Tractable Reasoning and Efficient Query Answering in Description Logics: The DL-Lite Family

Diego Calvanese, Giuseppe De Giacomo, Domenico Lembo, Maurizio Lenzerini, and Riccardo Rosati

J. of Automated Reasoning. 39(3):385-429 2007.

We propose a new family of Description Logics, called DL-Lite, specifically tailored to capture basic ontology languages, while keeping low complexity of reasoning. Reasoning here means not only computing subsumption between concepts, and checking satisfiability of the whole knowledge base, but also answering complex queries (in particular, unions of conjunctive queries) over the instance level of the DL knowledge base. We show that, for the Description Logics of the DL-Lite family, the usual DL reasoning tasks are polynomial in the size of the TBox, and query answering is LOGSPACE in the size of the ABox (i.e., in data complexity). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first result of polynomial time data complexity for query answering over Description Logic knowledge bases. A notable feature of our logic is to allow for a separation between TBox and ABox reasoning during query evaluation: the part of the process requiring TBox reasoning is independent of the ABox, and the part of the process requiring access to the ABox can be carried out by an SQL engine, thus taking advantage of the query optimization strategies provided by current Data Base Management Systems. Since it can be shown that even slight extensions to the logics of the DL-Lite family make query answering at least NLOGSPACE in data complexity, thus ruling out the possibility of using on-the-shelf relational technology for query processing, we can conclude that the logics of the DL-Lite family are the maximal Description Logics supporting efficient query answering over large amounts of instances.


@article{JAR-2007,
   title = "Tractable Reasoning and Efficient Query Answering in Description
Logics:  The DL-Lite  Family",
   year = "2007",
   author = "Diego Calvanese and De Giacomo, Giuseppe and Domenico
Lembo and Maurizio Lenzerini and Riccardo Rosati",
   journal = "J. of Automated Reasoning",
   pages = "385-429",
   number = "3",
   volume = "39",
}
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