Web Reasoning and Rule Systems: Five Years into the Conference

Francesco Calimeri, University of Calabria, Italy
Pascal Hitzler, Wright State University, USA

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In this note we retrospect on the five years of the Web Reasoning and Rule Systems conference series and discuss the rationale for the series in the context of the overall field of the Semantic Web, the activities of the Web Reasoning research community, and the development of standards for rule-based systems on the Web. At the end, we draw the reader’s attention to the next event in the series, which will take place in Vienna in September 2012.

How it started

Has the Semantic Web died in its infancy? This was one of the poignant questions in 2006, just before Linked Open Data [1] was introduced, and the field was given a new boost. It was at a point in time where big research funding agencies, such as the European Commission, were revising their programs and reducing funding for the field. By that time, DARPA had already all but stopped funding projects in the area. There was indeed some industry interest, but it was not really catching on big time yet. The outlook for Web Reasoning—the use of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning methods to power the Semantic Web—was similarly bleak: it simply was unclear at that stage if or when the idea will really pick up and whether research funding and industry interest will stay long enough to yield tangible results.

Yet, 2006 was also the year when the Web Reasoning and Rule Systems (RR) conference series was created. While we can only speculate to what extent the uncertain future of the field played a role in this, the conference was in fact a consolidation of previously diverging efforts. The effort was driven mainly by people from the REWERSE Network of Excellence, http://rewerse.net/, and from the Rule Markup Initiative, http://ruleml.org/, plus a few oddballs (such as the second author). The motivation was to create a high-quality, specialized conference on everything related to Semantic Web Reasoning with a special focus on rule-based approaches.

The first event in the series took place in June 2007 in Innsbruck, Austria (RR2007), co-located with the 2007 European Semantic Web Conference (ESWC). Around the same time, a steering committee was established, in order to run the conference series. It was an immediate success: the proceedings [12] included 36 papers and, although many details about the conference program and its participants have faded into the mists of time, attendees vividly remember a lively panel discussion on Ontologies and Rules.

On the heels of the first successful run, time was ripe to start growing the series further. In the first few years, the plan was to co-locate with the International Semantic Web Conference for some time, which indeed took place in November 2008 (Karlsruhe, Germany) and October 2009 (Chantilly, Virginia, USA). In early 2009, the steering committee was incorporated as an official German association, the Web Reasoning and Rules Systems Association e.V., and it felt adventurous enough to attempt a stand-alone event. RR2010 was then held in Bressanone, Italy, in September 2010. Thus, from a satellite event of other big conferences, RR successfully transitioned into an event with two independent workshops (SWAP 2010 and BuRo 2010) and a summer school (KRDB-2010) co-located.

Where are we now

In the meantime, Web Reasoning has evolved significantly. The Semantic Web as a field received a major boost from the advent of Linked Open Data, and sometimes it seems as if the Big Data hype may push other advances aside. However, Web Reasoning standards have have kept apace [6]: most prominently the new version of the Web Ontology Language, OWL 2 [5,13], the Rule Interchange Format, RIF [2,3,11], and the inclusion of entailment regimes in the next installment of the SPARQL query language [4].

Furthermore, the community started to realize that that Big Data without semantics is just more data [10], and that the use of formal semantics is required to make things work [7,8,9]. Although often in a rather shallow way, reasoning is being used by applications—sometimes implicitly, via off-the-shelf components.

Meanwhile, the RR conference series continued picking up the pace. RR2011 was co-located with the 7th Reasoning Web summer school in August 2011 (Galway, Ireland), giving birth to a partnership which will continue also in 2012. Special issues from the RR2010 and RR2011 events are underway to be published in the Semantic Web journal (see http://www.semantic-web-journal.net/).  In another promising development, the RR conference series continues to attract significant amount of sponsorship.

Whither are we going

… to Vienna, in fact!

The 6th International Conference on Web Reasoning and Rule Systems, RR2012, will take place in Vienna, Austria, at the Vienna University of Technology, in September 10-12, 2012, and will feature a number of exciting co-located events:

  • the 8th Reasoning Web Summer School;
  • the 4th International Conference on Computational Models of Argument (COMMA 2012);
  • the 23rd International Conference on Database and Expert Systems Applications (DEXA 2012);
  • the 2nd Datalog 2.0 Workshop.

