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Computer ontology refers to the interpretation of a group of ideas within a specific domain that defines the interrelationship between those ideas. Ontology can be used to study the existence of entities within a specific domain and sometimes can be used to identify the domain itself.
In the context of computers, ontology acts as a structural framework. It is widely use to organize information and concepts in fields such as artificial intelligence, systems, semantics, and biomedical and information architecture.
Ontology is derived from a branch of philosophy called metaphysics, which is concerned with the study of what exists. In computer science, ontology renders a framework for defining the domain that consists of a set of concepts, characteristics and relationships.
The meaning of certain information is generally expressed based on conceptual information models, which are used for modeling applications and structuring data. The primary concepts used for building such models include entity, activity, element and purpose. The conceptual models define the semantic terms and mechanisms for organizing the information by making a set of assumptions about the actual applications to be modeled. For example, if an application is assumed to include interrelated entities, the conceptual model defines terms such as property and relationship.
For example, Common Algebraic Specification Language, is a de facto standard in software specification that is also considered an ontology language. It encodes specifications for software modularity and structuring, with the aim of subsuming many other existing specification languages.