Computer Science (COMP) 492

The Semantic Web (Revision 2)

COMP 492 Course Web site

Permanently closed, effective May 20, 2015.

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Science

Prerequisite: COMP 272, or COMP 308, or COMP 466, or permission of the course professor.

Faculty: Faculty of Science and Technology

Centre: School of Computing and Information Systems

COMP 492 is not available for challenge.

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**Note: Students who are concerned about not meeting the prerequisite for this course are encouraged to contact the course coordinator before registering.


Computer Science 492 introduces the core concepts of the Semantic Web that promises to dramatically improve the current World Wide Web (WWW) and its use. The Semantic Web technology aims at removing main obstacles which prevent Web users from better support because the meaning of Web content is not machine-accessible. The key idea of the Semantic Web is the use of machine-processable Web information. Its key technologies include explicit metadata, ontologies, logic and inferencing, and intelligent agents. The Semantic Web will gradually evolve out of the existing Web. Huge potential and advantages of the Semantic Web technology have driven heavy investment from industry and governments.

COMP 492 is an introductory course about the Semantic Web for senior undergraduate students in computer science major. Facing fast developing in the area, this course focuses on fundamental aspects that can be expected to remain relative some time into the future. The course assumes that students are familiar with Java programming, data structure programming, or website programming. The course emphasizes on learning by doing through available software tools and development environment. This course can be used as an elective course for the students in B.Sc. (Computer Information Systems), BA (Information Systems) and B.Sc. (Computer Information Systems-Post Diploma).


This course is designed to:

  • explain the features, rationale, and advantages of Semantic Web technology.
  • describe the XML (Extensible Markup Language) language structure and XML document model.
  • explain how to validate XML documents using DTDs (Document Type Definitions) and XML Schema.
  • explain the concepts of graph-based RDF model, XML syntax-based RDF model, and RDF Schema.
  • use Java APIs to parse XML document and manipulate XML data.
  • analyze the requirements and features of web ontology language (OWL).
  • define properties and property restrictions, and Boolean combinations of the OWL classes.
  • build and analyze ontologies using an ontology editor.
  • use Java API to manipulate RDF data model and ontology
  • describe the syntax and semantics of Horn logic and nonmonotonic rules in XML-like languages.
  • describe rule-based reasoner to implement both RDFS and OWL reasoners
  • analyze application cases in data integration, data exchange, knowledge management, e-learning, and web services
  • discuss the methodologies in ontology engineering and research issues in Semantic Web technology.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • understand the concept structure of the semantic web technology and how this technology revolutionizes the World Wide Web and its uses.
  • understand the concepts of metadata, semantics of knowledge and resource, ontology, and their descriptions in XML-based syntax and web ontology language (OWL).
  • describe logic semantics and inference with OWL.
  • use ontology engineering approaches in semantic applications
  • program semantic applications with Java API.


  • Unit 1: Introduction to the Semantic Web
  • Unit 2: Structured Web Documents and Resource Description Framework
  • Unit 3: Programming with RDF/XML
  • Unit 4: Web Ontology Language: OWL
  • Unit 5: Logic Reasoning for the Semantic Web
  • Unit 6: Programming with Ontology
  • Unit 7: Semantic Web Applications


To receive credit for COMP 492, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least ā€œDā€ (50 percent), with an average grade of at least 50 percent on all assignments and a grade of at least 50 percent on the final examination. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Assignment 1 Assignment 2 Assignment 3 Assignment 4 Final Exam Total
10% 15% 15% 15% 45% 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Grigoris Antoniou and Frank van Harmelen, A Semantic Web Primer, 2nd Edition, 2008 The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, ISBN: 978-0-262-01242-3 (hardcover: alk. paper)

Other materials

The remainder of the learning materials in COMP 492 is distributed in electronic format. At this time, those materials include:

  • Study guide in electronic format
  • Online tutor marked assignments
  • Downloadable software tool packages
  • Supplementary reading materials in electronic format may be available upon student's request and tutor's teaching strategy

Special Course Features

COMP 492 is offered by computer mediated communications (CMC) mode, and can be completed at the student's workplace or home. It is a core course in the BA Information Systems and the BSc Computer Information Systems. This course is recommended for the students in senior-level Computer Science program or other relevant programs.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 2, May 17, 2011.

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Updated May 10 2016 by Student & Academic Services