A semantic similarity-based method to support the conversion from EXPRESS to OWL

Liu, Yan; Jian, Qingquan and Eckert, Claudia M. (2023). A semantic similarity-based method to support the conversion from EXPRESS to OWL. Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, 37, article no. e24.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0890060423000185


Product data sharing is fundamental for collaborative product design and development. Although the STandard for Exchange of Product model data (STEP) enables this by providing a unified data definition and description, it lacks the ability to provide a more semantically enriched product data model. Many researchers suggest converting STEP models to ontology models and propose rules for mapping EXPRESS, the descriptive language of STEP, to Web Ontology Language (OWL). In most research, this mapping is a manual process which is time-consuming and prone to misunderstandings. To support this conversion, this research proposes an automatic method based on natural language processing techniques (NLP). The similarities of language elements in the reference manuals of EXPRESS and OWL have been analyzed in terms of three aspects: heading semantics, text semantics, and heading hierarchy. The paper focusses on translating between language elements, but the same approach has also been applied to the definition of the data models. Two forms of the semantic analysis with NLP are proposed: a Combination of Random Walks (RW) and Global Vectors for Word Representation (GloVe) for heading semantic similarity; and a Decoding-enhanced BERT with disentangled attention (DeBERTa) ensemble model for text semantic similarity. The evaluation shows the feasibility of the proposed method. The results not only cover most language elements mapped by current research, but also identify the mappings of the elements that have not been included. It also indicates the potential to identify the OWL segments for the EXPRESS declarations.

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