Ontolog Forum

OntologySummit2015 session-06: Synthesis-II & Communique Discussion - Thu 2015-03-26

  • Summit Theme: OntologySummit2015: Internet of Things: Toward Smart Networked Systems and Societies



The Ontology Summit is an annual series of events (first started by Ontolog and NIST in 2006) that involves the ontology community and communities related to each year's theme chosen for the summit. The Ontology Summit program is now co-organized by Ontolog, NIST, NCOR, NCBO, IAOA, NCO_NITRD along with the co-sponsorship of other organizations that are supportive of the Summit goals and objectives.

We are witnessing a new revolution in computing and communication. The Internet, which has spanned several networks in a wide variety of domains, is having a significant impact on every aspect of our lives. The next generation of networks will utilize a wide variety of resources with significant sensing capabilities. Such networks will extend beyond physically linked computers to include multimodal information from biological, cognitive, semantic, and social networks. This paradigm shift will involve symbiotic networks of people, intelligent devices, and mobile personal computing and communication devices (mPCDs), which will form net-centric societies or smart networked systems and societies (SNSS). mPCDs are already equipped with a myriad of sensors, with regular updates of additional sensing capabilities. Additionally, we are witnessing the emergence of "intelligent devices," such as smart meters, smart cars, etc., with considerable sensing and networking capabilities. Hence, these devices -- and the network -- will be constantly sensing, monitoring, and interpreting the environment -- this is sometimes referred to as the Internet of Things. And as local and wide area networks became almost secondary to the WWW (World-Wide Web), users and their usage patterns will become increasingly visible. This will have significant implications for both the market for advanced computing and communication infrastructure and the future markets for nearly 4.5 billion people -- that net-centric societies will create.

Well-designed and constructed net-centric societies will result in better quality of life, reduced threat from external sources, and improved commerce. For example, assume a scenario where people at various locations suffer from flu-like symptoms. In a net-centric society, mPCDs will send vital signs and other associated information to appropriate laboratories and medical centers. These centers will analyze the information, including searching the Internet for potential solutions, and will aid in determining possible causes for this phenomenon. Based on the diagnosis, people will be directed to the nearest clinic for treatment. Here we have several types of information flowing through the net: data from mPCDs; location information; images; video; audio; etc.

Ontologies will play a significant role in the realization of SNSS. For example, a considerable amount of data passes through the network and should be converted into higher abstractions that can be used in appropriate reasoning. This requires the development of standard terminologies which capture objects and events. Creating and testing such terminologies will aid in effective recognition and reaction in a network-centric situation awareness environment. This would involve identifying a methodology for development of terminologies for multimodal data (or ontologies), developing appropriate ontologies, developing testing methods for these ontologies, demonstrating interoperability for selected domains (e.g., healthcare, situational awareness), and using these ontologies in decision making.

In today's session, we will take inventory of the what has transpired in the OntologySummit2015 proceedings so far, and present the syntheses of the discourse of each of the four content tracks. The co-lead Editors will be presenting a first draft of the Communique Outline. An open discussion among the editors, the track co-champions and all the participants will ensue, with an aim towards arriving at a near-final OntologySummit2015 Communique Outline, which will frame how this year's Communique will get developed by all parties concerned.

More details about this OntologySummit is available at: OntologySummit2015 (homepage for this summit)


  • 1. Opening and General assessment on how things are developing and fine tuning of direction/approach
  • 2. Track Synthesis II (presentation of the interim deliverables by one of the co-champions of each track) [7~8 min/track]
    • 2.1 Track A: Ontology Integration in IoT (co-champions: RamSriram, LeoObrst)
    • 2.2 Track B: Beyond Semantic Sensor Network Ontologies (co-champions: TorstenHahmann, Gary Berg-Cross)
    • 2.3 Track C: Decision Making in Different Domains (co-champions: MikeBennett, MichaelGruninger)
    • 2.4 Track D: Related Standards and Synergies for Emerging IoT Ontologies (co-champions: MarkUnderwood)
  • 3. Q&A and Open Discussion-I: what are the key take home messages, and positions we want to assume, as a Summit community [30 min.] ... please refer to process above
  • 4. Approach to the Communique and a proposed Communique Outline

(see for the link to the latest draft as a Google Doc)

  • 5. Q&A and Open Discussion-II: developing and building consensus on our Communique Outline
  • 6. Summary/wrap-up/announcements [5 min.]

