News and Events


SemTech Tutorial 27 Mar - 31 Mar 2017: Semantic Technologies ranging from background theory to hands-on experience.

The tutorial will be held from Mon 27 to Friday 31 March 2017 at the Computer Science Department. The goal of the tutorial is to provide a working knowledge of semantic technologies, ranging from background theory through to hands-on experience with state of the art tools and systems.

Workshop on Semantic Web and Data Integration: new technologies and applications to industry

The workshop will be held on Thursday 26th and Friday 27th May 2016 at the Alan Turing Institute. The goal of the workshop is to improve our understanding of the challenges faced by industry related to knowledge representation and data management, and to report on existing projects sponsored by the DBOnto project, several of which involve collaborations between industry and academic partners. The material of the workshop is now online.

Information Systems Group lunchtime poster & demo session

Why not join ISG on Thursday 12 November 2015, 12-2pm in LTB and the Atrium for a lunchtime poster & demo session at which you can find out more about ISG research, talk to current doctoral students, post-doctoral researchers and faculty, and enjoy some free pizza and pastries).

DBOnto Kick-Off Meeting

The material of the DBOnto Kick-Off Meeting is now online.


DBOnto faculty give keynote talks

Michael Benedikt was a keynote speaker at the 16th Annual Conference on Web Age Information Management (WAIM 2015), held in Qingdao China in June of 2015. His talk overviewed the history of declarative data integration systems and outlined new directions in linking data integration with traditional data management.

Ian Horrocks was a keynote speaker at the 14th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC2015), held in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA from the 11th to 15th of October 2015. His talk reviews the design of RDF, OWL and SPARQL, examines some successful applications and identifies features of the design that have proved particularly useful and/or problematical.

Dan Olteanu gave an invited keynote on his factorised database project to the Alberto Mendelzon Workshop (AMW 2015) in Lima, Peru in May 2015, an invited talk on a knowledge compilation perspective on the same project to the Symposium on New Frontiers in Knowledge Compilation in Vienna, Austria in June 2015, and will give an invited tutorial on theoretical aspects of probabilistic query answering to the 15th International Conference on Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (KR 2016) conference which will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, in April 2016.

Siemens & DBOnto co-fund research project

DBOnto and Siemens AG are co-funding a project that will investigate how to support and exploit modelling of complex industrial systems such as production plants by describing their equipment, materials, personnel, production capabilities, business processes and other critical aspects using knowledge representation techniques developed in the Information Systems Group (ISG). Such models, e.g., ISA-88-95, are currently used in industry to enhance the production capabilities of large systems. Existing modelling tools used in industry are often based on ad hoc modelling paradigms that lack formal grounding and thus provide limited support for concurrent model development, model merging, property verification, query answering and other tasks critical for the life cycle of models. During the project we will study how ontologies and model management techniques developed by ISG can be applied in Siemens. The goal is to develop a modelling tool that integrates a number of techniques in order to address Siemens modelling requirements, and to deploy and evaluate the tool in Siemens.

ED3: Enabling analytics over Diverse Distributed Datasources

An ISG project that aims to develop intelligent data access middleware supporting analytic tasks has been awarded an EPSRC grant of £866,000. The ED3 project will address data acquisition problems encountered when performing data analytics in real-world settings, where as well as being large, datasources are often distributed, heterogeneous, and dynamic. The project will address these problems by developing an abstraction layer that mediates between analytics tools and datasources. This abstraction layer will adapt Ontology Based Data Access techniques, using an ontology to provide a uniform conceptual schema, declarative mappings to establish connections between ontological terms and data sources, and logic-based rewriting techniques to transform ontological queries into queries over the data sources.

Simple Unified Access to Biological Resources on the Web

DBOnto-sponsored researchers have been awarded funding as part of EPSRC's impact acceleration program to look at applications of data integration to biological data on the Web. The project “Simple Unified Access to Biological Resources on the Web” aims at middleware that provides unified access to a multitude of biological datasets. The work will be joint with the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) and will build upon research on cost-driven reformulation developed under the auspices of DBOnto.

Google & Amazon funding for ISG research

The FDB (factorised databases) project led by Dan Olteanu has been awarded a Google Research Award (Aug 2014) to investigate how factorised databases can help reduce the communication cost in distributed database systems, such as the F1 system that supports Google’s lucrative AdWords business. This project has also been recently (Jan 2015) awarded a US $10,287 Amazon Web Services research grant to enable benchmarking of distributed techniques for query processing and machine learning that exploit compact, factorised representation of data to mitigate network communication cost and offer horizontal scalability. It is the next milestone in the FDB project, which addresses the problem of processing large-scale data via compression.

Grant supports big data reasoning

The KRR group has acquired a joint grant of £92,000 financed by the US health care provider Kaiser Permanente and the DBOnto Platform Grant (EPSRC). The money funds a research project which investigates the application of techniques from Knowledge Representation and Reasoning to compute health care quality measures. The quality measures are modelled in SWRL ontologies according to specifications issued by the US health care authorities. The KRR group has developed the parallel SWRL reasoning engine RDFox which will be used to compute the quality measures for possibly millions of patients using the developed ontologies. More details of the project can be found here.

DBOnto provided bridging funding for Post-Doctoral Research Assistants

PDRA Efi Tsamoura worked on next-generation data integration systems. While sponsored by DBOnto Tsamoura has published papers in one of the premier conferences in database systems, had a paper accepted in ACM's top database journal, and has received follow-up funding from ESPRC to work on applications of her work to industry.

PDRA Michael Vanden Boom worked on connections between data management problems, algorithms in predicate logic, and the theory of automata. Vanden Boom's work connecting these areas resulted in papers in the most competitive conference in computational logic, a publication in one of ACM's top journal, and invited speaker invitations at international workshops.

DBOnto researcher contributes to UK Biobank project

PDRA Ernesto Jimenez-Ruiz is collaborating with the Oxford Centre for Clinical Magnetic Resonance Research (OCMR) in the creation of a semantic layer to enhance the description of the quality of Cardiac Cine MRI Scans. This collaboration is set within the scope of the UK Biobank project and has led so far to a paper accepted to LABELS workshop.

VADA: Value Added Data Systems

The VADA project, which aims to develop principles, techniques and architectures for adding value to data, has been awarded an EPSRC programme grant of £4.6 million. It brings together three UK research groups focused on databases and information systems, namely the ISG at University of Oxford, the University of Edingburgh, and the University of Manchester. The VADA project will research systematic techniques for overcoming the costs and challenges of getting to grips with big data. It aims at adding value to data by automatically extracting data from diverse resources, integrating that data in ways that overcome structural and semantic inconsistencies, analysing and improving the quality of the data, and querying data in ways that account for uncertainty and extreme scale.