Relational Exploration


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is a dialogue-based method for structurized specification of relational knowledge in terms of a description logic knowledge base. The underlying technique is attribute exploration known from formal concept analysis.


Facing the growing amount of information in today's society, the task of specifying human knowledge in a way that can be unambiguously processed by computers becomes more and more important. Two acknowledged fields in this evolving scientific area of Knowledge Representation are Description Logics (DL) and Formal Concept Analysis (FCA). While DL concentrates on characterizing domains via logical statements and inferring knowledge from these characterizations, FCA builds conceptual hierarchies on the basis of present data. Relational Exploration is a method for acquiring complete relational knowledge about a domain of interest by successively consulting a domain expert without ever asking redundant questions. This is achieved by combining DL and FCA: DL formalisms are used for defining FCA attributes while FCA exploration techniques are deployed to obtain or refine DL knowledge specifications.


There are some tools based on the method of Relational Exploration, implemented by Johanna Völker. Find more information at


  • Sebastian Rudolph, Relational Exploration - Combining Description Logics and Formal Concept Analysis for Knowledge Specification, Dissertation. December 2006.
  • Sebastian Rudolph, A Deduction Calculus for Cumulated Clauses on FLE Concept Descriptions, in Pascal Hitzler, Henrik Schärfe, Peter Øhrstrøm, Inspiration and Application - Contributions to ICCS 2006, pp. 188 - 201. Aalborg University Press, July 2006.
  • Sebastian Rudolph, Exploring Relational Structures via FLE, in Karl Erich Wolff, Heather D. Pfeiffer, Harry S. Delugach, Conceptual Structures at Work: 12th International Conference on Conceptual Structures, volume 3127 of LNCS, pp. 196 -- 212. Springer, Huntsville, AL, USA, July 2004.
  • Sebastian Rudolph, An FCA Method for the Extensional Exploration of Relational Data, in Bernhard Ganter, Aldo de Moor, Using Conceptual Structures, Contributions to ICCS 2003, pp. 197 -- 210. Shaker, Aachen, Dresden, Germany, July 2003.
  • Sebastian Rudolph, Relational Exploration - Reconciling Plato and Aristotle, in Hitzler, Roth-Berghofer, Rudolph, Proceedings of the Workshop on Artificial Intelligence (FAInt-07), volume Vol-277 of CEUR Workshop Proceedings. September 2007.
  • Sebastian Rudolph, Johanna Völker, Pascal Hitzler, Supporting Lexical Ontology Learning by Relational Exploration, in Uta Priss, Simon Polovina, Richard Hill, Conceptual Structures: Knowledge Architectures for Smart Applications, Proc. ICCS 2007, volume 4604 of LNAI, pp. 488 -- 491. Springer, Sheffield, UK, July 2007.
  • Johanna Völker, Sebastian Rudolph, Lexico-Logical Acquisition of OWL DL Axioms - An Integrated Approach to Ontology Refinement , in Raoul Medina and Sergei Obiedkov, Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Formal Concept Analysis (ICFCA'08). Springer, February 2008.
  • Sebastian Rudolph, Acquiring Generalized Domain-Range Restrictions, in Raoul Medina and Sergei Obiedkov, Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Formal Concept Analysis (ICFCA'08). Springer, February 2008.
  • Johanna Völker, Sebastian Rudolph, Fostering Web Intelligence by Semi-automatic OWL Ontology Refinement in Proceedings IEEE/WIC/ACM International Conference on Web Intelligence and Intelligent Agent Technology (WI-IAT 2008). IEEE Computer Society Press, 2008.


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