CORALVILLE, IA, April 21, 2015 -- Structured Dynamics today released version 1.20 of the open source UMBEL (Upper Mapping and Binding Exchange Layer) vocabulary and ontology. The key advances in this new version include refinements to the UMBEL generator, improved tests for satisfiabliity and coherence, and additional mappings and structure to aid UMBEL's role as a computing overlay for existing knowledge bases, such as Wikipedia.
UMBEL's Web site states its first purpose is to provide a general vocabulary of classes and predicates for describing domain ontologies, with the specific aim of promoting interoperability with external datasets and domains. Its stated second purpose is to provide a coherent framework of reference subjects and topics for grounding relevant Web-accessible content.
These are the principal changes between the last public release, version 1.10, and this version 1.20:
According to Michael Bergman, one of UMBEL's co-editors, the most important advance is the addition of an Attributes Ontology. He points to the prior articles of An UMBEL Extension for Attributes and Conceptual and Practical Distinctions in the Attributes Ontology for more information.
UMBEL presently has about 35,000 reference concepts drawn from the Cyc knowledge base, split into 'core' and a series of optional modules, which are organized into 32 mostly disjoint SuperTypes.There is also a big graph visualization of the structure.
Bergman listed some of the benefits from using the UMBEL system to include:
UMBEL is being developed and refined via large-scale use cases.
A number of improvements have been brought to the system to
make it more testable, manageable, and flexible. The first
improvement was to introduce the so-called SuperTypes to UMBEL (details may be
To make UMBEL more tractable, it has also been modularized it into 'core', 'geo', 'entities', and 'attributes' modules (the latter two modules being added in this new release). The modules can be swapped out with other external options or left out of analysis if not needed for a given domain interest. Formal mappings are available to other important external reference sets such as Wikipedia, OpenCyc, schema.org, the DBpedia ontology,GeoNames and PROTON.
Beginning with version 1.10, a new UMBEL generator written in Clojure was added to the system that allows the entire system to be built and tested from a series of simple input files. The system ties into the OWL API for certain tests and capabilities (UMBEL is OWL 2-compliant).
Though UMBEL retains its same mission as when the system was first formulated eight years ago, Fred Giasson, another of UMBEL's co-editors, sees its role expanding. The two key areas of expansion are in UMBEL's use to model and map instance data attributes and in acting as a computable overlay for Wikipedia (and other knowledge bases). These two areas of expansion are still a work in progress.
This UMBEL version 1.20 marks the first expression of the Attributes Ontology. The mapping to Wikipedia is now about 72% complete. There likely will need to be a series of releases over time to refine these newer capabilities. As Bergman notes, "We want to get to a 100% coverage point with Wikipedia, and then to exercise the structure for machine learning and other tests against the KB. One of our ultimate goals is to turn Wikipedia into a fully computable knowledge structure."
The UMBEL Web site provides various online tools and Web services for exploring and using UMBEL. The UMBEL Vocabulary or the UMBEL Reference Concept ontology may be downloaded from its GitHub site under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. Other documents and backup are also available from that location.
Technical specifications for UMBEL and its various annexes are available from the UMBEL wiki site, including a PDF version of the specifications. from there. You are also welcomed to participate on the UMBEL mailing list.
Structured Dynamics LLC
Email: mike at structureddynamics dot com