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The Architecture of Change – Part 2

Business architecture and the meaning of Digital Transformation Figure 1: Subway Abstract.  Copyright 1972 Massimo Vignelli [This is Part 2 of a three-part article describing digital transformation and its illumination using a discipline known as business architecture.  In Part 2, we explore the power of abstraction to render insight and mobilize thought.] The Story So Far In Part 1 of

The Architecture of Change – Part 1

Business architecture and the meaning of Digital Transformation  Figure 1: Fish to Fowl, ‘Class’ Transformation   [This is Part 1 of a three-part article describing digital transformation and its illumination using a discipline known as business architecture.  In Part 1, we explore the term and point to a need for a generative abstraction in order to understand the its meaning.]

Marketing Technology Roadmap: Start Here

Technology has found a new home in the Marketing Department. And it’s a mess. Scott Brinker @chiefmartech.com published the chart above in an effort to express the magnitude of this “new” category; it does not do justice to how confusing and complicated the category is in reality. The vast majority of these 3,874 MarTech vendors are “point solutions” that do


Thematix Partner Jim Rhyne, a founder and co-creator of the Business Architecture Guild‘s core specifications, has been awarded the right to proudly display this badge: Jim has been  designated as a Certified Business Architect (CBA)®, meaning that he is proficient in (and indeed co-author of) the following domains of Business Architecture practice. 1.     Business Architecture Foundational Concepts 2.     Business Architecture Core Mapping Knowledge 3.     Business Architecture

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The power of a small team of “best of breed” performers with deep domain experience across multiple disciplines.

About Thematix

Thematix is a distinctive consultancy, comprised of people at the top of their game in semantic technology, enterprise architecture, marketing and product development.  

Thematix works with companies in the financial services, travel, entertainment, aerospace and electronics industries, and with government agencies, to  deliver on strategic imperatives as well as specific technical solutions.  We work with senior management to conceive and design some of their most important, mission-critical initiatives.  Thematix principals are directly involved – hands-on – in all engagements.

Thematix consults to businesses in a unique space: the intersection of semantic technology and business.  This means that we are adept at not only ontology, reasoners, triple stores and query engines, but as well at marketing, operations, finance, compliance, product development and business and information architecture.

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What We Do
What We Do


 Jie Bao


Jie Bao is a researcher with 10+ years of academic and industrial experiences in machine learning, data mining, and semantic web.   Jie has a PhD in Computer Science from Iowa State University.  Jie is an expert on ontology languages, formal reasoning, ontology engineering, semantic wiki, linked data, intelligent personal assistants, neural networks and text mining. He has published more than 70 refereed research papers, including in top conferences AAAI, ISWC & ASWC. He played a key role in Semantic Web standardization as a member of W3C OWL (Web Ontology Language) Working Group.  Jie has worked as a staff engineer at Samsung R&D Center, where he built question answering systems, using his skills in natural language parsing and question understanding, graph based semantic inference and cloud deployment and scalability.  At Raytheon BBN, he worked on quantitative modeling of semantic information for data compression and reliable communications.  In his researches at RPI and MIT, Jie helped build Semantic MediaWiki, XBRL to OWL transformations, modular ontologies and trust and privacy on the Semantic Web.  Jie has a thorough working knowledge of a wide variety of semantic web frameworks (Jena, RIF, RDF, OWL, SPARQL, OBO, Pellet, DLV), programming languages (Python, PHP, Java, JavaScript, C++), databases (OrientDB, Neo4j, Titan, Virtuoso, MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, ElasticSearch), natural language processing environments (OpenNLP, LingPipe, Stanford CoreNLP, MBSP, Senna) and machine learning systems (Weka, scikit-learn, libsvm, opencv, theano, pandas).

