The third Interdisciplinary Ontology Conference was held in Tokyo, Japan, from February 27 to February 28 2010. Organized by the Japanese Center for Ontological Research (JCOR) and cosponsored by the Japanese Government‟s Ministry of Education and Science (MEXT), the stated goal of this forum is to support the “exchange of ideas and state-of-the-art technologies for those working in the ontology domain from around the world”. The event has a quite unique flavor, for it gathers researchers from disciplines as disparate as computer science, logic and philosophy, as well as a variety of application domains. The common thread is the discipline of ontology, which has undoubtedly gone a long way since its early days in ancient Greece. We all know that ontology began as a branch of philosophy, studying the types of entities in reality and the relations between them. In the seventies, the early researchers in artificial intelligence borrowed the word from philosophy and applied it to their discipline. Consequently, if ontology used to be intended as a systematic account of Existence, within this new context, what “exists” has become that which can be represented using a computer. Disciplines such as ontology engineering were soon to be born, which investigated (among various other more technical aspects) how to best employ the rich body of theory from philosophical ontology to the purpose of making conceptual distinctions in a systematic and coherent manner. Nowadays ontology has become an established branch of computer science, which offers solutions to problem in areas as disparate as data integration, information retrieval, natural language processing, industrial planning and many others.
As already mentioned, it is not uncommon for this conference's attendees to be almost unable to follow a talk, for it uses the word 'ontology' in a way never heard before. This is, on the contrary, one of the most interesting aspects of the strongly interdisciplinary meeting. In the review that follows we hope to give to the reader a small taste of this feeling, and a better appreciation of the many senses we can talk about ontology in 2010.
Review of Interontology conference 2010.
Humana Mente, Journal of Philosophical Studies, 13, May 2010. Issue 13