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Semantic Web

Short name: SW
SITS code: COIY053H7
Credits: 15 credits
Level: 7
Module leader: Michael Zakharyaschev
Lecturer(s): Michael Zakharyaschev


To introduce the theoretical foundations of the Semantic Web, which brings semantics to the (syntactic) Internet, and to provide students both with theoretical and practical skills of building ontologies.


  • The history of the Semantic Web. Syntactic vs semantic web. Ontologies in (Computer) Science.
  • The layered approach to the Semantic Web. XML, the tree model of XML documents, XML Schema. Querying XML documents, XPath.
  • RDF (Resource Description Framework). RDF Schema. RDF/S semantics.
  • Requirements for ontology languages. From RDFS to OWL. Three species of OWL. OWL ontologies.
  • Ontology engineering.
  • Reasoning with OWL. Open vs closed worlds. Constructors.
  • Description logics.
  • Reasoning with description logics. Tableau algorithms.
  • OWL as a description logic.
  • Lab sessions: OWL and the Protege/OWL tools.




All dates and timetables are listed in the programme handbooks of individual programmes.



By 2-hour written examination and by practical coursework. The written examination will have a weighting of 80% and the coursework a weighting of 20% of the final mark.

Recommended reading

  • 1. Grigoris Antoniou and Frank van Harmelen. A Semantic Web Primer. MIT Press, 2004.
  • 2. Pascal Hitzler, Markus Kroetzsch and Sebastian Rudolph. Foundations of Semantic Web Technologies. Chapman & Hall, 2009.
  • 3. Dean Allemang and Jim Hendler. Semantic Web for the Working Ontologist. Morgan Kaufmann, 2008.