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How can different databases exchange information?

Building up robust frameworks for the automatic management of informatics content: this is not only a technological challenge, but it requires also a precise conceptual analysis. At ISTC the Laboratory for Applied Ontology (LOA) works on the essential elements which define computational data. These studies have an important impact on many social aspects. 

The communication between different informatics systems is a typical e-government problem. In fact the use of technology to facilitate interactions between government and citizens has a huge impact on social services. Imagine a simple operation like transferring information from a system to another: the two databases must communicate. This means that there must be a common language behind the data. The same happens if Social services need to interact.

The Laboratory for Applied Ontology (LOA) faces exactly this kind of problems. The group builds up general computational models that must respond to specific requirements. In order to do that, different research fields are put together and this allows a strong interdisciplinary approach. The first step is analyzing all the main concepts involved. "Service", "commitment", "actions": all these words – used in any social service – can have ambiguous meanings, which have to be explicated. Once we have the abstract framework, we can translate its concepts into practical information. It is only at this point that technological applications are used.

The Laboratory for Applied Ontology considers therefore technology as the binding element between the initial theoretical analysis and the final computational models. This approach, called applied ontology, views computational models as complex systems involving technical data alongside human needs. 

Contact: Nicola Guarino

ISTC Group: Laboratory for Applied Ontology

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