Semantic Integration of Heterogeneous Information Sources Using a Knowledge-Based System

Reference: T. Adams, J. Dullea, P. Clark, S. Sripada, and T. Barrett. Semantic Integration of Heterogeneous Information Sources Using a Knowledge-Based System. To appear in Proc 5th Int Conf on CS and Informatics (CS&I'2000), 2000.

Abstract: A growing number of decision support applications require the ability to formulate ad hoc queries that access information from heterogeneous information sources. The Boeing Company recently conducted a study to investigate the feasibility of applying a high-performance knowledge base to interface the information sources to the decision support system. A commercially available knowledge-based development environment provided a number of useful features for this problem including an expressive knowledge representation language, an efficient inference engine, and a large repository of common-sense knowledge. Our objectives were to determine if the pre-stored knowledge would significantly reduce the time required for knowledge engineering in large scale applications, to determine if the domain model was expressive enough to support the wide range of ad-hoc queries typical of our applications, and to determine if the common-sense knowledge would extend the inference power beyond simply combining information from the available data sources.

Our preliminary results indicate that the upper and middle ontologies do in fact provide a significant knowledge infrastructure that facilitates creation of the domain model. We were able to express a large fraction of the domain in terms of existing concepts with simple extensions. The existing knowledge about human activities, spatial and temporal concepts, and physical and functional decomposition both simplified the generation of the domain model and supported a wide range of ad hoc queries. The knowledge representation language was relatively easy to acquire and the domain models we created are readily extensible.