Ontology-supported Scientific Data Frameworks: The Virtual Solar- Terrestrial Observatory Experience

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Abstract:

We have developed a semantic data framework that supports interdisciplinary virtual observatory projects across the fields of solar physics, space physics and solar-terrestrial physics. This work required a formal, machine understandable representation for concepts, relations and attributes of physical quantities in the domains of interest as well as their underlying data representations. To fulfill this need we developed a set of solar-terrestrial ontologies as formal encodings of the knowledge in the Ontology Web Language -- Description Logic (OWL-DL) format.

We present our knowledge representation and reasoning needs motivated by the context of Virtual Observatories, from fields spanning upper atmospheric terrestrial physics to solar physics, whose intent is to provide access to observational datasets. The resulting data framework is built upon semantic web methodologies and technologies and provides virtual access to distributed and heterogeneous sets of data as if all resources appear to be organized, stored and retrieved from a local environment. Our conclusion is that the combination of use case-driven small and modular ontology development, coupled with free and open-source software tools and languages provides sufficient expressiveness and capabilities for an initial production implementation and sets the stage for a more complete semantic-enablement of future frameworks.

History

DateCreated ByLink
August 28, 2011
21:01:19
Patrick WestDownload

Related Projects:

DCO-DS LogoVirtual Solar Terrestrial Observatory (VSTO)
Principal Investigator: Peter Fox
Co Investigator: Deborah L. McGuinness
Description: VSTO is a collaborative project between the High Altitude Observatory and Scientific Computing Division of the National Center for Atmospheric Research and McGuinness Associates. VSTO is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) in the Shared Cyberinfrastructure (SCI) division.

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Lead Professor: Peter Fox
Description: None.
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Lead Professor: Peter Fox
Description: Science has fully entered a new mode of operation. Data science is advancing inductive conduct of science driven by the greater volumes, complexity and heterogeneity of data being made available over the Internet. Data science combines of aspects of data management, library science, computer science, and physical science using supporting cyberinfrastructure and information technology. As such it is changing the way all of these disciplines do both their individual and collaborative work.

Data science is helping scienists face new global problems of a magnitude, complexity and interdisciplinary nature whose progress is presently limited by lack of available tools and a fully trained and agile workforce.

At present, there is a lack formal training in the key cognitive and skill areas that would enable graduates to become key participants in escience collaborations. The need is to teach key methodologies in application areas based on real research experience and build a skill-set.

At the heart of this new way of doing science, especially experimental and observational science but also increasingly computational science, is the generation of data.

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Semantic eScience
Lead Professor: Peter Fox
Description:
Science has fully entered a new mode of operation. E-science, defined as a combination of science, informatics, computer science, cyberinfrastructure and information technology is changing the way all of these disciplines do both their individual and collaborative work.
As semantic technologies have been gaining momentum in various e-Science areas (for example, W3C's new interest group for semantic web health care and life science), it is important to offer semantic-based methodologies, tools, middleware to facilitate scientific knowledge modeling, logical-based hypothesis checking, semantic data integration and application composition, integrated knowledge discovery and data analyzing for different e-Science applications.
Partially influenced by the Artificial Intelligence community, the Semantic Web researchers have largely focused on formal aspects of semantic representation languages or general-purpose semantic application development, with inadequate consideration of requirements from specific science areas. On the other hand, general science researchers are growing ever more dependent on the web, but they have no coherent agenda for exploring the emerging trends on the semantic web technologies. It urgently requires the development of a multi-disciplinary field to foster the growth and development of e-Science applications based on the semantic technologies and related knowledge-based approaches.

Concepts: eScience