This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Ontology conference to be held today

UB site of new national center hosts inaugural event

Published: October 27, 2005

Contributing Editor

The National Center for Ontological Research (NCOR) at UB will present its inaugural conference from 2-5 p.m. today in the Center for the Arts, North Campus.

Sponsored by the center, UB's New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences and the College of Arts and Sciences, the conference will feature participants from academic and industrial institutions from several nations involved in informatics and ontological development.

The conference will be followed by the Workshop on Bio-Ontologies, to be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow in 205 Alfiero Center, Jacobs Management Center, North Campus and sponsored by NCOR and Stanford's National Center for Biomedical Ontology (cBIO).

Both events will be free and open to the public, but those wishing to attend are asked to notify the conveners beforehand at

Today's conference will open at 2 p.m. with an introduction by Bruce A. Holm, UB senior vice provost and executive director of the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.

He will be followed by Barry Smith, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Julian Park Professor of Philosophy at UB, who directs NCOR-Buffalo and who will discuss the nature and mission of the center, which works with partner institutions drawn from academia, government and industry.

Welcoming remarks by President John B. Simpson will follow, as well as presentations by several speakers:

  • John Walker of the U.S. National Security Agency, who will make a presentation on "Ontology and National Security."

  • Brand Niemann of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, who will present a talk titled "Towards e-Government: The Federal Enterprise Architecture Reference Ontology."

  • Mark Musen of Stanford Medical Informatics and director of NCOR-Stanford, who will describe the nature and mission of the National Center for Biomedical Ontology.

  • Werner Ceusters of the European Centre for Ontological Research, who will discuss the need for international coordination of ontological research.

The following day, NCOR and cBIO will sponsor a workshop on bio-ontologies in 205 Alfiero Center.

The first presenter at 10 a.m. will be Frank Hartel of the National Cancer Institute, followed by Sumi Yoshikawa of the Japanese Ontology Forum/GSC Riken, Suzanna Lewis of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Oliver Bodenreider of the National Library of Medicine: Medical Oncology Research Section. David Hill of the Gene Oncology Consortium and Barry Smith will begin the symposium proper at 2:30 p.m.

Participants in the two events also will include representatives of Ontology Works Inc., Fungal Web, National Center for Research Resources, Apelon Inc., Mitre Corp., TopQuadrant Inc., Cognigen Corp., the National Cancer Institute, the Gene Ontology Consortium, the Ontology Group of the Sierra Nevada Corp. Intelligence Program and the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories.

Also, Agilense Inc., The KEVRIC Company Inc., the Center for Multisource Information Fusion, GlaxoSmithKline, National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, the Rat Genome Database, the Boeing Corporation, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the Structural Informatics Group/Seattle, the Medical University of South Carolina Biomedical Ontology Research Group, the Mouse Genome Informatics Project at the Jackson Laboratory (ME) and the Berkeley Drosophila Genome Project.

Other participants include academicians from the UB School of Dental Medicine and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, as well as the University of Toronto and Texas A&M University.

Ontology is both a branch of philosophy and a fast-growing component of computer science concerned with the development of formal representations of the entities and relations existing in a variety of application domains. It has been shown to have considerable potential on the level of both pure research and applications. It provides foundations for diverse technologies in such areas as information integration, natural language processing, data annotation and the construction of intelligent computer systems and their applications across many disciplines. NCOR is affiliated with 11 UB departments, schools and research centers.