BFO 2011

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Basic Formal Ontology Editorial Meeting

Venue: Room B1-306, Ground Floor, Center of Excellence (CoE) in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences

Parking: Parking is available for $5 per day in the large lot immediately in front of the CeO. The entrance is on Elicott Street between Goodell and Virginia.

Date: November 10-11, 2011

Walking directions from Doubletree Hotel

Goal of This Meeting

To define a strategy for the future maintenance of Basic Formal Ontology. To create a BFO Reference, designed as an authoritative documentation of the BFO ontology, including an updated version of the BFO 1.0 taxonomy together with the top level relations of the Relation Ontology. To define a strategy to create BFO OWL, including a treatment of temporal relations, based on BFO Reference.


(This agenda is designed to provide a list of topics which need to be addressed in due course; the agenda for the meeting itself will be a selection herefrom; indented items marked will be dealt with at most in cursory fashion)

On both days the café adjacent to the meeting room is open from 8am to 10:30am and from 11am to 3pm.

Thursday November 10

9:00am Strategy for Future Development of BFO (Moderator: Werner Ceusters)

The BFO Reference
Universals and particulars
Granularity and vagueness
Reductionism and perspectivalism
Predications in the category of substance vs. predications in other categories (how BFO differs from standard view of 'predicate' logic)
Classes, universals, extensions, laws of nature
Attributive classes, abbreviations, disjunctions of convenience
Inferred classes
Nomenclature for membership in attributive and inferred classes
Relation between Is_a and OWL:SubClassOf
That 'Is_a' in BFO Reference (and in GO, and many other ontologies) does not mean the same as SubClassOf in OWL because the latter allows statements such as TaillessMouse subClassOf: (not has-part some Tail)
BFO-conformant extensions
Certain categories that used to have closure axioms no longer do because we recognize that there may be other subtypes
Object, Fiat Object Part, Object Aggregate
Governance process for this
Inside BFO
Outside BFO
Governance process for this
Treatment of definitions
Treatment of axioms

10:00am Coffee

10:15am Treatment of Relations (Moderator: Alan Ruttenberg)

Presentation by Chris Mungall: "RO.owl and Shortcut Relations"

10:45 Material entity (Moderator: Werner Ceusters)

Material entity
Can contain parts which are not material entities (e.g. FMA: lumen of gut part_of gut)
Object; fiat object part; object aggregate
The relation of connection
Atoms, molecules
Cells, organs, organisms (objects connected by surrounding membranes)
Conjoined twins
Portions of matter
Bodies of energy; fields; portions of matter
The Environment Ontology
Geographical entities
Object boundaries
Spatial region boundaries

12:00pm Lunch

1pm BFO Dependent Continuant (Moderator: Werner Ceusters)

Dependence, inherence
Reciprocal quality pair
Relational quality
Comparison of qualities
Realizable dependent continuant
Disposition and its subcategories
Reciprocal disposition pair
Relational disposition
Physical basis (cf. OGMS:Disorder)
Generically dependent continuant (GDC)
GDC as bearer of quality?

2.30pm Break

2.45pm BFO Occurrent (Moderator: Fabian Neuhaus)

Predicates applied to processes
The general strategy: processes have profiles as parts (e.g. beat profile, sound profile, ...) and when we predicate e.g. '60 bpm' of a heart beating process p, then we are asserting that p has a beat profile which instantiates the universal: 60bpm process.
Rates Paper by BS
Synchronous, asynchronous
Blood pressure
Relation to DOLCE theory of quality spaces
Wavelength, frequency
Process profile universals and information artifacts
State (State of rest as limit case of motion process) (vs. State as continuant)
Treatment of information artifacts such as peak current, peak voltage, etc.
Course / life / history / projection

4:00-6:00pm Special session on Mental and Neurological Ontologies (Moderator: Alex Diehl)

Janna Hastings: From brain science to mind science with the Mental Functioning Ontology (MFO)
Werner Ceusters: The Mental Disease Ontology (MDO)
Alex Diehl: The Neurological Disease Ontology (NDO)

Friday November 11

9:00am: Continued discussion of object aggregates and process profiles (Moderator: Janna Hastings)

10:00am Coffee

10:15 Regions (Moderator: Fabian Neuhaus)

Region and frame of reference
Spatial region
Spatio-temporal and temporal region
Location and containment
Incorporation of RCC8 and Allen Calculus?

12:00pm Lunch

1:00pm: BFO OWL (Moderator: Alan Ruttenberg)

Relations, including short-cut relations
Axioms relating to relations

2:00pm Break

2:30pm: Development and governance strategy (Moderator: Barry Smith)

Modules and working groups
Spatial, temporal and spatiotemporal regions
Process profiles, PATO and units of measure
Terminology for referring to release versions of BFO Reference, of BFO OWL, and eventually of other variants.
Working groups for documentation and formalization
of BFO Reference
BFO and OBO Foundry


  • Thomas Bittner
  • Mathias Brochhausen
  • Carmelo Gaudioso
  • Werner Ceusters
  • Alexander Cox
  • Randall Dipert
  • Alexander Diehl
  • Albert Goldfain
  • Janna Hastings
  • Amanda Hicks
  • Leonard Jacuzzo
  • Mark Jensen
  • David Molik
  • Darren Natale
  • Fabian Neuhaus
  • Mark Ressler
  • Ron Rudnicki
  • Alan Ruttenberg
  • Stefan Schulz
  • Barry Smith
  • Neil Williams