Conference Call Details

  • Date: Thursday, 26-Mar-2015
  • Start Time: 9:30am PDT / 12:30pm EDT / 5:30pm CET / 4:30pm GMT / 1630 UTC
  • Expected Call Duration: ~1.5 hours
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Resource Pages


[09:31] Michael Grüninger: Here is the link to the Google Doc first draft of the Communique:

[09:32] Michael Grüninger: Agenda at

[09:33] Peter P. Yim: (for a better link, please use) -

[09:34] Peter P. Yim: Hi @BillMcCarthy ... glad you can make it!

[09:35] John Graybeal: sorry, I just dropped in -- are we just reading at the moment?

[09:37] Peter P. Yim: @JohnGraybeal - no, the session is just about to start

[09:39] Michael Grüninger: People can post comments to

[09:40] Ken Baclawski: I am unsure about the organization of the document. There are various section headings, but it is not clear which are contained in which.

[09:41] Peter P. Yim: @RaviSharma ... I just checked, and you are indeed subscribed (as drravisharma [at] to the [ontology-summit] mailing list

[09:45] Michael Grüninger: Should the Terminology be included in the Communique as a sort of glossary/appendix?

[09:46] Todd Schneider: Michael, Definitely add the terminology and definitions.

[09:47] Todd Schneider: Given the fuzziness of the Internet of Things, any material that helps clarify will be of great value.

[09:51] Ram D. Sriram: @Leo: The Combine Ontologies is from Jack Hodges

[10:02] Ravi Sharma: @Peter - Many thanks, will be more careful to review these emails.

[10:03] John Graybeal: I have to sign off, but I added an extended comment in the communique (on "Software Support") about the primacy of *tools* as a blocker of ontology adoption. I think the gaps slide just shown implies tools in 5/8 of the stated gaps.

[10:03] Michael Grüninger: Track C Synthesis

[10:04] Liana Kiff: Within my organization, there still seems to be a great deal of skepticism over the real-world practicality of ontologies. Developers in my organization have a hard time grasping how to work with them. Tools can help to bridge the gap.

[10:04] Liana Kiff: I need to sign off.

[10:04] Michael Grüninger: Include a list of case studies / use cases for IoT and ontologies in the Communique

[10:04] Ram D. Sriram: Although many of the issues we discussed are relevant to other domains there are certain key observations we wish to make. First, SNSS involve physical, software, and human objects. Second, temporal aspects become very important (and so the emphasis on event ontologies). Third, real-world testbeds are needed, but hard to implement due to the complex interactions between humans, physical things, and software .

[10:06] Torsten Hahmann: I just got on the call, I can present what we have as synthesis for Track B so far

[10:07] Michael Grüninger: Hi Torsten -- you can go after Track C (currently being discussed)

[10:08] Peter P. Yim: ... need to drop off now (I'll catch up from the captured chat-transcript and audio recording when they get posted.) Thanks, everyone!

[10:09] Todd Schneider: Ken, is there a need to list the various types of reasoning in the communique?

[10:10] Todd Schneider: Ken, If yes would the associated logics need to listed also?

[10:10] Mike Bennett: Track C community input page is at

[10:13] Mike Bennett: Other insights on Track C: We saw a lot of very powerful things you can do with reasoning but also a balance to be struck between what you need for integration across a wide range of subject matter, versus having very detailed axioms to support reasoning-based applications. I'll dig deeper but I think there was a sense that there's a trade-off with these or a balance to be struck. These was a theme in a couple of presentations.

[10:14] Mike Bennett: Also on Track C: there was a specific opportunity we saw, where there was a business-led initiative in the building services area, to capture common semantics, where thy used their own metamodel and could well be persuaded to use OWL or anything that includes some formal logic.

[10:15] Todd Schneider: Mike Bennett, Is the situation you just provided really an issue of system design?

[10:15] Michael Grüninger: How ontologies address the challenge of heterogeneity needs to be emphasized

[10:15] Mike Bennett: @Todd I think so.

[10:15] Mike Bennett: @Todd also I probably haven't described it very well.

[10:15] Ken Baclawski: @ToddSchneider: That would be a good idea, but whatever we write is unlikely to be complete.

[10:17] Todd Schneider: Ken, a bibliography or at least a list of relevant references should be sufficient.