Li Ding

LiDingLi Ding is a Semantic Web expert focusing on web-scale semantic data retrieval, integration and management. He is best known for developing the Swoogle semantic web search engine, designing social semantic web information portals, and architecting projects that directly impacts the official federal government’s open government data portal Data.gov.  His research and development activities include expertise in Semantic Web, social networking, provenance, knowledge management, semantic search, intelligent systems, linked open government data, ontology, data integration, and trust technologies.  He has developed large-scale systems using programming languages including JAVA, Python, PHP, and JavaScript.  His semantic technology expertise includes extensive work with Jena, XML, JSON, RDF, OWL, SPARQL, XQuery, and the Semantic MediaWiki, as well as specific project technologies such as RPI’s InferenceWeb and other e-Science and linked data related systems.  Li also has extensive background in leading and contributing to Open Source projects, including several on Google code and GitHub, among others. His recent projects include mobile context-aware computing platform for Qualcomm and SPARQL interface in MarkLogic product.  Li holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and an MS and BS in Computer Science from Peking University

James Odell

James Odell

James Odell is an international consultant, writer, and educator in the areas of business process, data and meta-data modeling, applied ontology, metadata-driven service oriented architecture (SOA), event-driven development (EDA/CEP), agent-oriented systems, methodology, and complex adaptive systems (CAS). He conducts international seminars and workshops—both on-site and public—and provides consulting to major companies worldwide. Throughout most of his forty-plus year career, Mr. Odell has been heavily involved in developing better methods to understand, communicate, and manage system requirements. He became one of the first practical writers and implementors of object-oriented analysis and design. He has written five books, and numerous papers (see www.jamesodell.com/publication). Working with the OMG and other standards groups, he continues to innovate and improve system development methods and techniques. In particular, he has been the chair of the OMG’s Analysis and Design Task Force for 13 years and has participated in the development of standards such as UML and UML 2.0, SoaML, SysML, ODM, and others. (The Activity Diagram was one of his primary contributions to UML.) Most recently, one of his primary goals is for business processes and data to be human understandable as well as machine understandable and executable—using models and ontology. When deployed in this way, business systems can also adapt, learn, and evolve —dynamically changing the way the business works. Businesses that employ both a human-understandable and machine-understandable/executable approach, then, with be an enabler for the next generation of global systems.

Christopher Regan

Chris Regan

Christopher Regan brings deep strategic and tactical Digital Marketing and Search Engine Optimization skills to Thematix. His talent ranges from content design, to Schema.org modeling to analytics and everything in between. As search becomes increasingly grounded in semantics and natural language processing, it is imperative that SEO techniques mature into more than just “gaming the system.” Christopher has already moved on from conventional SEO practices and has begun to establish the new criteria for best practices. Christopher Regan’s Digital Marketing leadership began at the inception of web marketing & web analytics (SEM) in 1995, when the groundbreaking digital publishing aggregator Infonautics and its proprietary publishing platform delivered one of the first instances of engineered SEO (e-SEO) — search optimization synchronized between search engine (e.g., Yahoo) and web publisher (e.g., Infonautic’s eLibrary). Chris has led SEM initiatives across multiple verticals; currently he leads efforts for NADA’s B2C publishing partner NADAguides.com, though he additionally consults within Hospitality, F&B, BioTech and various B2C industry efforts. Chris also volunteers with multiple digital non-profits and web industry mentoring programs. For 17 years Christopher has been a speaker at industry conferences such as HSMAI, ad:tech, Ziff Davis Media, The Gartner Group, NADA, NYNMA (New York New Media Association), SIIA (Software & Information Industry Association) and more. His passion for the application of semantic web technologies is most keenly supported by his vast experience with web systems’ analytics.



The principals of Thematix have worked with some of the largest, most interesting companies on the planet. Not including experiences from previous ventures, this list includes the companies listed at right. Further information is available on request.
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Avis
  • Blue Slate Solutions
  • Hilton
  • Samsung
  • US Patent and Trademark Office
  • Viacom
  • Wells Fargo
  • Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
  • Stanford Research Institute
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • OpenTravel Alliance
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory


Thematix will typically call on the advice and services of its friends in the course of a given engagement. Though not formally affiliated with the firm, these people can be called in for specific engagements as a situation warrants. We think of these people as our friends.

Jim Hendler

Jim HendelerJames Hendler is the Tetherless World Professor of Computer and Cognitive Science, and the Director of the Information Technology and Web Science Program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). He is also a faculty affiliate of the Experimental Multimedia Performing Arts Center serves as a Director and Trustee of the charitable Web Science Trust and is a visiting Professor at the Institute of Creative Technology at DeMontfort University in Leicester, UK. Hendler has authored about 200 technical papers in the areas of Semantic Web, artificial intelligence, agent-based computing and high performance processing. One of the inventors of Semantic Hendler was the recipient of a 1995 Fulbright Foundation Fellowship, is a former member of the US Air Force Science Advisory Board, and is a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, the British Computer Society, the IEEE and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is also the former Chief Scientist of the Information Systems Office at the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and was awarded a US Air Force Exceptional Civilian Service Medal in 2002. He is the Editor-in-Chief emeritus of IEEE Intelligent Systems and is the first computer scientist to serve on the Board of Reviewing Editors for Science. In 2010, Hendler was named one of the 20 most innovative professors in America by Playboy magazine. Hendler also serves as an “Internet Web Expert” for the U.S. government, providing guidance to the Data.gov project.


