The Conferences on Formal Ontology in Information Systems

FOIS is the flagship conference of the International Association for Ontology and its Applications (IAOA), which is a non-profit organization the purpose of which is to promote interdisciplinary research and international collaboration at the intersection of philosophical ontology, linguistics, logic, cognitive science, and computer science, as well as in the applications of ontological analysis to conceptual modeling, knowledge engineering, knowledge management, information-systems development, library and information science, scientific research, and semantic technologies in general.

Ontology, originally a fundamental part of philosophical enquiry, is concerned with the analysis and categorization of what exists. In recent years, however, a complementary focus of ontological inquiry gained significant momentum fueled by the advent of complex information systems which rely on robust and coherent, formal representations of their subject matter.

The systematic study of such representations, their axiomatics, their corresponding reasoning techniques and their relations to cognition and reality, are at the center of the modern discipline of formal ontology.

Formal ontology in this modern sense is now a research focus in such diverse domains as conceptual modeling, database design, software engineering, organizational modeling, artificial intelligence, computational linguistics, the life sciences, bioinformatics, geographic information science, knowledge engineering, information retrieval, and the semantic web. Researchers in all these areas increasingly recognize the need for serious engagement with ontology, understood as a general theory of the types of entities and relations making up their respective domains of enquiry, in providing a solid foundation for their work.

The FOIS conferences are designed to provide a meeting point for researchers from all disciplines with an interest in formal ontology. The conferences encourage submission of high quality articles on both theoretical issues and concrete applications.

The philosophical discipline of Ontology has become practically relevant with the evolution of complex information systems which rely on robust and coherent representations. Such representations and associated reasoning techniques constitute the modern discipline of formal ontology, which is now applied to artificial intelligence, computational linguistics, bioinformatics, geographic information science, knowledge engineering, information retrieval, and the Semantic Web. FOIS is intended to explore both theoretical issues and concrete applications.