As in the previous years, the Vienna 2012 event solicits contributions in all topics related to Web Reasoning, and is expected to be a lively forum for discussion and dissemination of results in the field.

RR2012 Website: http://www.rr-conference.org/RR2012
Facebook:       http://goo.gl/shNUJ
LinkedIn:       http://goo.gl/hOiIu


  • General Chair: Pascal Hitzler
  • Program Chairs: Markus Kr√∂tzsch, Umberto Straccia
  • Local Chair: Thomas Eiter
  • Doctoral Consortium Chair: Alessandra Mileo
  • Sponsorships Chair: Marco Maratea
  • Publicity Chair: Francesco Calimeri


  • Abstracts: May 14, 2012
  • Papers: May 23, 2012
  • Notifications: June 22, 2012
  • Conference: September 10-12, 2012

Conference Series Website: http://www.rr-conference.org/

Current Steering Committee:

  • Riccardo Rosati (president)
  • Pascal Hitzler (vice president)
  • Georg Lausen (treasurer)
  • Francois Bry
  • Diego Calvanese
  • Thomas Eiter
  • Michael Kifer
  • Jeff Z. Pan
  • Axel Polleres
  • Sebastian Rudolph


[1] Christian Bizer, Tom Heath, and Tim Berners-Lee. Linked Data – The Story So Far. International Journal on Semantic Web and Information Systems, 5(3):1:22, 2009.

[2] Harold Boley, Gary Hallmark, Michael Kifer, Adrian Paschke, Axel Polleres, and Dave Reynolds, editors. RIF Core Dialect. W3C Recommendation 22 June 2010, 2010. Available from http://www.w3.org/TR/rifcore/.

[3] Harold Boley and Michael Kifer, editors. RIF Basic Logic Dialect. W3C Recommendation 22 June 2010, 2010. Available from http://www.w3.org/TR/rif-bld/.

[4] Birte Glimm and Chimezie Ogbuji, editors. SPARQL 1.1 Entailment Regimes. W3C Working Draft 12 May 2011, 2011. Available from http://www.w3.org/TR/sparql11-entailment.

[5] Pascal Hitzler, Markus Krötzsch, Bijan Parsia, Peter F. Patel-Schneider, and Sebastian Rudolph, editors. OWL 2 Web Ontology Language: Primer. W3C Recommendation 27 October 2009, 2009. Available from http://www.w3.org/TR/owl2-primer/.

[6] Pascal Hitzler, Markus Krötzsch, and Sebastian Rudolph. Foundations of Semantic Web Technologies. Chapman & Hall/CRC, 2009.

[7] Pascal Hitzler and Frank van Harmelen. A reasonable semantic web. Semantic Web, 1(1:2):39-44, 2010.

[8] Aidan Hogan, Andreas Harth, Alexandre Passant, Stefan Decker, and Axel Polleres. Weaving the pedantic web. In 3rd International Workshop on Linked Data on the Web (LDOW2010) at WWW2010, Raleigh, USA, April 2010, 2010.

[9] Aidan Hogan, Andreas Harth, and Axel Polleres. Scalable authoritative OWL reasoning for the web. Int. J. Semantic Web Inf. Syst., 5(2):49-90, 2009.

[10] Prateek Jain, Pascal Hitzler, Peter Z. Yeh, Kunal Verma, and Amit P. Sheth. Linked Data is Merely More Data. In Dan Brickley, Vinay K. Chaudhri, Harry Halpin, and Deborah McGuinness, editors, Linked Data Meets Articial Intelligence, pages 8286. AAAI Press, 2010. Proceedings of LinkedAI at the AAAI Spring Symposium, March 2010.

[11] Michael Kifer. Rule Interchange Format: The framework. In Diego Calvanese and Georg Lausen, editors, Web Reasoning and Rule Systems, Second International Conference, RR 2008, Karlsruhe, Germany, October 31-November 1, 2008. Proceedings, volume 5341 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages 1-11. Springer, Heidelberg, 2008.

[12] Massimo Marchiori, Je-Z. Pan, and Christian de Sainte Marie, editors. Web Reasoning and Rule Systems, First International Conference, RR 2007, Innsbruck , Austria, June 7-8, 2007, Proceedings, volume 4524 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer, Heidelberg, 2007.

[13] W3C OWL Working Group. OWL 2 Web Ontology Language: Document Overview. W3C Recommendation, 27 October 2009. Available at http://www.w3.org/TR/owl2-overview/.