Ontologies significantly enhance the possibility to make agent-based Web applications really “semantic”. However, in order to make their usage both effective and efficient, some alignment problems, arising from the presence of semantic heterogeneities among them, should be solved. Recent approaches introduced the possibility to face these problems by allowing agents to negotiate the meanings of the terms contained in their ontology and exchanged among them. This solution appears significantly effective but not particularly efficient since its computational cost increases linearly against the number of agents belonging to the community. This paper proposes a new framework aiming at solving efficiently ontology alignment problems; for this purpose, it exploits: (i) a light bilateral negotiation procedure which allows an agent to understand a message coming from another agent correctly, (ii) a global ontology, which avoids heavy semantic negotiation activities, (iii) an ontology enrichment algorithm, which allows ontology alignment to be performed with an effectiveness comparable with that obtained by semantic negotiation approaches, and (iv) a new ontology model supporting efficient and effective communication activities among agents.
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