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Knowledge Representation for the Semantic Web

CS 790 course given at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio. Winter 2010


Prof. Dr. Pascal Hitzler, 389 Joshi
Office hours: Tuesdays 4:15pm to 5:15pm and by appointment. I will also be available after class.
Please use email as main means of communication with me (besides talking with me in or after class).

Brief Description

Semantic Web is a maturing field of technology that continues to be the emphasis of much focused re-search and industrial investigation. The central idea behind Semantic Web is to enhance data on the World Wide Web by so-called metadata, which describes the meaning (semantics) of the data and thus makes it available for processing in intelligent systems. In this course we cover in depth the standardized knowledge representation languages for expressing metadata, called ontology languages. We will in particular cover the Resource Description Framework RDF and the Web Ontology Language OWL, both of which are recommended standards by the World Wide Web Consortium W3C.


  • In-depth knowledge of the standard ontology languages RDF and OWL.
  • Working knowledge in ontology modeling.
  • Overview knowledge on software tools for ontology languages.
  • First exposure to current research in ontology languages.

Class Hours, Dates, and Location

Tuesday 2:15pm to 3:55pm in 355 Russ
Thursday 2:15pm to 3:55pm in 365 Joshi
Class starts 5th of January 2010 and ends 18th of March 2010


Pascal Hitzler, Markus Krötzsch, Sebastian Rudolph, Foundations of Semantic Web Technologies. Chapman & Hall/CRC, 2009. ISBN: 9781420090505.


There are no hard prerequisites for this class. Any knowledge about XML and about predicate logic will be helpful, but is not required. Necessary preliminaries will be covered in class.


Introduction, XML, Resource Description Framework RDF and RDF Schema (syntax, semantics, proof theory), Web Ontology Language OWL (syntax, semantics, proof theory), Ontology modeling, Selected ongoing research topics

Schedule (tentative, incomplete)

  • 01/05/10 Motvation/Introduction
  • 01/07/10 XML (essentials, brief recap)
  • 01/12/10 cancelled
  • 01/14/10 cancelled
  • 01/19/10 RDF part 1 - Syntax
  • 01/21/10 RDF part 2 - RDF Schema
  • 01/26/10 RDF part 3 - Semantics
  • 01/28/10 2 class presentations + RDF part 4 - Semantics
  • 02/02/10 exercise session
  • 02/04/10 OWL part 1 - Description Logics
  • 02/09/10 cancelled
  • 02/11/10 OWL part 2 - Model-theoretic Semantics
  • 02/16/10 no class
  • 02/18/10 no class
  • 02/23/10 exercise session
  • 02/25/10 OWL part 3 - Web Syntax
  • 03/01/10 OWL part 4 - Tableaux Calculus + 1 class presentation
  • 03/02/10 class project session
  • 03/04/10 3 class presentations
  • 03/08/10 wrap-up lecture
  • 03/09/10 exercise session
  • 03/11/10 3 class presentations
  • 03/12/10 exams


Exercise sheet: 01-exercises.pdf
Exercise sheet: 02-exercises.pdf
Exercise sheet: 03-exercises.pdf


Homework 10%, Class Presentation 30%, Project 30%, Final Exam 30%

  • Homework: Students will take turns in presenting completed homework in class, and grading will be done by evaluating the participation in the tutorial sessions. (Grading dimensions: correctness, preparedness, understanding of the material, clarity of presentation, frequency of participation.)
  • Class Presentations: The class presentations will be assigned in the first week. Options are pres-entation of prominent ontology software tools or of original research papers. (Grading dimensions: correctness, preparedness, understanding of the material, clarity of presentation.)
  • Project: The project will be an ontology modeling project which will have several parts and run over the whole quarter. Students are expected to write an experience report on each part. (Grading dimensions: adequacy of modeling, clarity and depth of experience report.)
  • Final Exam: The final exam will be oral, i.e. in the form of a short interview (20 minutes), with the examiner asking questions and the student answering. (Grading dimension: understanding of the course contents.)

Final Grades: A: 90-100, B: 80-89, C: 70-79, D: 60-69, F: 0-59. These may be adjusted in favor of the students.