This description structure is based on the use of the upper-level ontology BFO and the extensive reuse of classes from the mid-level ontologies OBI and IAO. The proposed three layer description structure is orthogonal to the vertical ontology architecture which comprises an:

  • upper-level,
  • a mid-level, and
  • a domain level.

This means that each vertical level contains all three description layers.

The specification layer contains BFO: generically dependent continuants at the upper-level, and IAO: information content entities at the mid-level. In the domain of data mining, example classes are data mining task and data mining algorithm.

The implementation layer describes BFO: specifically dependent continuants, such as BFO: realizable entities (entities that are executable in a process). At the domain level, this layer contains classes that describe the implementations of algorithms.

The application layer contains classes that aim at representing processes, e.g., extensions of BFO: processual entity. Examples of (planned) process entities in the domain of data mining are the execution of a data mining algorithm and the application of a generalization on new data, among others.

Relations between layers

The entities in each layer are connected using general relations, that are layer independent, and layer specific relations. Examples of general relations are is-a and part-of: they can only be used to relate entities from the same description layer. For example, an information entity (member of the specification layer) can not have as parts processual entities (members of the application layer). Layer specific relations can be used only with entities from a specific layer. For example, the relation precedes is only used to relate two processual entities. The description layers are connected using cross-layer relations. An entity from the specification layer is-concretized-as an entity from the implementation layer. Next, an implementation entity is-realized-by an application entity. Finally, an application entity, e.g., a planned process achieves-planned-objective, which is a specification entity.

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