Tech Reports


Computing Minimal Definition Signatures in Description Logic Ontologies

David Geleta, Terry R. Payne, Valentina Tamma


The ability to rewrite defined ontological entities into syntactically different, but semantically equivalent forms is an important property of Definability. While rewriting has been extensively studied, the practical applicability of currently existing methods is limited, as they are bounded to particular Description Logics (DLs), and they often present only theoretical results. Moreover, these efforts focus on computing single definitions, whereas the ability to find the complete set of alternatives, or even just their signature, can support ontology alignment, and semantic inter- operability in general. As the number of possible rewritings is potentially exponential in the size of the ontology, we present a novel approach that provides a comprehensive and efficient way to compute in practice all definition signatures of most defined entities described using a DL language for which the a particular definability property holds (Beth definability). In this paper we present our approach, and we assess the prevalence, extent and merits of definability over large and diverse corpora, as well as discussing ways in which it can be exploited to support a variety of different ontology engineering tasks.

[Full Paper]