Tutorial T12-M - Rules on the Web

Benjamin Grosof, Vulcan Inc

Mike Dean, BBN Technologies

Michael Kifer, Stony Brook University

Raphael Volz, Innovation Consulting GmbH


Rules is probably the most important frontier area today for the Semantic Web’s core technology and standards, and is a main emerging area of the Web overall. Rules extend databases and ontologies with more powerful, flexible, and active forms of “structured” knowledge (as opposed to “unstructured” knowledge such as text), and have a number of close relationships to other aspects of the overall Web such as services, trust, query/search, and collective intelligence. There are a number of exciting research issues, and web rules functionality is being mainstreamed into core industry products such as Oracle’s database suite. Recent progress includes fundamental advances in the underlying knowledge representation techniques and in the integration of rules with ontologies and database query/search; major initial industry standards from W3C and OMG nearing finalization; substantive translations between heterogeneous types of commercial rule engines; development of open-source tools for inferencing and interoperability; a wide range of emerging applications including in business, science, and trust; and accelerating industry investments/acquisitions in the technology including by integrated software companies such as Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft. This tutorial will provide a comprehensive and up-to-date introduction to these developments and to the fundamentals of the key technologies involved. It will explore example application scenarios, overall requirements and challenges, and touch upon business/social value and strategy considerations.


Benjamin Grosof (lead presenter) is a Senior Research Program Manager at Vulcan Inc., the company of Paul G. Allen (co-founder of Microsoft). There he conceived and leads a new large research program in the area of rule-based semantic technologies and artificial intelligence. Prior to joining Vulcan in 2007, he was a professor of Information Technology at MIT, in the Sloan School of Management. His research has involved the creation of technologies for the new generation web, in which e-services and business communication are more knowledge- and agent-based. In particular, he has pioneered semantic technology and standards for rules, their combination with ontologies, including in the Semantic Web, and several of their applications in business and web services. He co-founded the influential RuleML industry standards design effort, and the International Conference on Rules and Rule Markup Languages for the Semantic Web (later changed in name to the International Conference on Web Reasoning and Rule Systems). He was lead inventor of the rule-based technique which rapidly became the currently dominant approach to commercial implementation of OWL. Prior to joining MIT Sloan in 2000, he was a senior research scientist, in software, at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center (12 years there), where most recently he conceived and led IBM CommonRules and co-led its application piloting for rule-based XML agent contracting in EECOMS, a $29 Million NIST industry-government consortium project on manufacturing supply chain collaboration. His notable technical contributions also include fundamental advances in rulebased intelligent agents, conflict handling for rules, rule-based security authorization, and integration of rules with machine learning. He is author of over 50 refereed publications, three major industry software releases, and two patents. His background includes two years in software startups, a PhD in Computer Science (specialty Artificial Intelligence) from Stanford University, and a BA in Applied Mathematics (specialty Economics and Management Science) from Harvard University. Dr. Grosof has given numerous invited talks about rules on the Web, and developed several MIT courses with substantial focus on it. He presented (with co-authors) related tutorials at the Intl. Joint Conf. on Artificial Intelligence (2001), ACM Conf. on E-Commerce (2004), Intl. Semantic Web Conf. (2004, 2005, 2006), and the WWW2006 conference. He was WWW2001 program area co-chair for the Security and E-Commerce area.

Mike Dean is a Principal Engineer at BBN Technologies. As Principal Investigator for the DAML Integration and Transition effort within the DARPA Agent Markup Language (DAML) program, he chaired the Joint US/EU ad hoc Markup Language Committee responsible for the DAML+OIL and SWRL languages, co-edited the OWL Web Ontology Language Reference, and was a member of the W3C RDF Core and Web Ontology Working Groups and the Architecture Committee of the Semantic Web Services Initiative. He remains a member of the RuleML Steering Committee and the W3C Rule Interchange Format Working Group. He is the developer of a number of Semantic Web tools and reference data sets and has been actively using SWRL in a variety of Semantic Web applications. He holds a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Stanford University. Mr. Dean has given numerous talks on the Semantic Web, including an early tutorial "DAML+OIL for Application Developers" and tutorials (with Benjamin Grosof) at the Intl. Semantic Web Conf. (2004, 2005, 2006) and WWW2006.

Michael Kifer is a Professor with the Department of Computer Science, State University of New York at Stony Brook, USA. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1984 from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, and the M.S. degree in Mathematics in 1976 from Moscow State University, Russia. Dr. Kifer's interests include Web information systems, knowledge representation, and database systems. He has published four text books and numerous articles in these areas. In particular, he co-invented F-logic, HiLog, and Transaction Logic, which are among the most widely cited works in Computer Science and, especially, in Semantic Web research. Dr. Kifer serves on the editorial boards of several computer science journals and chaired several conferences. Twice, in 1999 and 2002, he was a recipient of the prestigious ACM-SIGMOD "Test of Time" awards for his works on F-logic and object-oriented database languages. In 2006, he was a Plumer Fellow at Oxford University's St. Anne's College and in 2008 he received SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship.

Raphael Volz is managing director of Raphael Volz Innovation Consulting GmbH, a boutique consulting firm focused on bringing their clients from idea to a market-ready product. Much of his current work is as technical lead for extending Semantic MediaWiki to include rules. Raphael has studied computer science and Genetics at the universities of Karlsruhe and Heidelberg and wasawarded a PhD with high distinction for "Web Ontology Reasoning with Logic Databases" in 2004. He was a management consultant with Booz & Co, a leading strategy consultancy, and was awarded the 2006 "Professional Excellence Award" there. He has presented tutorials on Semantic Web related topics at WWW, ISWC and IJCAI and has co-authored two books related to reasoning with and management of ontologies.