KRDB Research Centre
for Knowledge and Data

In recent years, knowledge and data base applications have progressively converged towards integrated technologies which try to overcome the limits of each single discipline. Research in Knowledge Representation (KR) originally concentrated around logic-based formalisms that are typically tuned to deal with relatively small knowledge bases, but provide powerful deduction services, and the language to structure information is highly expressive. For example, research on formal languages for ontologies was originated from KR, as well as research in computational semantics for natural language. In contrast, Information Systems and Database (DB) research mainly dealt with efficient storage and retrieval of powerful query languages, and with sharing and displaying large amounts of (multimedia) documents. However, data representations were relatively simple and flat, and reasoning over the structure and the content of the documents played only a minor role.

This distinction between the requirements in Knowledge Representation and Databases is vanishing rapidly. On the one hand, to be useful in realistic applications, a modern KR system must be able to handle large data sets, and to provide expressive query languages. This suggests that techniques developed in the DB area could be useful for KR systems. On the other hand, the information stored on the web, in digital libraries, and in data warehouses is now very complex and with deep semantic structures, thus requiring more intelligent modelling languages and methodologies, and reasoning services on those complex representations to support design, management, flexible access, and integration. Therefore, a great call for an integrated logic-based view of Knowledge Representation and Database technologies is emerging. KRDB technologies offer promising formalisms for solving several problems concerning Conceptual Data Modelling and Ontology Design, Intelligent Information Access and Query processing, Information Integration, Peer to Peer systems, Semistructured Data, Distributed and Web Information Systems, E-services, Computational Logic, Logic-based Computational Linguistics, and Bio-informatics.

The KRDB Research Centre at the Faculty of Computer Science of the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano was founded in 2002, and it aims at being an international centre of excellence in basic and applied research on KRDB technologies and at proposing to selected enterprises innovative ideas and technologies based on the research developed in the centre.

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