Data and Knowledge Group

― Knowledge Representation and Reasoning

Rob Shearer

Research Assistant; Doctoral Student (Linacre College)


My primary research interest is efficient and scalable reasoning systems for very expressive description logics, including the logic which forms the theoretical foundation of the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Ontology Language (OWL). In addition to my theoretical work, I am a part of the team developing HermiT, a reasoner for OWL ontologies.

I am currently working to complete my DPhil dissertation, which is (currently) titled Scalable Reasoning for Description Logics. I plan to submit my thesis in January 2010.

Prior Work

Before coming to Oxford I did similar research at the University of Manchester as a member of Manchester’s Information Management Group and that group’s Description Logic clique. While there, I managed the “Semantic Web Language Extensions” work package (number 2.5) of the EU KnowledgeWeb project, and in most cases served as Manchester’s representative within other work packages.

Prior to that, I developed the Cerebra reasoner while leading technology development at a small start-up company (called Network Inference and located in London when I joined, and called Cerebra, Inc. and located in Carlsbad, California when I left). The company was subsequently acquired by WebMethods, which in turn became a part of SoftwareAG; I have no idea what the status of the Cerebra reasoner is these days. During my time there I had some involvement with the W3C RDF Data Access Working Group, which went on to produce SPARQL.

I also spent a few years with Transversal in Cambridge, England, working on adapting natural language processing technologies to the problems of web content management.


I’m a member of Linacre College and currently serve as the college’s Common Room Information Technology Representative. I also had an eventful tenure as head resident of one of Linacre’s houses from 2008 to 2009.

For reasons even I have trouble fully understanding, I’m an active member of the Oxford University Athletics Club, and have represented the club in a number of competitions for which they couldn’t find anybody else willing to show up, in events ranging from hurdles to pole vault to hammer throw. Throughout the 2008--2009 season I was the squad leader for Oxford’s throwers.

In my younger days I attended Brown University, where I founded and served as president for Technology House, the university’s first and only technology-focused residential society.

I grew up in Rhode Island but have spent most of my time in the UK since early 2001.

If you want to buy me a gift, I like motorcycles.


Rob Shearer


Research Assistant, Doctoral Student


RInO, HermiT

Contact Information

+44 (0)1865 283529

Wolfson Building, Parks Road
Oxford OX1 3QD


Personal site

Recent Publications

Exploiting Partial Information in Taxonomy Construction
Rob Shearer and Ian Horrocks
ISWC submission

Hypertableau Reasoning for Description Logics
Boris Motik, Rob Shearer, and Ian Horrocks
journal submission

Complete list...


New Positions!

The KRR group has new postdoctoral positions available! Research topic includes Ontology, Knowledge Graph, Semantic Web, Logics, as well as the interdisciplinary between them and machine learning. Send your CV to Ian or Bernardo. [added on 26/11/2019]

In-Use Track Best Student Paper in ISWC'19>

The paper "Knowledge Graph Embedding for Ecotoxicological Effect Prediction" gets In-Use Track Best Student Paper in ISWC'19. The work was done when the first student author Erik B. Myklebust was visiting the KRR group, with Jiaoyan Chen.

3 Paper accepted in AAAI'18

Three papers co-authored by the KRR group have been accepted in AAAI'18:
- "Stream Reasoning in Temporal Datalog" by A. Ronca, M. Kaminski, B. Cuenca Grau, B. Motik, and I. Horrocks;
- "Optimised Maintenance of Datalog Materialisations" by P. Hu, B. Motik, and I. Horrocks; and
- "Goal-Driven Query Answering for Existential Rules with Equality" by M. Benedikt, B. Motik, and E. Tsamoura.

Professor Ian Horrocks is a new honorary doctorate at University of Oslo, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Professor Ian Horrocks received an honorary doctorate from the University of Oslo.

Best paper award at IJCAI'17

The paper entitled "Foundations of Declarative Data Analysis Using Limit Datalog Programs" and authored by M. Kaminski, B. Cuenca Grau, B. Motik, E. V. Kostylev, and I. Horrocks received the best paper award at the 26th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI'17).

3 papers accepted in IJCAI'17

Three papers co-authored by the KRR group have been accepted in IJCAI'17:
- "Query Reformulation: Theory and Practice" by M. Benedikt, E. V. Kostylev, F. Mogavero, and E. Tsamoura;
- "Foundations of Declarative Data Analysis Using Limit Datalog Programs" by M. Kaminski, B. Cuenca Grau, B. Motik, E. V. Kostylev, and I. Horrocks; and
- "The Bag Semantics of Ontology-Based Data Access" by C. Nikolaou, E. V. Kostylev, G. Konstantinidis, M. Kaminski, B. Cuenca Grau, and I. Horrocks.

Paper accepted in PODS'17

The paper entitled "Benchmarking the chase" authored by Michael Benedikt, George Konstantinidis, Giansalvatore Mecca, Boris Motik, Paolo Papotti, Donatello Santoro, and Efthymia Tsamoura has been accepted in PODS'17.

Andrew Bate defends his PhD Thesis

Andrew Bate has successfully defended his PhD Thesis on Consequence Based Reasoning. Congratulations to Dr. Andrew Bate!

Best applications paper award at ISWC'16

Our paper entitled "Semantic Technologies for Data Analysis in Health Care" received the Best Applications Paper Award at the International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2016).

4 papers accepted in ISWC'16

Four papers authored by the KRR group have been accepted in the International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2016).

Best paper award at ICDT'16

Mark Kaminski and Egor Kostylev received the best paper award at ICDT 2016 for their paper entitled "Beyond Well-Designed SPARQL".