What is ontology? - Definition from WhatIs.com
Part of the Computing fundamentals glossary:

In general, ontology (pronounced ahn-TAH-luh-djee ) is the study or concern about what kinds of things exist - what entities there are in the universe. It derives from the Greek onto (being) and logia (written or spoken discourse). It is a branch of metaphysics , the study of first principles or the essence of things.

In information technology, an ontology is the working model of entities and interactions in some particular domain of knowledge or practices, such as electronic commerce or "the activity of planning." In artificial intelligence ( AI ), an ontology is, according to Tom Gruber, an AI specialist at Stanford University, "the specification of conceptualizations, used to help programs and humans share knowledge." In this usage, an ontology is a set of concepts - such as things, events, and relations - that are specified in some way (such as specific natural language) in order to create an agreed-upon vocabulary for exchanging information.

This was last updated in September 2005
Contributor(s): Gord Larose; Price Kruse
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms


  • Turing test

    - In artificial intelligence (AI), the Turing Test is a method for determining whether or not a computer is capable of thinking like a human. (WhatIs.com)

  • telepresence

    - Telepresence is a sophisticated form of robotic remote control in which a human operator has a sense of being in a remote location so that the experience resembles virtual reality (VR). (WhatIs.com)

  • gravity wave (or gravitational wave)

    - A gravity wave (or gravitational wave) is a ripple in the curvature of the space-time continuum (the enmeshed combination of our three perceived physical dimensions, plus time) created by the movem... (WhatIs.com)


  • Computing fundamentals

    - Terms related to computer fundamentals, including computer hardware definitions and words and phrases about software, operating systems, peripherals and troubleshooting.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question. Find an Answer.Powered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Ask An IT Question

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Ask Question

Tech TalkComment



    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.