As the complexity of our systems and the demand for reduced engineering cycle time continue to increase, our ability to clearly communicate and interrogate system designs becomes more critical. Any divergence or ambiguity of definition can significantly increase risk in a program. Enter ontologies. Ontologies are knowledge models that identify the concepts within a domain and their properties, relationships, constraints, and behaviors. Ontologies establish the rules for how data information is related and communicated to achieve semantic interoperability, or the ability to exchange data and information with unambiguous, shared meaning. For humans, ontologies enable clear and consistent communications. For computers, when coupled with MBSE, formal ontologies and semantic tools can unlock our data, enabling logical reasoning and the ability infer new information, making the implicit explicit.
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