|F-Life from University of Edinburgh|
What's the Problem?
The knowledge engineering world provides a rich source of software components
for transforming formally expressed knowledge on a large scale, such as induction
systems, knowledge base refiners and ontology merging tools. Formal methods
have traditionally been concentrated on the integrity of design of individual
systems, but with the advent of the Semantic Web there is interest in making
them openly accessible on the Internet, with the ultimate goal in mind that
a knowledge engineer should be able, with a small amount of intellectual effort,
to locate and assemble sequences of these components to perform complex transformations
on large repositories of knowledge.
The sorts of transformations used in knowledge engineering are not always
trustworthy: some may not preserve the semantics of the knowledge transformed;
some may not be able to perform a given transformation reliably under all
circumstances. Therefore, it is crucial to have ways of inspecting the key
properties we expect to be preserved by each transformational component and
of describing how these properties change as new transformations are applied.
This raises a new need for formality, to describe how such distributed systems
transform knowledge. The aim of formality in this area is twofold: to give
a concise account of what is going, and to use this account for practical
purposes in maintaining and analysing knowledge-management life cycles.
Towards a Solution
F-Life is a prototype tool comprising a life-cycle editor, a life-cycle
interpreter and a property checker. Its architecture is based
on a formal life-cycle calculus, whose semantics is expressed in terms
of abstract knowledge transformations using techniques from abstract model
theory and semantic information flow:
With the editor a knowledge engineer analyses and represents life-cycle
patterns, which are formal