Ontolog Forum

Gary Berg-Cross

Gary Berg-Cross is a Cognitive Psychologist (Ph.D. SUNY Stony Brook, BS RPI) with over 30 years of experience with ontological analysis growing out of his dissertation on knowledge representation for discourse understanding. He has taught human learning and cognition & problems solving courses at the University of Delaware, GW & GMU. From 2007 - 2012 he served as lead of the Spatial Ontology Community of Practice (SOCoP) originally chartered as a Community of Practice under the Best Practices Committee of the Federal CIO Council. SOCoP was partially supported by an INTEROP grant from NSF. He is also a Board Member of Ontolog. Since 1975 he has consulted to health and medical organizations on medical informatics to improve medical functioning and manage medical knowledge. Major thrusts of work includes reusable medical knowledge, vocabularies and semantic interoperability. He has participated in several IT & of Health Informatics efforts to standardize medical concepts and more recently in efforts to enable R& D collaboration of geospatial semantics and related ontologies.

He has published in both Cognitive Psychology and Artificial Intelligence areas in the areas of representing knowledge, heuristic problem solving, and case-based reasoning and was active in NIH Biomedical Computing Interest Group (BCIG) conducting tutorials on Medical Knowledge and data warehouse development and providing reviews of related AI work.

His applied semantic work started in 1985, under a contract with USCG HQ, where he developed semantic representation for a USCG "enterprise model". The aspect of conceptual model reuse was reported at the First Annual Workshop on Conceptual Structures in 1986. Since then he has pursued interests in knowledge engineering and semantic modeling on a range of government (DARPA Associate Technology project 89-91 and message understanding projects) and business problems (e.g. healthcare, retail, finance, Telco etc.). Dr. Berg-Cross worked on the ANSI X3H4 repository technology effort and the HL-7 Reference Information Model in the early 90s as a representative for BOOZ Allen and SAIC. He was SAIC's chief architect on the DoD/HA CEIS data warehouse (6+ terabytes in early 200s) and developed a metadata tool to DW manage DW population and use. As Informix's Director of Analytic Infrastructure he developed a taxonomic e-business portal knowledge infrastructure, based on prior knowledge engineering work on Ardent's XML-based Portal.

As an independent consultant he supported [DoD] TRICARE Management Authority's IM and eBusiness divisions and NIH Institutes (General Medicine and Deafness and Communicative Diseases Institutes) on the used of web technology to represent, visualize and disseminate information. At TRICARE he supported the eGov Consolidated Health Informatics (CHI) initiative to integrate HHS/NIH, CDC, VA and DOD/HA data architectures as well as coordinating the Military Health System operational and enterprise architecture development. He has also been involved in Big Data Semantics for a number of years going back to a role in helping to develop the HL7 information architecture reference model (90-97) for data sharing and work through the 90s on large data warehouses including as chief architect for some of the largest healthcare efforts in government and the private sector.

Since 2004 he has been involved in various aspects of the Semantic Web including participating in the Spatial Ontology Community of Practice to provide better semantics to support data sharing as well as vertical and horizontal integration.

Dr. Berg-Cross has worked across disciplines and helped organize workshops on these such as the Earth Science Ontolog Mini-series Session-2 - "Ontology Development and Application across Earth Science Systems Lifecycle" - Co-chairs: Gary Berg Cross Naicong Li. Panel for this session included briefings by: Richard Hooper,Peter Fox, Mattia Santoro, & Naicong Li.

From 2002 -2008 he worked on federal enterprise and reference model architectures and their enhancement to support SOA and data interoperability integrated such architecture using coordinated ontology and business vocabularies as part of Business Modernization effort.

As part of the Research Data Alliance he co-chairs the Terminology & Semantic interoperability workgroups set up as part of NSF sponsored RDA meetings. The focus of this work group starting in 2013 has been to:

  1. identify a cross-community harmonized vocabulary of key terms of the field of research data (science/management)
  2. identify best practices in multi-/cross-domain & vertical/ horizontal Semantic Interoperability (different methods such as ontology matching, thesaurus mapping, etc.) and derive guidelines

Final deliverables / outcomes include:

  1. a harmonized vocabulary of key terms and (operational) definitions in the field of research data
  2. concrete guidance to data practitioners/data scientists on (multi-/ cross-domain) Semantic Interoperability

Topic areas on which he lectures include:

  1. Ontological Engineering
  2. Domain Vocabulary Semantics
  3. Improving the Semantics of Enterprise Models
  4. Transparency and Open Government
  5. Bio-Inspired Ideas for Cognitive Systems

Publications and Presentations include:

