George Mason University
School of Engineering
Department of Computer Science


CS 695 Knowledge Engineering for the Semantic Web

Meeting time: Monday 4:30 pm – 7:10 pm

Meeting location: East 201


Instructor: Dr. Gheorghe Tecuci, Professor of Computer Science, Director of the Learning Agents Center

Office hours: Monday and Thursday 7:15 pm – 8:15 pm

Office: Nguyen Engineering Building, Learning Agents Center, Room 4613

Phone: 703 993 1722

E-mail: tecuci at gmu dot edu


Course Description

Prerequisite: CS 580 or permission of instructor

“The basic economic resource – the means of production – is no longer capital, not natural resources, nor labor. It is and will be knowledge.” (Peter Drucker, 1993). Human societies are rapidly evolving toward an integrated global Knowledge Society.

Knowledge Engineering is a central discipline in the Knowledge Society. It is the discipline concerned with the design, development, and maintenance of computer systems that rely on knowledge and reasoning to perform complex problem solving and decision making tasks, thus providing the technology for the main activities in the Knowledge Society: capturing, using, sharing, teaching, and preserving knowledge.

The Semantic Web is the main infrastructure for the Knowledge Society. It is an extension of the World Wide Web in which web content is expressed both in a natural form for humans, and in a format that can be understood by software agents, permitting them to find, integrate, process, and share information.

This course covers basic concepts, principles, methods, architectures, and tools for the Semantic Web, including the publication and the consumption of Linked Data for both human and automatic processing, the development of semantic web models in RDF, RDFS, and OWL, web information as evidence, and web-based applications.

The course will also cover important knowledge engineering topics in an integrated fashion, including, knowledge-based reasoning, logic and probabilistic reasoning, knowledge acquisition and learning, decision-making under uncertainty, tools and methodologies for the development of knowledge-based systems, and frontier research in knowledge engineering.

Each student will select a project based on his/her interests. Some projects may develop a knowledge-based system while other projects may study a specific topic in depth, followed by its presentation and demonstration of a related system.

Students will have accounts on Blackboard and can download the lecture notes by going to and logging in using their Mason ID and passwords.


Grading Policy

Exam – 50%

Project, assignments, and class participation – 50%


Required Readings

Tecuci G., Lecture Notes on Knowledge Engineering for the Semantic Web, Spring 2012 (main reading).

Heath T. and Bizer C., Linked Data: Evolving the Web into a Global Data Space, Morgan & Claypool Publishers, 2011, Electronic resource available from the GMU library at

Allemang D. and Hendler J., Semantic Web for the Working Ontologist: Modeling in RDF, RDFS and OWL, Morgan Kaufman, 2008, 2011, Electronic resource available from the GMU library at


Recommended Readings

Antoniou G. and Harmelen, van F., A Semantic Web Primer, The MIT Press, Cambridge Massachusetts, 2004, 2008, Electronic resource available from the GMU library at

Awad E. and Ghaziri M. H., Knowledge Management, Pearson Education Inc., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, 2004.

Breitman K.K., Casanova M.A. and Truszkowski W., Semantic Web: Concepts, Technologies and Applications, Springer-Verlag London Limited 2007, Electronic resource available from the GMU library at

Brachman R.J. and Levesque H.J, Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, Morgan Kaufmann, 2004.

Ehrig M., Ontology Alignment: Bridging the Semantic Gap, Springer Verlag, 2007.

Euzenat J. Shvaiko P., Ontology Matching, Springer Verlag, 2007.

Giarratano J. and Riley G. Expert Systems: Principles and Programming, Boston, PWS Publ. Comp., 1994.

Hadzic M., Wongthongtham P., Dillon T., Chang E., Ontology-based Multi-Agent Systems, Springer Verlag, 2009.

Hopgood A.A., Intelligent Systems for Engineers and Scientists, CRC Press, 2001.

Kendal S.L. and Creen M., An Introduction to Knowledge Engineering, Springer-Verlag London Limited 2007, Electronic resource available from the GMU library at

Russell S., and P. Norvig P., Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, Prentice Hall, Third edition (ISBN-13: 978-0-13-604259-4, 2010), Second edition (ISBN: 0-13-790395-2, 2003). 

Schreiber G., Akkermans H., Anjewierden A., de Hoog R., Shatbold N., de Velse W.V., Wielinga B., Knowledge Engineering and Management: The CommonKADS Methodology, The MIT Press, Cambridge Massachusetts, 2000.

Tecuci G., Building Intelligent Agents: An Apprenticeship Multistrategy Learning Theory, Methodology, Tool and Case Studies, Academic Press, 1998.

Tecuci G, Schum D, Boicu M, Marcu D, Introduction to Intelligence Analysis: A Hands-on Approach with TIACRITIS, Learning Agents Center, 2011.

Volker J., Learning Expressive Ontologies, IOS Press, 2009.

Walton C., Agency and the Semantic Web, Oxford University Press, 2007.

Other books and papers recommended by the instructor.


Email Communication

1. Please include CS695 in the subject of any message you are emailing to Dr. Tecuci.

2. Please try to limit the size of the files you are emailing.


GMU Email Accounts

Students must activate their GMU email accounts to receive important University information, including messages related to this class.


Office of Disability Services

If you are a student with a disability and you need academic accommodations, please see me and contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) at 993-2474. All academic accommodations must be arranged through the ODS.


Other Useful Campus Resources

Writing Center: A114 Robinson Hall; (703) 993-1200;

University Libraries “Ask a Librarian”

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS): (703) 993-2380;


University Policies

The University Catalog,, is the central resource for university policies affecting student, faculty, and staff conduct in university affairs.


Honor Code

You are expected to abide by the GMU honor code. Information on the university honor code can be found at

Additional departmental CS information: