1. Concordia University


    Thesis defences

    PhD Oral Exam - Razieh Mehri-Dehnavi, Computer Science

    A Machine Learning Approach for Optimizing Heuristic Decision-making in OWL Reasoners

    Date and time
    Date & time

    January 10, 2020
    10 a.m. – 1 p.m.


    Room EV 1.162
    Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex
    1515 St. Catherine W.
    Sir George Williams Campus


    This event is free

    Wheelchair accessible
    Wheelchair accessible



    School of Graduate Studies


    Mary Appezzato

    When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.

    Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.


    Description Logics (DLs) are formalisms for representing knowledge bases of application domains. The Web Ontology Language (OWL) is a syntactic variant of a very expressive description logic. OWL reasoners can infer implied information from OWL ontologies. The performance of OWL reasoners can be severely affected by situations that require decision-making over many alternatives. Such a non-deterministic behavior is often controlled by heuristics that are based on insufficient information. This thesis proposes a novel OWL reasoning approach that applies machine learning (ML) to implement pragmatic and optimal decision-making strategies in such situations.

    Disjunctions occurring in ontologies are one source of non-deterministic actions in reasoners. We propose two ML-based approaches to reduce the non-determinism caused by dealing with disjunctions. The first approach is restricted to propositional description logic while the second one can deal with standard description logic.

    The first approach builds a logistic regression classifier that chooses a proper branching heuristic for an input ontology. Branching heuristics are first developed to help Propositional Satisfiability (SAT) based solvers with making decisions about which branch to pick in each branching level.

    The second approach is the developed version of the first approach. An SVM (Support Vector Machine) classier is designed to select an appropriate expansion-ordering heuristic for an input ontology. The built-in heuristics are designed for expansion ordering of satisfiability testing in OWL reasoners. They determine the order for branches in search trees.

    Both of the above approaches speed up our ML-based reasoner by up to two orders of magnitude in comparison to the non-ML reasoner.

    Another source of non-deterministic actions is the order in which tableau rules should be applied. On average, our ML-based approach that is an SVM classifier achieves a speedup of two orders of magnitude when compared to the most expensive rule ordering of the non-ML reasoner.

    Back to top

    © Concordia University