  • Hu, Yingjie, et al. "A geo-ontology design pattern for semantic trajectories." International Conference on Spatial Information Theory. Springer International Publishing, 2013.
  • Co-author of Semantic Manifesto developed as part of work in the Semantics and Ontology workgroup of NSF's EarthCube planning. The Manifesto is at
  • Berg-Cross, Gary, Isabel F. Cruz, Michael Dean, Timothy Finin, Mark Gahegan, Pascal Hitzler, Hook Hau et al. "Semantics and ontologies for EarthCube." (2012).
  • Semantics and Ontologies For EarthCube presented at the Workshop on GIScience in the Big Data Age 2012. In conjunction with the seventh International Conference on Geographic Information Science 2012 (GIScience 2012). Columbus, Ohio, USA. September 18th, 2012.
  • At the 5th Annual Spatial Ontology Community of Practice (SOCoP) workshop, - his talks include "SOCoP 2012 Workshop: Vision and Strategy" and a talk on "Orientation to Ontological Methods"
  • Obrst, L., Gruninger, M., Baclawski, K., Bennett, M., Brickley, D., Berg-Cross, G., ... & Lange, C. (2014). Semantic web and big data meets applied ontology. Applied Ontology, 9(2), 155-170.
  • "Improving Situational Ontologies to Support Adaptive Crisis Management Knowledge Architecture" presented at 5th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM), May 2008, GWU.
  • Berg-Cross, Gary. "Introduction to Biological Inspiration for Intelligent Systems." Proceedings of the 8th Workshop on Performance Metrics for Intelligent Systems. ACM, 2008.
  • 'Ten "Videos" Demonstrating Cognitive, Developmental and Social Robot in Theory and Action: a new way to Understand Cognition and Build Robots with Adaptive Abilities?' Developed for PerMIS 2009
  • Social Network Dynamics, Enterprise Culture and eSociety: A New View of Disruptive Technology with Allan Jones presented at the First International Conference on Inter-Enterprise
  • "Issues in Applying Bio-Inspiration, Cognitive Critical Mass and Developmental-Inspired Principles to Advanced Intelligent Systems", chapter with Alexei V. Samsonovich of Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study. in Performance Evaluation and Benchmarking of Intelligent System, Springer (2009)
  • "Introduction to Agent Theory of Mind (ToM): Origins, Foundations and Definition, Rationales and Variants, Methods and Measurement and Issues", Presented at the 9th iteration of the Performance Metrics for Intelligent Systems workshop (PerMIS'09) organized for a session to addresses a "Theory of Mind" and it issues. The session will help address scientific and practical goals towards a "Scientific Theory of Mind" and, "extend the frontiers of human knowledge to include a scientific understanding of the processes in the human brain that give rise to the phenomenon of mind." (Albus, 2008)
  • "Emergent, Epigenetically Inspired Ideas about Cognitive Development: Testing by Developmental Robotics", accepted for AAAI Fall 2009 Symposium on Cognitive Architectures
  • "Illustrating Some Semantics of GeoSpatial Ontologies" presented at Sixth Service Oriented Architecture for E-Government Conference, Sept. 29-30 Special Session on Spatial Standards and Semantics
  • "Making SOA and Enterprise Architecture Efforts More Mutually Supportive" - Presented at IBM SOA Federal Institute Tuesday, November 11, 2008
  • "Exploring eGov Cooperation and Knowledge Sharing, presented at Toward More Transparent Government." Workshop on eGovernment and the Web, sponsored by W3C, held 18 - 19 June 2007at the National Academy of Sciences
  • "Developing Knowledge for Intelligent Agents: Exploring Parallels in Ontological Analysis and Epigenetic Robotics", NIST PerMIS conferences 2006
  • "A Pragmatic Approach to Discussing Intelligence in Systems", NIST PerMIS conferences 2004
  • "Building Ontology Patterns for the Semantic Web: Practical Issues", invited paper at UMD Humans and the Semantic Web Annual Symposium, HCIL portion of 23rd Annual Symposium, June 1-2, 2006
  • "Applying an Ontological Analysis Methods and Ontological Design Patterns in Support of the HER" , Poster at KR-MED's Biomedical Ontology in Action workshop, Nov. 8, 2006 (with John Hanna) Using Conceptual Structures to Translate Data Models: Concepts, Context and Cognitive Processes. Workshop on Conceptual Graphs 1992: 171-187
  • Can a large knowledge base be built by importing and unifying diverse knowledge?: lessons from scruffy work. Knowledge-Based Syst. 5(3): 245-254 (1992)
  • Spatial Ontology Community of Practice ( Executive Secretary (2006- Present) - Program Committee for NIST PerMIS workshops on Intelligent Systems (2005-2008). Organizer for 2 Panels on Developmental Robotics (07-08)

On organizing Committee for Terra Cognita 2008.

  • Member of W3C Incubator Emergency Information Interoperability Framework (EIIF) Incubator Group 2008 - Member of writing team for Practical Guide to Federal SOA
  • Recent engagments supported DHS in strategic development of SOA leveraging enterprise architecture as well consulting on semantic modeling.
Contact Info: 
Gary Berg-Cross Ph.D.
Potomac, MD 20854