Deborah McGuinness

Deborah McGuinness

Dr. Deborah McGuinness is a leading expert in knowledge representation and reasoning languages and systems and has worked in ontology creation and evolution environments for over 20 years. Most recently, Deborah is best known for her leadership role in semantic web research, and for her work on explanation, trust, and applications of semantic web technology, particularly for scientific applications. Deborah is co-editor of the Ontology Web Language which has emerged from web ontology working group of the World Wide Web (W3C) semantic web activity and has now achieved W3C Recommendation status. She helped start the web ontology working group out of work as a co-author of the DARPA Agent Markup Language program’s DAML language. She helped form the Joint EU/US Agent Markup Language Committee which evolved the DAML language into the oil-reference DAML OIL description logic-based ontology language. She is a co-author of one of the more widely used long-lived description logic systems (CLASSIC) from Bell Laboratories. Her work on languages (including OWL, oil-reference.html DAML OIL, OIL, CLASSIC, etc.) is aimed at providing languages that enable the next generation of web applications moving from a web aimed at human consumption to the semantic web aimed at machine consumption in support of intelligent assistants and web agents. Deborah is a leader in ontology-based tools and applications. She is a co-author and technical leader of the Stanford KSL ontology evolution environment. She also consulted to help VerticalNet design and build its Ontobuilder/Ontoserver ontology evolution environment. She also provided technical leadership for the Stanford project to help Cisco systems form its ontology evolution plan for its meta data formation work.


Semantic technology calls for new ways of conceiving opportunities, problems and solutions.

Consulting Services

Semantic Search Optimization (SSO)

Using semantics to describe content for search engine consumption, providing more precise, more relevant and more effective content marketing.

Embedding your brand into the fabric of the internet.

Are you ready to start a conversation?

Get in Touch

Knowledge is power. We can help plug you in.

Training and Education

Though it has been around in various forms for a number of years, semantic technology — RDF, triple stores, ontologies, reasoners and the systems built upon them — is a new and powerful component of enterprise computing. We believe they are an essential part of the future of the internet and enterprise computing, and will be at least as formative as the web itself. We can help bring you up to speed with basic concepts as well as more advanced and recent developments. Our training sessions and seminars are designed for specific audiences, from executive management to advanced IT professionals. We accommodate all forms of training, from webinars to in-person, multi-day one-on-one or group seminars. We have specific materials and preparations for the following courses, but can adapt training to the specific needs of your organization:

Opportunities and Roadmap

Understanding and defining business value creation and capabilities empowers greater success in all IT projects. The more complex your undertaking the more value that can be obtained. This 3 hour, custom-designed seminar is designed to make executive management aware of the technology landscape and the potentials of semantic technology to provide innovation and opportunity for their business.

Ontology 101

Built upon our “Ontology 101” presentation, this is a two-day seminar for groups or individuals, designed for the IT professional wishing to understand the essential principles of semantics and ontology development and deployment.  Expert advice and training specifically tailored to your needs, vision and business requirements. Initial conversations and scoping are free, so call or email us.  

Ontology Master Class

This is an advanced course in ontology development, walking through topics like modeling standards, methodologies, naming conventions, best practices and design patterns.

Applications and Tools

This 1/2 day long seminar is designed to provide a walk-through of open source and proprietary applications, frameworks and tools that support development of a semantic technology initiative. The audience will be system developers and IT professionals.

Semantic Search Optimization (SSO)

We have seen that Schema.org is of distinct importance to enhanced SEO efforts. As if to drive the point home, Google’s recent “Hummingbird” announcement is that of a “complete replacement” of the core of what they’re doing with search (see “90% change by Google” is nothing to sneeze at“) With one fell swoop, they’ve just changed the game. This one-day seminar is designed to take your marketing and IT teams through the basics of ‘semantic marketing,’ walking through the essential components including: Schema.org, RDFa and Microdata, JSON-LD, OpenGraph, Good Relations, Freebase, dbPedia and social marketing components.

