Query and Predicate Emptiness in Ontology-Based Data Access

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Franz Baader
Meghyn Bienvenu
Carsten Lutz
Frank Wolter


In ontology-based data access (OBDA), database querying is enriched with an ontology that provides domain knowledge and additional vocabulary for query formulation. We identify query emptiness and predicate emptiness as two central reasoning services in this context. Query emptiness asks whether a given query has an empty answer over all databases formulated in a given vocabulary. Predicate emptiness is defined analogously, but quantifies universally over all queries that contain a given predicate. In this paper, we determine the computational complexity of query emptiness and predicate emptiness in the EL, DL-Lite, and ALC-families of description logics, investigate the connection to ontology modules, and perform a practical case study to evaluate the new reasoning services.

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