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DL-workbench: a meta-model driven ontology manipulation tool

Mikhail Kazakov from Open CASCADE S.A. has recently released a prototype of a new ontology manipulation tool: DL-workbench. DL-workbench is an open source application within the framework of a research project on intelligent integration of engineering components (CAD-to-FEM integration).

Open CASCADE S.A. has just released a prototype of its new tool for ontology manipulation: DL-workbench. It is a first software milestone of the Open CASCADE’s research project on intelligent semi-automated integration of engineering components. This project is mainly dedicated to automated CAD-to-FEM integration. An "ontology" term stands for a formal mathematical model that describes human or machine knowledge in a specific domain. DL-workbench is published under the Open Cascade’s open source license and can be used by a variety of researchers and interested parties all around the world. DL-workbench can be freely downloaded from web site and used for ontology engineering.
DL-workbench has an open modular structure integrated with IBM EclipseTM environment. That allows integrating the DL-workbench with many Eclipse-compatible environments such as IBM WebSphereTM or IBM’s Rational XDETM for JavaTM. The tool is made of three main modules:
  • Meta-modeling module – an Eclipse-independent module that implements a meta-model repository and a language for description of ontological formalisms and data structures.
  • Generic ontology editor module – an Eclipse plug-in based on the meta-model, independent from a specific ontological formalism used. The user interface of this module captures the ontological model from a meta-model repository and generates all necessary UI controls for managing the lifecycle of ontological elements.
  • SHIQ description logic editor module – an extension of the generic ontology editor for very expressive description logic SHIQ and its persistent representation in DAML+OIL language. This module defines SHIQ logic in terms of a meta-model and provides an extended user interface for complex logical expressions and axioms.

Each module of the DL-workbench exports an open pattern-based JavaTM API. That allows third party developers to reuse existing modules and to develop new ones.
The area of intelligent software integration is an emerging activity within the Open CASCADE S.A. This research is intended for the further strengthening of the Open CASCADE’s leading position in CAD-to-FEM integration domain. DL-workbench prototype was created by Mikhail Kazakov within the bounds of its Ph.D. thesis with the active participation of CNRS PSI laboratory of INSA de Rouen, France.

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