This paper is organized as follow: Section 2 describesthe most important issues related to ontology-based principles. In section 3, we review ontology as a set of semantic and knowledge-based representation tools for context information; then, in section 4, we describe thedesign requirements for our ontology for the creation,delivery and management of context-aware servicessupported by autonomic networks (CONAN), and showhow the ontology can be used in autonomic elements for gathering raw context and integrating this contextinformation into a higher abstraction for managementservice operations. Section 5 presents the mostcompelling contributions on ontologies for contextmodelling using ontologies, and finally the concludingremarks are presented in Section 6.
is a formal mechanism for representation of a conceptualization in a shared domain .
is adescription (like a specification of a program in a formallanguage) of the concepts and relationships that can existfor an entity or a community of entities. Put another way,
is a systematic explanation of the existence of anentity using a formal representation..An ontology must be explicit, formal and open.Explicit means that the entities and relationships used,and the constraints on their use, are precisely andunambiguously defined in a declarative language suitablefor knowledge representation. Formal refers to the factthat the ontology should be representable in a formalgrammar. Open means that all users of an ontology willrepresent a concept using the same or equivalent set of entities and relationships.However,
is not only for knowledgerepresentation. For example, multiple researchers showmany advantages of using ontologies in the IT area, suchas for capturing, defining, sharing, and reusingknowledge, along with verifiying the correctness of knowledge and being able to reason about an event usingthe stored knowledge of the ontology.
Semantic & knowledge-based representation tools
Ontology as a mechanism for helping systems torepresent knowledge has a large number of exampleapplications; the following sections represent some of themost important applications.
Ontology as a Specification Mechanism
Pragmatically, ontology defines the lexicon that alanguage uses to define the set of queries, commands, andassertions that are available. The language represents anagreement to use the shared vocabulary in a coherent andconsistent manner. Hence, the first and most basic activitythat can be done with ontologies is the definition of knowledge that can be retrieved. This includes things,objects, activities, and other entities of interest, includingevents that have occurred in the environment of thesystem. This enables sensor elements, such as agents, toall use a formal language to describe contextual data in acommon way. Not all the ontologies are built using the same structure.In fact, a number of possible languages can be used, e.g.,Ontolingua (this uses an internal language, KIF , and provides an integrated environment to create and manageontologies); other languages include KL-ONE, CLASSICand LOOM. The Open Knowledge Base Connectivity(OKBC) model and languages like KIF-KnowledgeInterchange Format and CL-Common Logic are examplesthat have become the bases of other ontology languages.There are also languages based on a form of logic thoughtto be especially computable known as description logics,for instance DAML+OIL.Today, the most common exemplar for a servicedefinition language is without doubt the semantic web.The huge quantity of information on the Web emphasizedthe need to have a common lexicon, which in turn raisedinterest in using ontologies. The Semantic Web gave riseto a new family of languages, including RDF and the WebOntology Language (OWL) standard. Both are integral parts of the SemanticWeb, and the latter is a W3Crecommendation. OWL comes with three variations(OWL Full, OWL DL and OWL Lite), each one with own properties that provide different levels of expressivenessfor sharing knowledge. This in turn was the basis for newvariations: OWL–Flight focused in LP (Logic programming) framework ; Ongoing work is proceeding on integrating rules in ontology inspired bysome OWL modelling weaknesses; the building of newlanguages on top of OWL for specific applications likeOWL–S (OWL for Webservices) is now accelerating.
Ontology as an Operational Mechanism
Ontologies are used to describe and establish semanticcommitments about a well-known domain for a set of agents with the objective that they can communicatewithout complicated translation operations into a globalgroup . The idea of semantic commitment  is afunction that links terms of the ontology vocabulary witha conceptualization. In particular, it enables the system tocommunicate about a domain of discourse withoutnecessarily operating on a globally shared theory.Knowledge is attributed to agents who don’t need toknow where the commitments were done, just what theyare and how to use them; an agent "knows" something if itacts as if it had the information and is acting rationally toachieve its goals. Then, we can define conditions thatagents can use to operate with "actions" of the agents; thiscan be seen as a functional interface to tell the agents howto operate for sharing, reuse, verification and reasoning.Ontologies allow the exchange of information betweenapplications at the same and/or different levels of abstractions; this is an important goal, and providesoperational advantages for the user of services andapplications. The semantic commitments defined in theontologies are used to delineate in each case theknowledge that can be shared with agents that commit to
This full text paper was peer reviewed at the direction of IEEE Communications Society subject matter experts for publication in the ICC 2007 proceedings.