Birgitta König-Ries
Volker Haarslev

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Keynote speakers

Birgitta König-Ries

Heinz-Nixdorf Endowed Chair for Distributed Information Systems
Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, Germany

Birgitta König-Ries holds the Heinz-Nixdorf Endowed Chair for Distributed Information Systems at the University of Jena, Germany. Prior to this she has worked with the Technical University of Munich, Florida International University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and the University of Karlsruhe. Birgitta holds both a diploma and a PhD from the latter. Her research is focused on the transparent integration of both information and functionality. In particular, her group is working on semantic web services and portal technology and on applying these technologies to research data management.

Why Biodiversity Science needs Semantics

Biodiversity science investigates biological diversity on all levels and scales. There is strong evidence that biodiversity is declining at unprecedented rates and that this will have dire consequences for humankind. Consequently, there is a strong need for science to support political decision making in this area. Thus key questions of biodiversity science are: What is out there? Why is it there? Does it matter (to us)? How can we save it?

In this talk, we argue that computer science in general and semantics in particular are essential to answering these questions and that biodiversity science needs more involvement by computer scientists.  We will take a look at a number of projects on biodiversity and will investigate the role of computer science in them and how semantics can help.

Volker Haarslev

Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering
Concordia University, Montreal, Canada

Volker Haarslev holds the position of Professor at Concordia’s Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering and also serves as its graduate program director (research). He obtained his doctoral degree from the University of Hamburg, Germany, specializing in user interface design. He later worked as senior research scientist and part-time instructor at the University of Hamburg. He is internationally regarded for his substantial research contributions in the field of description logic reasoning. He is also a principal architect of the description logic and semantic web reasoning architecture RACER and a co-founder of the company Racer Systems marketing the commercial system RacerPro that is based on the RACER architecture. Volker has published in all major conferences on knowledge representation, semantic web, and artificial intelligence, and in selected journals. His research group mostly works on foundations of description logic reasoning.

Speed-forming your ontology or how to improve reasoning performance for your OWL ontology

In this talk we describe the OWL reasoning landscape and its obstacles. We overview the three tractable OWL fragments and discuss dramatic speed improvements achieved by corresponding specialized reasoners. Furthermore, various combinations of OWL constructors and their impact on practical reasoning performance are analyzed. In the last part we give a brief overview of promising approaches to speed up reasoning for OWL ontologies that are outside of the three tractable OWL fragments.

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