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(n.) The hierarchical structuring of knowledge about things; this structure is created by categorizing things according to their essential qualities. In artificial intelligence (AI), an explicit formal specification of a way to represent the objects and the concepts that are assumed to exist in some area of knowledge and the relationships that exist among them. When the knowledge about a domain is represented in a declarative language, the set of objects that can be represented is called the universe of discourse. The ontology of a program may be defined by a set of representational terms.