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Master Thesis Proposal: Ontology Design Patterns and XD for Protégé

During the past decade, the Semantic Web has emerged as an evolution of the human readable web, towards a web of macine processable data with formal semantics. To interpret the semantics of online resources, ontologies are used to model the domain of interest. Currently, the trend in Ontology Engineering (OE) is towards reuse and reengineering of resources rather than building ontologies from scratch. One "tool" for assisting in OE is Ontology Design Patterns (ODPs).

ODPs come in different flavors, depending on their purpose. Some can even be reused directly as imported components, e.g. similar to reuse of software libraries. eXtreme Design is one OE methodology that supports ODP reuse, and rapid prototyping of ontologies based on reusing these kinds of ODPs. To support XD users we have previously developed a plugin for the NeOn Toolkit OE environment (an Eclipse-based tool) called XDTools that supports ODP selection, specialization, annotation and analysis of the resulting ontology. However, the Protégé OE environment has a much larger user base than the NeOn Toolkit at the moment. So to make XD and ODPs more widespread, we would now like to develop a plugin also for the Protégé environment.

The aim of this master thesis is to first port the, existing XDTools NeOn Toolkit (Eclipse-based) plugin to the Protégé 4 platform. Secondly, during the work on this porting, the student should pick one aspect of the plugin to improve on. For instance, it could be to perform a user study of the GUI and improve some parts of it based on the study results, or it could be to add some new feature or algorithm, to the plugin. Some ideas for improvements are already available, if the student does not find his or her own idea.

Recommended skills to attempt this thesis include good knowledge of logical languages (preferably, but not necessarily, previous knowledge of RDF/OWL and/or Description Logics), web languages such as XML, and programming experience, preferably in Java.

How to express interest in this topic:

In order to make sure that the student will be able to complete thesis, I usually ask the student to do a small "test" before we agree on starting up the thesis. This is not an exam, just a test to see how quickly the student is able to get into the field. It is also an opportunity for the student to learn more about the technologies involved and see if you are really interested in them, before you start!

So if you are interested in this topic, please access this page and follow the instructions (i.e. fill out the questionnaire and do the small modelling task).

Note that you are free to find any online reading material you like, and use any tool of your choice. But please do not spend more than a day or so (spread out over one week) on this task, so as not to waste too much time if you in the end find it too difficult or not interesting, and in order to let me see how fast you catch on to the techniques and languages.

Don't forget to send me an e-mail expressing your interest in the thesis topic, including the solution to the modelling task, when you are done!

Page responsible: Eva Blomqvist
Last updated: 2012-10-29