Business Architecture

A one-day seminar in the basics of Business Architecture, including: value stream, information, capability, organization and strategy mapping. A proper Business Architecture foundation enables organizations to better formulate technology requirements and change management initiatives. Thematix staff are founders and members of the Business Architecture Guild, the pre-eminent organization for Business Architecture methodologies.

FIBO Applications

A one-day seminar in the basics of the Financial Industry Business Ontology, or “FIBO.”  FIBO is currently capable of modeling fundamental aspects of business organizations and core business concepts.  Over the course of 2014, it will enable firms to model operational and regulatory risk involved in financial instruments, such as swaps, derivatives and equities.  Firms that wish to understand how FIBO operates and what it is capable of, will be interested in our FIBO Applications seminar.

Are you ready to start a conversation?

Get in Touch

We play by the rules.  We also help make them.

Standards Work

The Object Management Group is the pre-eminent computer industry standards organization. OMG Task Forces develop enterprise integration standards for a wide range of technologies and an even wider range of industries. OMG’s modeling standards, including the Unified Modeling Language (UML) and Model Driven Architecture (MDA), enable powerful visual design, execution and maintenance of software and other processes.  At OMG, Thematix is co-editor of the Ontology Definition Metamodel (ODM) and a member of the OMG Architecture Board.

Thematix is a major contributor to  the Financial Industry Business Ontology (FIBO).  FIBO is the first rigorous semantics-based effort to address data standardization in the Finance Industry.  A major applcation of FIBO will be to address systemic risk in the financial sector. FIBO is an initiative of the Enterprise Data Management (“EDM”) Council, which represents most major banks worldwide. FIBO-Foundations was unanimously ratified by the Object Managment Group (OMG) Architecture Board to become a formal international standard by the end of 2013.

Thematix actively participates in standards work at the Object Management Group (OMG) and Open Travel Alliance, and our partners have also participated in several W3C working groups and in ANSI/INCITS DM32 (Metadata Standards – the US Tag to ISO JTC 1 SC32 WG2). We regularly attend and present at business and relevant academic conferences, including the Semantic Technology Conference, International Semantic Web Conference, and others such as INCOSE, Semantic Technologies for Intelligence, Defense, and Security (formerly Ontology for the Intelligence Community), Open Travel Alliance conferences, and so forth. We work closely with a number of universities that are well known in the field, including the Stanford Bio-Medical Informatics Research group (responsible for Protégé, among other tools), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Tetherless World Constellation, the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute, University of Aberdeen, Freie Universität Berlin’s Corporate Semantic Web group, and corporate research organizations such as SRI’s AI Center, in order to maintain currency and participate in advanced research as resources permit. Thematix has submitted proposed extensions to Schema.org, a consortium seeking to standardize the language with which website describe themselves to Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yandex.

Are you ready to start a conversation?

Get in Touch

We are tool-using animals. We also make some of them.


Thematix uses a variety of tools in the modeling and construction of semantic systems. Some of these are proprietary; some are open source. They are all state-of-the-art, and in many cases obviate the need for ‘build versus buy’ decisions — where we can build on the accomplishments of others in this field, we buy.

The choice of tools will typically follow design decisions that we make with you. For instance, an intelligent query system, allowing for “concept” (rather than string) search might use data in databases that is converted statically or on-the-fly into triples. This allows us to use SPARQL queries, which can be expressed in specific terms (e.g. a particular make/model/year) or in more generic terms (light garden tractor) as defined by the ontology. A reasoner associated with the SPARQL query engine determines which specific machines satisfy the terms of the query.

A standard triple store integrated with a reasoner and SWRL rules engine could be used. Ontology construction and testing will commonly be done with tools such as Protégé, Visual Ontology Modeler and RDFGravity. Where transformation of existing data sources into triples for the intelligent query is required, tools such as D2RQ are commonly used in commercial systems.

Java code will be typically be needed to extend the capabilities of the SPARQL queries and SWRL rules. A standard Java IDE such as Eclipse can be used for this. For systems and software design, a standard UML design and analysis tool such as MagicDrawUML will be used.

Some of these tools are described in greater detail below.

Visual Ontology Modeler 2.0

VOM makes using semantic web technologies like Web Ontology Language (“OWL”)-DL accessible to modelers who find the RDF/XML text or Manchester syntax difficult to use. The diagrammatic notation shown below is based on UML’s profile capability and the modeler is delivered as a plug-in to a first class UML modeling tool.

