The point of having an up-to-date nano ontology server

The nano field is highly interdisciplinary and is rapidly expanding its domain of influence. Consequently, new and previous results in the field are scattered over a growing number of different scientific and technical journals and databases.

Since each discipline has its own terminology, concepts and focus, manual scanning of all documents with textual occurrences of an actual nanotechnological property, material or method is a difficult and uncertain way to collect up-to-date information for research, engineering or investment. Currently, however, this is the only way to harvest the accumulating knowledge in the nano field. With a fully developed nano ontology server in place, a coherent terminology and classification standard can be maintained across sub disciplines, allowing efficient, reliable data collection and improved interdisciplinary communication.


NQCG´s project for developing an open platform for semi-automatic Ontology Engineering and Evolution (Ontolution) for nanotechnology is a major international research project aiming to facilitate an IT infrastructure and central ontology server for the nanomaterials research community to collaboratively advance development of nanotechnology.

Key words: Nanoscience, nanomaterials, nanotechnology, nanomaterials data, nanoinformatics, nanomaterials databases, nanotechnology standards.

Topics: Data integration, interoperability, collaboration, communication, information exchange.

A key concept in the Semantic Web (SW) initiative of the W3C is the notion of ontologies. In the nanoscience and nanotechnology field, there is still no ontology standard in place. The goal is to automate engineering and maintenance of nano-ontology standards for improved data integration and interoperability in order to advance science & technology and bring big savings for the industry and the public sectors. To achieve this we provide a collaborative environment for research, standardization and innovation in nanotechnology and the integration of advanced techniques of ontology design. The platform and approaches used are general and can be applied in any sector or information system.

This project addresses the problem of building a platform for ontology engineering, evaluation and evolution that facilitates the task of establishing and keeping updated industry-quality ontologies. The platform incorporates a range of interchangeable techniques and theories and is geared towards the needs from the nanoscience and nanotechnology discipline. Project focus is to provide cost-effective practical technologies for producing high-quality relevant ontologies. The project’s technologies and models impact the industry and the research community at different levels:

  • Intelligent search & mining: Content-based processing of and reasoning about domain-dependent data sources
  • Seamless infrastructure: Open infrastructures for all types of media and equipment as permanent available resources for collaboration and exchange
  • Communication: Interactive, value-increasing services and information for collaboration in and across communities and organizations, and for people in roles as citizens and customers.

The deliverables of the project include a platform for semi-automatic learning and evolution of ontologies, logical and statistical techniques for ontology manipulation and refinement, and a full-fledged ontology for searching and mining nanoscience and nanotechnology research papers and electronic media. The platform is realized through an executable model and related tool support, and demonstrated by applications to case studies relevant to nanoscience, nanomaterials and nanotechnology.

More information about the project can be found in our Technology and Products sections.

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Image Courtesy A. Dzurak, University of New South Wales

NQCG's primary research interest is the realization of quantum simulators capable of complex computations in the fields of nanoscience and continuum mechanics.


NQCG is developing an open semantic e-infrastructure system and international collaborative environment for open-source research, standardization and innovation in future and emerging convergent technologies and the integration of state-of-the-art techniques of ontology design.