Semantic Technologies (autumn 2017)
This module is a gentle introduction to Semantic Technologies that provide easier ways to find, share, reuse and combine information. Semantic Technologies define and link data on the web or within an enterprise by developing languages to express rich, self-describing interrelations of data in a form that machines can process.
They provide an abstraction layer above existing IT technologies that connects data, content and processes. Semantic Technology standards developed by W3C include
Applications of Semantic Technologies range from Linked Data, Wikidata, Healthcare and Pharma Industry, Supply Chain Management, Publishing and Media Management, Web Search and E-commerce to Data Integration in the Oil & Gas industry.
- a flexible data model RDF (Resource Description Framework) for storing data in graph databases
- schema and ontology languages for describing concepts and relationships (RDFS and OWL)
- the query language SPARQL designed to query data across various systems and databases and to retrieve and process data stored in RDF format
The aims of this module are to
- introduce the theoretical foundations of Semantic Technologies, including the languages RDF/S, SPARQL, the Web Ontology Language OWL
- provide the students with practical skills of modelling data using RDF/S, querying RDF triplestores, and building ontologies
- overview the current applications of Semantic Technologies in health care, media management, and industry
- demonstrate a few standard algorithms for classification of concepts in ontologies
By the end of the module, the student should be able to:
- understand fundamental concepts, advantages and limitations of Semantic Technologies;
- understand and use the RDF framework and associated technologies such as RDFa and SPARQL;
- understand and use the ontology language OWL 2 and its profiles;
- understand the principles of ontology-based data access and integration;
- understand the basics of knowledge representation with description logics.
Michael Zakharyaschev, Room 161, Main Building, tel: 020 7631
Lectures: Fridays 18:00-20:00, room 403 Main Building
Labs and tutorials: Fridays 20:00-21:00, room 403 Main Building (tutor Dr Stanislav Kikot)
If you have questions about the module, please send them by email; or email
for an appointment.
Module Structure and Assessment
- 33 lecture, tutorial and lab hours over 11 weeks
- 1 assessed coursework
- written examination in May
- final mark = CW (20%) + exam (80%)
Syllabus, lecture and lab slides, tutorials, and exercises
- Introduction to the module. Ontologies in (Computer) Science. Knowledge graphs. Schema.org. Wikidata.
Lab: building a Don Corleone family ontology. Lab slides OWL file
Lab: building a pizza ontology. Lab slides OWL file
(If you missed this or the previous lab session, have a look at this.)
- Resource Description Framework (RDF). RDF Schema. RDF/S semantics. Terse RDF Triple Language Turtle. Lecture slides
Lab: producing RDF triples: by hand, from tables,
from natural texts. Answers.
- RDF query Language SPARQL. Lecture slides
Lab: Querying RDF triplestores: DBpedia exercise 1, German cities exercise 2 (answers). Bonus: setting up and querying an Apache Fuseki triplestore (step-by-step instructions). cities.ttl.
- Introduction to ontology-based data access (OBDA). OBDA platform Ontop. Lecture slides
Lab: setting up ontology-based access to the IMDB database. Exercises Answers
- Requirements for ontology languages. From RDFS to OWL. OWL ontologies. Lecture slides and tutorial Ontology
- Ontology engineering. OWL ontologies in life sciences and industry. Lab: designing a travel agent's ontology. Lecture slides and lab
- Open vs closed worlds. Reasoning with OWL. Lecture slides and lab
- Introduction to Description Logic and formal semantics. Lecture slides Exercises Solutions More exercises More exercises
- All the material needed for a successful exam is covered by the slides, exercises, and
P. Szeredi, G. Lukacsy and T. Benko.
The Semantic Web Explained. The technology and mathematics behind Web 3.0. Cambridge University Press, 2014. ISBN 978-0-521-70036-8
David Wood, Marsha Zaidman and Luke Ruth.
Linked Data. Manning Publications, 2013. ISBN 9781617290398.
Pascal Hitzler, Markus Kroetzsch and Sebastian Rudolph.
Foundations of Semantic Web Technologies. Chapman & Hall, 2009. ISBN 978-1420090505. Supplementary materials and slides are available
Grigoris Antoniou and Frank van Harmelen.
A Semantic Web Primer. MIT Press, 2004. ISBN 0-262-01210-3.
- Web resources:
Installing Protégé Ontology Editor
The Protégé Ontology Editor can be downloaded from
This file is a
standard installation program.
Issued on 11 December 2017. Submission deadline: 19 January 2018; late submission deadline: 2 February 2018.