A new article out of AI3 discusses the need for ontology-based approaches in software engineering. According to the article, “In the U.S. alone, about 2 million people work as programmers or related. It goes without saying that software is a very big deal. No matter what the metrics, it is expensive to develop and maintain software. This is also true for open source, which has its own costs of ownership. Designing software faster with fewer mistakes and more re-use and robustness have clearly been emphases in computer science and the discipline of programming from its inception.”

The article goes on to examine the role of ontologies in these emphases, noting that ontologies and semantic web-related approaches have been part of software engineering for over a decade. Advantages of ontology-based approaches include re-use, reduced development time, increased reliability and decreased maintenance costs, according to the article. “These first four items are similar to the benefits argued for other software engineering methodologies,” but further advantages—reduced conceptual gap, facilitation of automation, and agility/flexibility—are unique to ontology based approaches. The article then lists potential ways that “ontologies may contribute to information systems,” including domain modeling, automated agents, and model-driven architectures.

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