Discovery of Emerging Design Patterns in Ontologies Using Tree Mining

Tracking #: 1516-2728

Agnieszka Lawrynowicz
Jedrzej Potoniec
Michal Robaczyk
Tania Tudorache

Responsible editor: 
Rinke Hoekstra

Submission type: 
Full Paper
The research goal of this work is to investigate modeling patterns that recur in ontologies. Such patterns may originate from certain design solutions, and they may possibly indicate emerging ontology design patterns. We describe our tree-mining method for identifying the emerging design patterns. The method works in two steps: (1) we transform the ontology axioms in a tree shape in order to find axiom patterns; and then, (2) we use association analysis to mine co-occuring axiom patterns in order to extract emerging design patterns. We conduct an experimental study on a set of 331 ontologies from the BioPortal repository. We show that recurring axiom patterns appear across all individual ontologies, as well as across the whole set. In individual ontologies, we find frequent and non-trivial patterns with and without variables. Some of the former patterns have more than 300,000 occurrences. The longest pattern without a variable discovered from the whole ontology set has size 12, and it appears in 14 ontologies. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first method for automatic discovery of emerging design patterns in ontologies. Finally, we demonstrate that we are able to automatically detect patterns, for which we have manually confirmed that they are fragments of ontology design patterns described in the literature. Since our method is not specific to particular ontologies, we conclude that we should be able to discover new, emerging design patterns for arbitrary ontology sets.
Full PDF Version: 


Solicited Reviews:
Click to Expand/Collapse
Review #1
By Vojtěch Svátek submitted on 06/Dec/2016
Review Comment:

My previous recommendation was already 'accept', and I do not have any reason to change it. I can also repeat my general summary:
- Originality: I find the problem addressed (mining sensible patterns from ontologies, well balancing the degree of domain entity generalization) not yet sufficiently tackled, and the approach taken is novel in many respects.
- Significance of the results: The output of the method could be practically useful for ontology designers, tool developers and users. As the authors notice, future work should involve expert users in evaluation of the mined fragments.
- Quality of writing: acceptable.

The authors have also meanwhile properly reacted to my remaining comments.

My only remaining unclarity is the following. The authors wrote in their response letter, in reaction to my comment on the missing string-to-axiom algorithm:
"We have formalized the algorithm and published as a supplementary material at"
The supplementary file is OK. However, I am not able to identify any clear reference to it in the paper text. Sorry if there is some misunderstanding on my side - and if I am right then it is probably a few minutes' work to add the reference to the text.