RDF and OWL, it was close enough to allow all of Freebase to be exported as RDF.  Its schema was larger than DBpedia’s and the data tended to be a bit cleaner.

Google generously  decided to donate the data to the Wikidata project, which began migrating Freebase’s data to Wikidata in 2015.  The Freebase data also lives on as part of Google’s Knowledge Graph.  Google recently allowed very limited querying of its knowledge graph and my limited experimenting with it suggests that has Freebase data at its core.

Representing and Reasoning with Temporal Properties/Relations in OWL/RDF

May 1st, 2016, by Tim Finin, posted in KR, NLP, Ontologies, Semantic Web

Representing and Reasoning with Temporal
Properties/Relations in OWL/RDF

Clare Grasso

10:30-11:30 Monday, 2 May 2016, ITE346

OWL ontologies offer the means for modeling real-world domains by representing their high-level concepts, properties and interrelationships. These concepts and their properties are connected by means of binary relations. However, this assumes that the model of the domain is either a set of static objects and relationships that do not change over time, or a snapshot of these objects at a particular point in time. In general, relationships between objects that change over time (dynamic properties) are not binary relations, since they involve a temporal interval in addition to the object and the subject. Representing and querying information evolving in time requires careful consideration of how to use OWL constructs to model dynamic relationships and how the semantics and reasoning capabilities within that architecture are affected.

Policies For Oblivious Cloud Storage Using Semantic Web Technologies

April 3rd, 2016, by Tim Finin, posted in cybersecurity, Ontologies, OWL, RDF, Security, Semantic Web

Policies For Oblivious Cloud Storage
Using Semantic Web Technologies

Vaishali Narkhede
10:30am, Monday, 4 April 2016, ITE 346, UMBC

Consumers want to ensure that their enterprise data is stored securely and obliviously on the cloud, such that the data objects or their access patterns are not revealed to anyone, including the cloud provider, in the public cloud environment. We have created a detailed ontology describing the oblivious cloud storage models and role based access controls that should be in place to manage this risk. We have also implemented the ObliviCloudManager application that allows users to manage their cloud data using oblivious data structures. This application uses role based access control model and collection based document management to store and retrieve data efficiently. Cloud consumers can use our system to define policies for storing data obliviously and manage storage on untrusted cloud platforms, even if they are not familiar with the underlying technology and concepts of the oblivious data structure.

Detecting Botnets Using a Collaborative Situational-Aware IDPS

February 17th, 2016, by Tim Finin, posted in Ontologies, Security, Semantic Web

M. Lisa Mathews, Anupam Joshi and Tim Finin, Detecting Botnets Using a Collaborative Situational-Aware IDPS, 2nd Int. Conf. on Information Systems Security and Privacy, Rome, IT, February 2016

Botnet attacks turn susceptible victim computers into bots that perform various malicious activities while under the control of a botmaster. Some examples of the damage they cause include denial of service, click fraud, spamware, and phishing. These attacks can vary in the type of architecture and communication protocol used, which might be modified during the botnet lifespan. Intrusion detection and prevention systems are one way to safeguard the cyber-physical systems we use, but they have difficulty detecting new or modified attacks, including botnets. Only known attacks whose signatures have been identified and stored in some form can be discovered by most of these systems. Also, traditional IDPSs are point-based solutions incapable of utilizing information from multiple data sources and have difficulty discovering new or more complex attacks. To address these issues, we are developing a semantic approach to intrusion detection that uses a variety of sensors collaboratively. Leveraging information from these heterogeneous sources leads to a more robust, situational-aware IDPS that is better equipped to detect complicated attacks such as botnets.

UCO: A Unified Cybersecurity Ontology

December 16th, 2015, by Tim Finin, posted in cybersecurity, KR, Ontologies, Semantic Web

Unified Cybersecurity Ontology

Zareen Syed, Ankur Padia, Tim Finin, Lisa Mathews and Anupam Joshi, UCO: Unified Cybersecurity Ontology, AAAI Workshop on Artificial Intelligence for Cyber Security (AICS), February 2016.

In this paper we describe the Unified Cybersecurity Ontology (UCO) that is intended to support information integration and cyber situational awareness in cybersecurity systems. The ontology incorporates and integrates heterogeneous data and knowledge schemas from different cybersecurity systems and most commonly used cybersecurity standards for information sharing and exchange. The UCO ontology has also been mapped to a number of existing cybersecurity ontologies as well as concepts in the Linked Open Data cloud. Similar to DBpedia which serves as the core for general knowledge in Linked Open Data cloud, we envision UCO to serve as the core for cybersecurity domain, which would evolve and grow with the passage of time with additional cybersecurity data sets as they become available. We also present a prototype system and concrete use cases supported by the UCO ontology. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first cybersecurity ontology that has been mapped to general world ontologies to support broader and diverse security use cases. We compare the resulting ontology with previous efforts, discuss its strengths and limitations, and describe potential future work directions.

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