The current interest in development of BioMedical ontologies is motivated by their use in Information Systems. What should count as evidence in the development of ontologies for use in information systems? How best to decide amongst alternatives? How best to argue? What should count as evidence in an argument? How should we treat logically equivalent constructs? "Tricks"? Approximations? What is the role of naming? definitions? logic? How do these relate to scientific validity? To utility in information systems? Can there be a "gold standard"?
Alan Rector is Professor of Medical Informatics in the School of Computer Science at University of Manchester. He received his BA in Philosophy and Mathematics from Pomona College, his medical training at the universities of Chicago and Minnesota where he obtained his MD, and his PhD in Medical Informatics from the University of Manchester. Over the past twenty-five years he has led a series of projects on clinical decision support, medical records, and medical terminology. He led the EU sponsored GALEN programme (www.opengalen.org) and the PEN & PAD project.
His work on clinical terminology and ontologies provided a key stimulus for the technologies underpinning the use of ontologies for the Semantic Web. Increasingly his work has focused on the development and application of the Web Ontology Language, OWL, and the Protege-OWL ontology development environment. Protege-OWL has been developed collaboratively with the Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research.
Alan Rector has been a visiting senior scientist at Stanford University and consultant to the NHS and Connecting for Health, Hewlett Packard, the Mayo Clinic, and a variety of smaller companies. He has been active in various national and international commities including, the JISC Support of Research Committee, the National Cancer Research Institute's Informatics Initiative, the Joint NHS/Higher Education Forum on Informatics, and the Board of the Academic Forum of the UK Institute for Health Informatics. He has also been active in HL7.