A joint foundation for configuration in the Semantic Web
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Product configuration is a major commercial application of knowledge-based systems, and joint configuration by multiple business partners is becoming a key application in today's highly specialized economy. The required integration of configuration knowledge is a challenging task due to the variety of knowledge representation formalisms used in commercial configurators. Ontology languages such as DAML+OIL provide an infrastructure for the Semantic Web with the goal of intelligent information integration. The aim of this paper is to show the applicability of such languages for building configuration knowledge bases. We join the two major streams in knowledge-based configuration (description logics on one hand and predicate logic, including constraint-based and resource-balancing techniques on the other) by giving a description logic based definition of a configuration task and showing its equivalence with existing consistency-based definitions. We show that Semantic Web ontology languages can be applied to configuration by formalizing language elements relevant for building configuration knowledge bases and discuss extensions needed in order to provide full fledged configuration knowledge representation. The result is a common basis for current configuration approaches on the Semantic Web that is necessary for the provision of joint configuration services.