Embedding Ontologies in the Description Logic ALC by Axis-Aligned Cones

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Özgür Lütfü Özcep
Mena Leemhuis
Diedrich Wolter


This paper is concerned with knowledge graph embedding with background knowledge, taking the formal perspective of logics. In knowledge graph embedding, knowledge— expressed as a set of triples of the form (a R b) (“a is R-related to b”)—is embedded into a real-valued vector space. The embedding helps exploiting geometrical regularities of the space in order to tackle typical inductive tasks of machine learning such as link prediction. Recent embedding approaches also consider incorporating background knowledge, in which the intended meanings of the symbols a, R, b are further constrained via axioms of a theory. Of particular interest are theories expressed in a formal language with a neat semantics and a good balance between expressivity and feasibility. In that case, the knowledge graph together with the background can be considered to be an ontology. This paper develops a cone-based theory for embedding in order to advance the expressivity of the ontology: it works (at least) with ontologies expressed in the description logic ALC, which comprises restricted existential and universal quantifiers, as well as concept negation and concept disjunction. In order to align the classical Tarskian Style semantics for ALC with the sub-symbolic representation of triples, we use the notion of a geometric model of an ALC ontology and show, as one of our main results, that an ALC ontology is satisfiable in the classical sense iff it is satisfiable by a geometric model based on cones. The geometric model, if treated as a partial model, can even be chosen to be faithful, i.e., to reflect all and only the knowledge captured by the ontology. We introduce the class of axis-aligned cones and show that modulo simple geometric operations any distributive logic (such as ALC) interpreted over cones employs this class of cones. Cones are also attractive from a machine learning perspective on knowledge graph embeddings since they give rise to applying conic optimization techniques.

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