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Ontologies are seen as the key technology used to describe the semantics of information at various sites,
overcoming the problem of implicit and hidden knowledge and thus enabling exchange of semantic contents.
As such, they have found applications in key growth areas, such as e-commerce, bio-informatics, Grid
computing, and the Semantic Web. The increased demand for multiple large-scale and complex ontologies
poses novel challenges on all tasks related to ontology engineering (i.e., their design, maintenance, merging,
and integration) and to the operation with ontologies (i.e., the run-time access to ontologies both by human
users and by software agents). In all such tasks, understanding and taking into account the implicit knowledge of an ontology is crucial. Nowadays, it is widely accepted that a logical underpinning of ontologies
is desirable since it provides a well-defined semantics and allows to re-phrase system services of ontology
tools in terms of logical reasoning problems. This, in turn, enables one to base such system services on
automated reasoning procedures. Such a reasoning support has already proved to be an essential component of state-of-the-art ontology management tools; the range and power of services provided are, however, far from being sufficient.

The aim of the TONES project is to study and develop automated reasoning techniques for engineering of and operation with ontologies, and devise methodologies for the deployment of such techniques in advanced tools and applications. This will be achieved by:

  • defining a common semantical framework, based on logic, for ontologies;
  • identifying the key reasoning services needed to support ontology tasks;
  • developing suitable algorithmic techniques for the provision of such reasoning services;
  • investigating and studying the efficient implementation of the techniques, and
  • developing methodologies on how to exploit the reasoning services in tools for ontologies.
2005-2007 TONES - Thinking Ontologies
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