Part I: Foundations


Welcome to Module III of the series of courses on Knowledge Representation using Conceptual Graphs. In this module, we will explore a tool for building ontologies, called the Amine platform.

The Amine platform

Amine is a set of software tools for constructing intelligent multi-agent systems. At the moment, only parts of the goal have been realized by Prof. Dr. Adil Kabbaj and his team.

What is already there, however, is a number of tools, one of which we will learn about in this module. This tool is the ontology builder of Amine.

An "ontology builder" helps build "ontologies". But what is an ontology?

Let us start with a more general definition, namely answering the question, "what is ontology"?


Ontology is (to paraphrase John Sowa) the study of the categories that exist in some domain of interest.

An ontology, on the other hand, is the product of such a study. That is, an ontology is a catalog of the categories that exist in some domain, showing their interrelationships using the "is-a" relation.

Please read this first

Before reading any further, please take the time to read Module I.

You will need the information there in order to make sense of Module III. Therefore, please do not skip reading Module I.

When you are done, you can return here and continue with Module III.


Assuming you have read Module I, the next page describes Module III, giving an overview, plus useful hints for how to use it.


The parts of this module

This module is divided into four parts.

Part I contains preliminary information which is good to know before starting to read the rest of the material.

Part II contains an introduction to the ontology builder of Amine. As such, it constitutes the meat of the module.

Part III contains some exercises.

Part IV contains some reference materials.


Scattered throughout the text of these notes will be links to the Glossary. Use these links whenever you want to. Some of the terms used are only defined in the glossary, while they are used with little or no explanation in the running text. Therefore, if there are any terms you don't know, using the glossary may prove to be a fruitful use of time.

You can see when a link points to the glossary by looking at the place in your browser where the URL of the link under the mouse is shown. If this URL contains the word "Glossary", it is a link to the glossary.


On many of the following pages, there will be a short summary at the bottom of the page highlighting the main points of the page. Use these summaries to make sure you understand the main points.

Document hierarchy

The following pages are divided into parts, chapters, and pages. The table of contents lists all of the pages indented in such a way as to indicate the document hierarchy. Each chapter will start with a list of the pages in the chapter.

At the bottom of each page, there will be three links: Prev, Up, and Next. These take you to the previous, once upwards, and next pages in the document hierarchy. You will always be able to get to the table of contents by clicking "Up" a number of times.

At the bottom of each page, there will also be "PrevLite" and "NextLite" links, which are for the "Lite Track". The "Lite Track" skips the more advanced parts of the module.


If there is anything that is unclear in these pages, we would like to hear about it. You can write to Ulrik Petersen at "ulrikp at" (convert this to a valid e-mail address before sending the e-mail).

It is most helpful if you indicate which page you are referring to by including its node number. This is the four- or five-digit number you see in the Address field of your browser.


These notes are about how to build ontologies using the ontology builder from the Amine Platform.

Part I gives useful background information. Part II introduces the ontology builder of Amine. Part III contains some exercises. Part IV contains reference materials.


The next page gives hints on how to download and install the Amine Platform if you want to do this on your own machine.

The whole package has already been installed on the machines in the laboratories at Kroghstræde 3.

If you do not want to install Amine on your own machine, you can skip past the download and installation.

Downloading Amine

You need Java

First, download and install the Java Virtual Machine, latest version.
(It is important that you use version 1.4.2 or later, not version 1.2 or 1.3).

You can also use JDK, if you have a need for developing Java software.



You can download two versions of Amine:

Amine 2.0.3

Download Amine 2.0.3.

Place the downloaded file somewhere on your harddrive where you can find it again. We recommmend placing it on the Desktop (in Danish: Skrivebord):


Amine 4

Download Amine 4.

This is the latest version of Amine. It is Alpha software. This means that it is likely to contain bugs that could be annoying. The installation guide on the following pages is for Amine 2.0.3. You should be able to use Amine 4, if you remember the following:

  1. Place the folder aminePlatform from the zip-folder in the root of your harddrive C:\
  2. Use the file AmineSuite.bat in the aminePlatform folder to start (double-click) the Amine Platform Suite, version 4.
  3. Save you work frequently, and copy-paste important information to, for example, a Word document.

If you have decided to use Amine 4 you can go to Part II



In order to install Amine, you will need to download and install the following items:

  1. Java VM version 1.4.2 or later.
  2. Amine ZIP-folder.

Place the Amine file somewhere where you can find it, preferably on the Desktop.

Unpacking Amine


The following instructions are for Windows. Other operating systems will have similar procedures.

We will assume that you have downloaded both the Java VM and

Starting the extraction

Assuming you have placed the folder on the Desktop, double-click on this folder.