[10:17] Mike Bennett: Track C: We also saw an impressively wide range of kinds of concept to which reasoning was applied for decision making, including complex event processing, process concepts and so on - all very relevant to for example manufacturing and military where the IoT comes into its own.

[10:17] Ken Baclawski: Todd, I will work on it.

[10:18] Todd Schneider: Mike Bennett, I think you described the situation adequately, at least to my mind (but perhaps I too familiar with such).

[10:20] Todd Schneider: MichaelG., As I mentioned in my communique draft comments, the overriding problem for IoT will be interoperability, a cause of which is heterogeneity across at the possible domains.

[10:25] Todd Schneider: All, There may be a need to explicitly distinguish between implicit vs. explicit semantics. This may be obvious for us, but may not be for a more general audience.

[10:25] Ravi Sharma: @all- I see enumeration of what has happened in sessions but only partial attempt at synthesis. Can we think of a framework for ontologies of IoT and map the tracks on it to see areas of gaps and also strengths and weaknesses of what is not a gap and is covered for the summit?

[10:27] Todd Schneider: Ravi, Isn't the role of ontologies and explicit semantics to allow interoperability?

[10:27] Michael Grüninger: Track D Synthesis page :

[10:28] Ravi Sharma: I was talking about the overall synthesis and I see in some presentations quite a good assimilation.

[10:30] Michael Grüninger: Ravi: What are the case studies for IoT and ontologies?

[10:34] Terry Longstreth: @Leo - agree we need virtual objects, and probably need ways to manifest and remove them dynamically

[10:35] Joel Bender: Assumption of interoperability - absolutely not

[10:35] John Morris: Hi, I just linked on my G+ (+JohnMorris770) to the IoT Summit home page. Also I just wrote a short introduction explaining why ontology is important for better software construction. If you find the reference useful, please feel free to share: Also I welcome anyone who wants to link.

[10:35] John Morris: Also, any feedback on the intro (almost a mini-essay) are welcome too.

[10:35] Michael Grüninger: Todd: what are the types of heterogeneity that we should address?

[10:36] Ravi Sharma: @all - some case studies have been studied well, it is clear that we have studied SSN, nature and type of sensors, theories, metadata about sensors, but I am hoping that both in words or perhaps as a diagram in communique or appendices, we provide best representation of where Iot and Ontologies are and where we expect the field to progress and reach obviously handling big data during this traverse is also a big challenge and as Todd mentions interoperability is another?

[10:36] Michael Grüninger: @Todd: I agree -- we need to emphasize semantic heterogeneity as the challenge, and then propose ontologies as a way to achieve interoperability

[10:37] Michael Grüninger: Semantics holds the promise to share and reuse

[10:37] Leo Obrst: I haven't seen much yet about needing virtual objects, intelligent agents, that are responsible for miniscule domains, aggregations, etc., and so those virtual objects know about their lower domain objects, can provide a conduit for higher-level objects/agents, so acting somewhat also like brokers.

[10:38] Ravi Sharma: @Leo - will these reduce clutter or provide aggregation?

[10:38] Michael Grüninger: Todd: What is the nature of scalability? i.e. is it the number of devices or is it the number of domains that need to be integrated

[10:38] Mike Bennett: Semantics holds out the promise of reuse and repurposing of information generally. Applying this in the IoT, the use of consistent semantics should therefore offer interoperability among disparate devices at plant-level scale.

[10:39] Ravi Sharma: @Mike - it could be overall solution salability also?

[10:39] Leo Obrst: @RaviSharma: they have to do both, i.e., they will transform lower level granular semantics to higher level objects, etc.

[10:43] Mike Bennett: I was able to write something in the document and delete it again.

[10:43] Bart Gajderowicz: Michael, the link you included let's you make changes

[10:43] Bart Gajderowicz: I just tried it

[10:45] Mike Bennett: You've done it!

[10:46] Mike Bennett: Apologies I have to drop off now for another meeting.

[10:46] Christi Kapp: It looks like any edits that anyone made in there are just "suggestions" which you can reject or accept

[10:48] Leo Obrst: I see this info on "How to Share":

[10:49] John Morris: Bye for now. Great work!

[10:56] Bart Gajderowicz: Yes, my "changes" were suggestions.

[10:56] Ravi Sharma: bye

[10:56] Ravi Sharma: thanks