Query-driven procedures for Hybrid MKNF knowledge bases

José Júlio Alferes, Matthias Knorr, Terrance Swift

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Hybrid MKNF knowledge bases are one of the most prominent tightly integrated combinations of openworld ontology languages with closed-world (nonmonotonic) rule paradigms. Based on the logic of minimal knowledge and negation as failure (MKNF), the definition of Hybrid MKNF is parametric on the description logic (DL) underlying the ontology language, in the sense that nonmonotonic rules can extend any decidable DL language. Two related semantics have been defined for Hybrid MKNF: one that is based on the Stable Model Semantics for logic programs and one on the Well-Founded Semantics (WFS). Under WFS, the definition of Hybrid MKNF relies on a bottom-up computation that has polynomial data complexity whenever the DL language is tractable. Here we define a general query-driven procedure for Hybrid MKNF that is sound with respect to the stable model-based semantics, and sound and complete with respect to its WFS variant. This procedure is able to answer a slightly restricted form of conjunctive queries, and is based on tabled rule evaluation extended with an external oracle that captures reasoning within the ontology. Such an (abstract) oracle receives as input a query along with knowledge already derived, and replies with a (possibly empty) set of atoms, defined in the rules, whose truth would suffice to prove the initial query. With appropriate assumptions on the complexity of the abstract oracle, the general procedure maintains the data complexity of the WFS for Hybrid MKNF knowledge bases. To illustrate this approach, we provide a concrete oracle for εℒ+, a fragment of the lightweight DL εℒ++. Such an oracle has practical use, as εℒ++ is the language underlying OWL 2 EL, which is part of the W3C recommendations for the Semantic Web, and is tractable for reasoning tasks such as subsumption. We show that query-driven Hybrid MKNF preserves polynomial data complexity when using the εℒ+ oracle and WFS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16
JournalACM Transactions on Computational Logic
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Description logics
  • Hybrid knowledge bases
  • Ontologies
  • Rules
  • Tabling
  • Tractable fragments
  • Well-founded semantics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science
  • Logic
  • Computational Mathematics


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