Second Meeting of the Ontology Interest Group, 28/01/09

Today we had the second meeting of the ontology interest group at the EBI. The programme was as follows:

Robert Hoehndorf: “What is an Ontology?”
Short use case 1: James Malone: “Ontologically Modeling Sample Variables in Gene Expression Data”

Short use case 2: Dietrich Rebholz-Schuhmann: “Extraction of GO terms from literature for the identification of gene-disease associations”

The meeting was very well attended with around 30 people. Robert’s talk gave a great overview over the various uses and usages of both the term and the tool/methodology/technology that “ontology” represents and the evolutuon of “ontology” as a discipline in both philosophy and computer science and artificial intelligence as well as the relationship between them. He has promised to write up his talk into a blog post soon. Until he does so, here are his slides:

“What is an ontology”

James then presented a use case, showing how  ontologies, such as the Experimental Factor Ontology could be used for sophisticated querying of resources such as Array Express Atlas and data integration.

Unfortunately, Dietrich didn’t get to present his talk as we ran out of time during the meeting: it will be the first item on the agenda for the next meeting in approximately 2 weeks.

During the meeting it became apparent, that we should talk about ways of formalizing ontologies, i.e. ontology languages next rather than to start with ontology development best practice. In particular, the group seemed to be interested in OWL. We will therefore aim to start with OWL in the next meeting.

There have also been suggestions from several members of the group to preserve the talks as videos and to make them publicly available, which is a great idea and we will look into this.

So far the rough summary of the meeting. As always, please comment, correct any mistakes, carry on the conversation in the comments section of the blog. I will send a link to a poll to determine the best time for the next meeting via the mailing list.


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