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ontology

Sunday 13 November 2005

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Definition: In computer science and information science, an ontology is a formal naming and definition of the types, properties, and interrelationships of the entities that really or fundamentally exist for a particular domain of discourse. It is thus a practical application of philosophical ontology, with a taxonomy.

An ontology compartmentalizes the variables needed for some set of computations and establishes the relationships between them.

The fields of artificial intelligence, the Semantic Web, systems engineering, software engineering, biomedical informatics, library science, enterprise bookmarking, and information architecture all create ontologies to limit complexity and to organize information. The ontology can then be applied to problem solving.

Philosophy

In philosophy, ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, becoming, existence, or reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations.

Traditionally listed as a part of the major branch of philosophy known as metaphysics, ontology deals with questions concerning what entities exist or may be said to exist, and how such entities may be grouped, related within a hierarchy, and subdivided according to similarities and differences.

Although ontology as a philosophical enterprise is highly theoretical, it also has practical application in information science and technology, such as ontology engineering.

It is a branch of study concerned with the nature and relations of being, or things which exist.

Metaphysics is customarily divided into ontology, which deals with the question of how many fundamentally distinct sorts of entities compose the universe, and metaphysics proper, which is concerned with describing the most general traits of reality.