What is the purpose of the ontology

What does ontology mean in computer science?

On the meaning, origin and use of the term

The ontology is the most important basis for error-free and unambiguous communication in the field of computer science. For this purpose, clear agreements on the terms and formal specifications of the ontology are required in order to be able to serve as a common language. You can find out everything else in this article.

What does ontology mean in computer science?

Ontology is understood to be a formally structured model in the field of knowledge management such as in expert systems or multi-agent systems, which is particularly useful in the integration of information such as in the Semantic Web in the context of the provision of certain defined structures of knowledge, for the organization of knowledge and as a basis for automatic Processes of processing knowledge are used.

Where does the term come from?

Ontology is originally a term from philosophy and linguistics and has a proven and long-standing tradition there. Since the 90 years of the last century, the term has also found its way into computer science and there has been given a different, adapted meaning that addresses the peculiarities of computer science as a science with practical application. Ontology as a term and system has become particularly important in the context of so-called artificial intelligence. The purpose of introducing and using the ontology in computer science was primarily the intention to have domain models available for expert systems (abbr .: XPS) that are essentially application-independent and that can be reused at any time in a clearly defined manner. In addition, in the area of ​​multi-agent systems (abbr .: MAS) a standardized and common communication level should be created in order to have a domain-specific vocabulary available for the dissemination and exchange of messages.

Why do you need ontologies in computer science?

In computer science, ontologies usually appear in linguistic form and with a formal order as representations that make terms and concepts clearly understandable for all participants in a knowledge area. The ontologies enable the exchange of data and messages. This exchange takes place in digitized form as well as in clear formal references and structures. The knowledge transported and transmitted via ontology encompasses the area of ​​general knowledge as well as the conveyance and exchange of specific knowledge from a subject area. Since the participants in the discourse in a subject area know what meaning the specific terms have, communication without misunderstandings and in clearly defined processes and statements is possible with the help of the ontology.

Where are ontologies used? Where do they matter?

In computer science and science management in particular, error-free transmission of data and messages is essential. It is also important that the subject-specific language and the necessary definitions are unequivocally clear for each participant in the context of this scientific discourse. That is why the ontology is the common language that all concerned participants have agreed on. Without this agreement, the use of ontology would be pointless and also ineffective. There are many different levels and variants of the ontology, each of which is classified individually. The basic structure with the indispensable aspect of unification by the participants in the discourse is the same as the basis for all models and variants.


The ontology is one of the most important bases for error-free and unambiguous communication in computing. For this purpose, clear agreements on the terms and formal specifications of the ontology are required in order to be able to serve as a common language. Of course, it is only necessary that this common language is understandable only to the systems involved and participants in the scientific discourse and data processing. With specialist knowledge in ontology, you have the best career prospects in all areas of IT.

You can get a short introduction to the ontologies in the form of a lecture recording here: