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On the symbiosis between conceptual modeling and ontology engineering : recommendation-based conceptual modeling

(2017)
Author
Promoter
Wouter Verbeke, (UGent) and Sven Casteleyn
Organization
Abstract
Within an enterprise, different conceptual models, such as process, data, and goal models, are created by various stakeholders. These models are fundamentally based on similar underlying enterprise (domain) concepts, but they have a different focus, are represented using different modeling languages, take different viewpoints, utilize different terminology, and are used to develop different enterprise artefacts (such as documents, software, databases, etc.); therefore, they typically lack consistency and alignment. Another issue is that modelers have different vocabulary selections and different modeling styles. As a result, the enterprise can find itself accumulating a pile of models which cover similar aspects in different manners. Those models are not machine-readable and cannot be processed automatically. Enterprise-Specific Ontologies (ESOs) aim to solve this problem by serving as a reference during the conceptual model creation. Using such a shared semantic repository makes conceptual models semantically aligned and facilitates model integration. However, managing those ontologies is complicated; an enterprise is an evolving entity, and as it changes, the ESO might become outdated. During the years of research dedicated to this dissertation, the Recommendation-Based Conceptual Modeling and Ontology Evolution (CMOE+) framework was developed. This framework establishes a symbiotic relationship between the Ontology engineering and the Conceptual modeling fields. CMOE+ consists of two cycles: the Ontology Evolution cycle and the Conceptual Modeling cycle. The Ontology Evolution cycle is responsible for setting up the initial version of the ESO and updating it as the knowledge within the enterprise evolves. Additionally, this cycle encapsulates recommendation services to perform ontology look-up and to present the most relevant ESO concepts in support of the modeler. The Conceptual Modeling cycle is responsible for the creation of conceptual models in different modeling languages based on the ESO. This cycle is also concerned with the quality evaluation of the created models. CMOE+ was developed based on requirements identified as a result of a literature review and a case study. The development process follows the Design Science Research Methodology (DSRM). After the initial version of CMOE+ was put forward, our focus was narrowed towards the recommendation-based conceptual modeling part of CMOE+, and we continued to gradually improve the framework in iterations until it reached its current state. The Ontology Evolution Cycle is not fully addressed within the scope of this dissertation. In order to demonstrate the performance and usability of CMOE+, it was exemplified for process modeling using BPMN and goal modeling using i*. This thesis presents a detailed instantiation, and explains steps to be performed in order to instantiate CMOE+ for other modeling languages. In order to evaluate the process modeling instance of CMOE+, a CMOE+BPMN tool was implemented. This tool incorporates a BPMN modeler, facilitates storage and access of the ESO, and includes all algorithms functioning within CMOE+ for the BPMN modeling language (as some of the algorithms are language dependent). Next, CMOE+ was exemplified using the i* goal modeling language. Finally, we demonstrated the ability of CMOE+ to perform alignment between i* and BPMN models, in order to show that CMOE+ is indeed beneficial in achieving interoperability among models created in different modeling languages and covering distinct aspects of the enterprise.
Keywords
Ontology, Conceptual Modeling, BPMN

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MLA
Alkhaldi, Nadejda. On the Symbiosis between Conceptual Modeling and Ontology Engineering : Recommendation-Based Conceptual Modeling. 2017.
APA
Alkhaldi, N. (2017). On the symbiosis between conceptual modeling and ontology engineering : recommendation-based conceptual modeling.
Chicago author-date
Alkhaldi, Nadejda. 2017. “On the Symbiosis between Conceptual Modeling and Ontology Engineering : Recommendation-Based Conceptual Modeling.”
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Alkhaldi, Nadejda. 2017. “On the Symbiosis between Conceptual Modeling and Ontology Engineering : Recommendation-Based Conceptual Modeling.”
Vancouver
1.
Alkhaldi N. On the symbiosis between conceptual modeling and ontology engineering : recommendation-based conceptual modeling. 2017.
IEEE
[1]
N. Alkhaldi, “On the symbiosis between conceptual modeling and ontology engineering : recommendation-based conceptual modeling,” 2017.
@phdthesis{8538015,
  abstract     = {{Within an enterprise, different conceptual models, such as process, data, and goal models, are created by various stakeholders.  These models are fundamentally based on similar underlying enterprise (domain) concepts, but they have a different focus, are represented using different modeling languages, take different viewpoints, utilize different terminology, and are used to develop different enterprise artefacts (such as documents, software, databases, etc.); therefore, they typically lack consistency and alignment. Another issue is that modelers have different vocabulary selections and different modeling styles.  As a result, the enterprise can find itself accumulating a pile of models which cover similar aspects in different manners.  Those models are not machine-readable and cannot be processed automatically.  Enterprise-Specific Ontologies (ESOs) aim to solve this problem by serving as a reference during the conceptual model creation. Using such a shared semantic repository makes conceptual models semantically aligned and facilitates model integration.  However, managing those ontologies is complicated; an enterprise is an evolving entity, and as it changes, the ESO might become outdated.
During the years of research dedicated to this dissertation, the Recommendation-Based Conceptual Modeling and Ontology Evolution (CMOE+) framework was developed.  This framework establishes a symbiotic relationship between the Ontology engineering and the Conceptual modeling fields.  CMOE+ consists of two cycles: the Ontology Evolution cycle and the Conceptual Modeling cycle. The Ontology Evolution cycle is responsible for setting up the initial version of the ESO and updating it as the knowledge within the enterprise evolves.  Additionally, this cycle encapsulates recommendation services to perform ontology look-up and to present the most relevant ESO concepts in support of the modeler.  The Conceptual Modeling cycle is responsible for the creation of conceptual models in different modeling languages based on the ESO.  This cycle is also concerned with the quality evaluation of the created models.  CMOE+ was developed based on requirements identified as a result of a literature review and a case study.  The development process follows the Design Science Research Methodology (DSRM).  After the initial version of CMOE+ was put forward, our focus was narrowed towards the recommendation-based conceptual modeling part of CMOE+, and we continued to gradually improve the framework in iterations until it reached its current state.  The Ontology Evolution Cycle is not fully addressed within the scope of this dissertation.  
In order to demonstrate the performance and usability of CMOE+, it was exemplified for process modeling using BPMN and goal modeling using i*.  This thesis presents a detailed instantiation, and explains steps to be performed in order to instantiate CMOE+ for other modeling languages.  In order to evaluate the process modeling instance of CMOE+, a CMOE+BPMN tool was implemented.  This tool incorporates a BPMN modeler, facilitates storage and access of the ESO, and includes all algorithms functioning within CMOE+ for the BPMN modeling language (as some of the algorithms are language dependent).  Next, CMOE+ was exemplified using the i* goal modeling language.  Finally, we demonstrated the ability of CMOE+ to perform alignment between i* and BPMN models, in order to show that CMOE+ is indeed beneficial in achieving interoperability among models created in different modeling languages and covering distinct aspects of the enterprise.}},
  author       = {{Alkhaldi, Nadejda}},
  keywords     = {{Ontology,Conceptual Modeling,BPMN}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  pages        = {{152}},
  school       = {{Ghent University}},
  title        = {{On the symbiosis between conceptual modeling and ontology engineering : recommendation-based conceptual modeling}},
  year         = {{2017}},
}