About the meaning, origin and usage of the term
Ontology is one of the most important foundations for error-free and unambiguous communication in the field of computer science. This requires clear agreements on the terms and formal specifications of the ontology to serve as a common language. You can learn everything else about this in this article.

What does ontology mean in computer science?

By ontology one understands a formally built model in the area of the knowledge management as with expert systems or multi-agent systems, which is used particularly in the integration of information as in the Semantic Web in the context of the supply of certain defined structures of knowledge, for the organization of knowledge and as basis for automatic procedures of the processing of knowledge.

Where does the term come from?

Originally ontology is a term from philosophy and linguistics and has there a proven and long-lasting tradition. Since the 90 years of the last century, however, the term has also found its way into computer science and has received there a different adapted meaning, which deals with the peculiarities of computer science as a science with practical application. Ontology as a concept and system has got special meaning in the context of the so-called artificial intelligence. Purpose of the introduction and application of the ontology in computer science was first of all the intention to have domain models available for expert systems (abbreviation: XPS), which are essentially application independent and can be reused clearly defined at any time. Furthermore, in the area of multi-agent systems (abbr.: MAS), a unified and common communication level should be created in order to have a domain-specific vocabulary available for the dissemination and exchange of messages.

Why are ontologies needed in computer science?

In computer science, ontologies usually occur in language form as well as formally ordered as representations that make concepts and notions clearly understandable to all participants in a knowledge domain. The ontologies enable only the data and message exchange. This exchange takes place in digitized form as well as in clear formal references and structures. The knowledge transported and transmitted by ontology includes the domain of general knowledge as well as the communication and exchange of specific knowledge from a domain. Since the participants of the discourse in a subject area know the meaning of the specific terms, communication without misunderstandings and in clearly defined processes and statements is possible with the help of ontology.

Where are ontologies used? Where are they of importance?

Especially in computer science and science management, error-free communication of data and messages is essential. It is also important that the subject-specific language and the necessary definitions are clear beyond doubt for every participant in this scientific discourse. Therefore, the ontology is the common language agreed upon by all concerned participants. Without this agreement, the use of ontology would be meaningless and also ineffective. There are very many different levels and variants of the ontology, which are classified also in each case individually. However, the basic structure with the indispensable agreement aspect by the participants of the discourse is everywhere the same with all models and variants as a basis.


The ontology is one of the most important foundations for error-free and unambiguous communication in the field of computer science. For this clear agreements on the terms and formal specifications of the ontology are necessary, in order to be able to serve as common language. Of course, it is only necessary that this common language is understandable only to the systems and participants involved in scientific discourse and data processing. With expertise in ontology you have best career prospects everywhere in professional areas of computer science.