You will see the following contents of the folder:

Copying the folder Amine203

In the folder that has just opened copy the folder Amine203 to the Program Files folder (in Danish: Programmer). You normally have permissions to copy the Amine203 folder to the Program Files folder, if you're using your private computer. If that poses a problem, you can copy the folder to the Documents folder (in Danish: Dokumenter) instead, even if the Amine203 folder strictly speaking contains program code, ie. the Amine system.


We're not done installing, however. The next page takes you through the steps of completing the installation.

Installing Amine


The installation proceeds in three steps:

  1. Locating the java.exe program.
  2. Editing the runAmineSuite.bat file.
  3. Making a shortcut on the desktop.

Locating the java.exe program


Why do we need to locate the java.exe program? This is because there may be more than one java.exe program on your computer, and we need to run Amine with the right one.


  1. Go til Start --> Search

  2. Choose "For Files or Folders"

  3. In "Search for files or folders named:", write:

  4. Make sure "Look in" is set to:

    Local Harddrives (C:)

    or similar.

  5. Press "Search Now"

  6. You should get several java.exe instances in the search window. Select the one whose directory is similar to the following:

    E:\Program Files\Java\j2re1.4.2_05\bin
  7. Right-click on this java.exe, and choose "Open Containing Folder". A window such as the following should appear:

  8. Make sure the Address field (path) is highlighted, as in the picture above. Then copy this to the clipboard using Ctrl-C.

  9. You're done with this step.


Next, we need to edit the .bat file that will start Amine. The next page shows how to do this.

Editing the runAmineSuite.bat file


Now we need to edit the .bat file that starts Amine, telling it where the java.exe file is that we have just located.


  1. Open up Windows Explorer.

  2. Navigate to:

  3. Locate the "runAmineSuite.bat" file in the right pane.

  4. Right-click this file and choose "Rediger" (English: Edit):

  5. Notepad will open. Place the cursor just before "java", and press Ctrl-V. The path that was on the clipboard will be inserted.

  6. Now place a backslash ("\") between the path and "java".

  7. If there are any spaces in the path before "java", place the whole path (including "java") in "double quotes", e.g., like this:

    "C:\Program Files\Java\j2re1.4.2_05\bin\java"

    The end-result should look something like the following:

  8. Save the file (File|Save).

  9. Close Notepad.

  10. You'r done with this step!


Next, we need to place a shortcut to the runAmineSuite.bat file on the desktop. This will allow us to start Amine easily.

Making a shortcut on the desktop


Making a shortcut on the desktop will make it easier to start Amine in subsequent sessions. You can then just show the desktop and double-click on the Amine icon.


  1. Open Windows Explorer if it isn't open yet.

  2. Make sure you can see part of the desktop as well as Windows Explorer. This can be done by minimizing Windows Explorer, then resizing it so that a portion of the desktop appears.

  3. Navigate to:

  4. Locate the "runAmineSuite.bat" file.

  5. Right-click this file and choose "Opret genvej" (English: Create shortcut).

  6. A shortcut will appear, named "shortcut to runAmineSuite.bat" or similar. We need to rename this to something more meaningful.

    Therefore, right-click this shortcut, and choose "Omdøb" (English: Rename):

  7. Write "Amine 2.0.3":

  8. We now need to place it on the desktop. Simply drag and drop it onto any visible part of the desktop.

  9. If you don't like the place where the shortcut was dropped, show the desktop by pressing the icon for this on the taskbar, then move the "Amine 2.0.3" shortcut wherever you like.

  10. You're done installing! Congratulations!

Is everything OK?

If you've followed the instructions on the last three pages, you should now be able to double-click on the "Amine 2.0.3" icon on the desktop and thereby start Amine. Try it now. If it doesn't work, you will need to go back and retrace your steps.

One possible error you may have made is not putting a backslash between the path to the java.exe program and the java program itself, while editing the runAmineSuite.bat file.

Running Amine

Starting it

At Kroghstræde 3

If you are at Kroghstræde 3 at AAU, in lab 5.131, you will be able to start Amine by choosing the following menu-path:

Start -> All Programs -> AminePlatform -> AmineSuite

At home

If you followed the previous instructions, you should be able to start Amine by double-clicking on the

   Amine 2.0.3

shortcut on the desktop.

Alternatively, you can double-click on the file:


A word of warning

Amine is Alpha software

Amine is Alpha software. This means that it is likely to contain bugs that could be annoying.

However, we have run Amine with a minimum of problems, so you shouldn't need to be too frustrated.

Having said that, if you do find bugs or annoyances, please let Ulrik Petersen know at <ulrikp at> (convert this to a valid email address before writing).

Ulrik will then either fix the bugs himself or pass the information on to the developer of Amine, Prof. Dr. Adil Kabbaj.