Ontology, originally a fundamental part of philosophical enquiry, is concerned with the analysis and categorization of what exists. In recent years, however, a complementary focus of ontological inquiry gained significant momentum fueled by the advent of complex information systems which rely on robust and coherent, formal representations of their subject matter. The systematic study of such representations, their axiomatics, their corresponding reasoning techniques and their relations to cognition and reality, are at the center of the modern discipline of formal ontology.
Formal ontology in this modern sense is now a research focus in such diverse domains as conceptual modeling, database design, software engineering, artificial intelligence, computational linguistics, the life sciences, bioinformatics, geographic information science, knowledge engineering, information retrieval, and the Semantic Web. Researchers in all these areas increasingly recognize the need for serious engagement with ontology to provide a foundation for their work, where ontology is understood as a general theory of the types of entities and relations making up their respective domains of enquiry.
The FOIS conference is designed to provide a meeting point for researchers from all disciplines with an interest in formal ontology. The conference encourages submission of high quality articles on both theoretical issues and concrete applications. As in previous years, FOIS 2014 is intended as a nexus of interdisciplinary research and communication.
FOIS is the flagship conference of the International Association for Ontology and its Applications (IAOA, website: http://iaoa.org/), which is a non-profit organization the purpose of which is to promote interdisciplinary research and international collaboration at the intersection of philosophical ontology, linguistics, logic, cognitive science, and computer science, as well as in the applications of ontological analysis to conceptual modeling, knowledge engineering, knowledge management, information-systems development, library and information science, scientific research, and semantic technologies in general.
Historical information about the series of FOIS conferences is available here.