EU ENDORSE: Knowledge Graphs and Semantic Reasoning – A Recipe for Success

Searching for cooking recipes presents a challenge with seemingly endless variation and little standardisation even across individual catalogues. The root cause is a total lack of consistent semantics, but there is a fix. Semantic reasoning over an ontology provides an elegant solution, enriching a knowledge graph for fast, easy, and contextual search.

The language used in recipes varies from author to author as they convey information about the ingredients, cooking style, and background. While helpful to the human reader, these can cause issues for a digital search. For example, inconsistencies such as ‘seabass’ and ‘sea bass’ become problematic. Furthermore, there is no taxonomy that tells us that seabass is a fish, or that a vegan recipe has no animal products, and of course nothing that tells us which products are animal products to begin with.

To navigate these obstacles we form an ontology which can then be used to standardise and enhance tagging of recipes. The clear hierarchy of terms lends itself to more forgiving searches while maintaining the accuracy of their meaning. New concepts are created using OWL and Datalog rules that make the search experience smoother, using negation as failure to define the notion of ‘vegan’, and aggregation to calculate calory counts in a normalised and easily maintainable way.

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Team and Resources

The team behind Oxford Semantic Technologies started working on RDFox in 2011 at the Computer Science Department of the University of Oxford with the conviction that flexible and high-performance reasoning was a possibility for data-intensive applications without jeopardising the correctness of the results. RDFox is the first market-ready knowledge graph designed from the ground up with reasoning in mind. Oxford Semantic Technologies is a spin-out of the University of Oxford and is backed by leading investors including Samsung Venture Investment Corporation (SVIC), Oxford Sciences Enterprises (OSE) and Oxford University Innovation (OUI).

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