Visual Ontology Modeler

One can easily examine complex relationship patterns by dragging OWL-DL elements onto a diagram, or by using a unique visual editor feature that allows elements related to an existing element to be added to the diagram. In this way, customized diagrams can be created for different points of view of the underlying ontology model.

Diagrammatic representations of OWL-DL simplify understanding and extension of complex ontologies. UML-based representations make semantic web technologies accessible to familiar with UML. They import OWL-DL in a variety of forms using the OWL-API. They export correct-by-construction OWL-DL for use in reasoners and other applications. Finally, the visual ontology browser helps manage complex import relationships between ontology packages.

New ontology elements can be created by dragging and dropping them from the visual editor palette onto the current diagram or by creating new elements in the model browser. Elements can be rearranged for visual clarity without losing connections as a sophisticated connection routing algorithm works to find the best path. In addition, visual connections can be routed manually when desired.

VOM 2.0 has import capabilities for a variety of OWL interchange formats by way of the OWL API. It can export OWL as RDF/XML, allowing it to be used in conjunction with other OWL tools such as the Protégé OWL editor from Stanford.

We are pleased to provide a presentation describing building ontologies using UML in VOM.  This is Copyright 2014 Thematix Partners, LLC.

To inquire about obtaining VOM for your business, please see this page.



Thematix uses and markets RDFace — the RDFa Content Editor.  Built by our friends at the University of Leipzig center for Agile Knowledge Engineering and Semantic Web, it is one of the more brilliant tools we have discovered.  It is the best enabler for the taxonomy known as SCHEMA.ORG.  It works as a simple plug-in to WordPress, providing functionality via the built-in TinyMCE toolbar.  It is a simple “what-you-mean-is-what-you-get” tool, allowing the user to “paint” the page with RDFa.  It serves to considerably simplify and empower our own RDFa efforts.

RDFaCE employs Sindice, Swoogle and Prefix.cc APIs for resource suggestion (providing appropriate URIs for subjects, properties and namespaces).  It also uses — and combines the results of — multiple NLP APIs, further automating text annotation. Currently, RDFaCE supports 7 NLP APIs namely Alchemy, ExtractivOpen Calais, Ontos, Evri, Saplo, Lupedia and DBpedia spotlight.

If you are interested in using RDFaCE for your own site, please feel free to contact us.


Pellet, FaCT+, HermIT Reasoners

Reasoners are software systems that are able to infer logical consequences and deduce implicit knowledge from a set of axioms and asserted facts. Thus, given a set of concepts or classes (“dogs” and “mammals”) and roles or properties (“are members of” “have hair”), a computer can make inferences about objects or individuals (Heidi is a dog; Heidi has hair). The language used to describe concepts, axioms and properties are called “Description Logics” or “DL” for short.

Pellet is an a Java-based DL reasoner created offered in both an open-source and proprietary version by Clark & Parsia. FaCT++ is a DL reasoner supporting OWL DL and (partially) OWL 2, first developed by the University of Manchester. HermIT is an efficient OWL reasoner offered by the University of Oxford.


Stardog is a “fast, lightweight, commercial RDF database for mission-critical apps” that supports SPARQL query; HTTP connections and the SNARL protocol for remote access and control and OWL 2. It is offered in both free and for-pay enterprise versions by Clark & Parsia.


D2RQ enables access to conventional relational databases as RDF graphs, without having to replicate the database into an RDF store. It is an open source system offered by the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) and the Freie Universität of Berlin, among others.


The Eclipse Platform is a software development environment and integrated development environment supporting a wide variety of programming languages and plug-ins, and supporting Jena — a Java API for ontology management.


Protégé is an open source ontology modeler and knowledgebase framework created and maintained by the Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research. It has a very large and active community of developers and corporate users.


Offered as open source software, the Unstructured Information Management Architecture (“UIMA”) system “analyzes large volumes of unstructured information in order to discover knowledge that is relevant to an end user” — for example, “ingesting plain text and identifying entities, such as persons, places, organizations; or relations, such as works-for or located-at.”

Production Rule Systems

Where fast execution and high-volume runtime environments require, Thematix converts rules expressed in ontologies into logic used buy production rule systems such as those offered by IBM, TIBCO and Fair Issac.