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Standardizing Knowledge Engineering Practices with a Reference Architecture

Authors: Bradley P. Allen and Filip Ilievski

Published in: TGDK, Volume 2, Issue 1 (2024): Special Issue on Trends in Graph Data and Knowledge - Part 2. Transactions on Graph Data and Knowledge, Volume 2, Issue 1

Knowledge engineering is the process of creating and maintaining knowledge-producing systems. Throughout the history of computer science and AI, knowledge engineering workflows have been widely used given the importance of high-quality knowledge for reliable intelligent agents. Meanwhile, the scope of knowledge engineering, as apparent from its target tasks and use cases, has been shifting, together with its paradigms such as expert systems, semantic web, and language modeling. The intended use cases and supported user requirements between these paradigms have not been analyzed globally, as new paradigms often satisfy prior pain points while possibly introducing new ones. The recent abstraction of systemic patterns into a boxology provides an opening for aligning the requirements and use cases of knowledge engineering with the systems, components, and software that can satisfy them best, however, this direction has not been explored to date. This paper proposes a vision of harmonizing the best practices in the field of knowledge engineering by leveraging the software engineering methodology of creating reference architectures. We describe how a reference architecture can be iteratively designed and implemented to associate user needs with recurring systemic patterns, building on top of existing knowledge engineering workflows and boxologies. We provide a six-step roadmap that can enable the development of such an architecture, consisting of scope definition, selection of information sources, architectural analysis, synthesis of an architecture based on the information source analysis, evaluation through instantiation, and, ultimately, instantiation into a concrete software architecture. We provide an initial design and outcome of the definition of architectural scope, selection of information sources, and analysis. As the remaining steps of design, evaluation, and instantiation of the architecture are largely use-case specific, we provide a detailed description of their procedures and point to relevant examples. We expect that following through on this vision will lead to well-grounded reference architectures for knowledge engineering, will advance the ongoing initiatives of organizing the neurosymbolic knowledge engineering space, and will build new links to the software architectures and data science communities.

Cite as

Bradley P. Allen and Filip Ilievski. Standardizing Knowledge Engineering Practices with a Reference Architecture. In Special Issue on Trends in Graph Data and Knowledge - Part 2. Transactions on Graph Data and Knowledge (TGDK), Volume 2, Issue 1, pp. 5:1-5:23, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2024)

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  author =	{Allen, Bradley P. and Ilievski, Filip},
  title =	{{Standardizing Knowledge Engineering Practices with a Reference Architecture}},
  journal =	{Transactions on Graph Data and Knowledge},
  pages =	{5:1--5:23},
  ISSN =	{2942-7517},
  year =	{2024},
  volume =	{2},
  number =	{1},
  publisher =	{Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik},
  address =	{Dagstuhl, Germany},
  URL =		{},
  URN =		{urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-198623},
  doi =		{10.4230/TGDK.2.1.5},
  annote =	{Keywords: knowledge engineering, knowledge graphs, quality attributes, software architectures, sociotechnical systems}
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