In an ontology, the A-box represents the state of the modeled world. It contains the individuals / instances of a domain in the form of facts, their properties, and the relations to each other. For this purpose, it makes use of the T-Box

Academic Projects

Projects and resulting consortia from the 1st supplementary BMBF call MaterialDigital under the MaterialDigital innovation platform. Primarily in collaboration with the Innovation Platform, they are to develop content and building blocks for PMD based on Use Cases


This term is part of the FAIR principle.

Agile Management

Agile management provides a methodology to act flexibly, pro-actively, anticipatively and proactively to introduce necessary changes. Typical elements of agile management are roles, sprints, and user stories.

Agile Manager (AM)

A role in agile management. The agile manager assists the team in an agile management with communication, organizes meetings, ensures adherence to roles and form, keeps track of the team, communicates issues to the product owner, prepares the agenda, and ensures proper documentation of the team.


An Automatic Programming Interface. An API is an endpoint from one IT system into another. To do this, the API "listens" for requests that are in such a data structure that it understands. Internal programming can then develop a response to this request, which the API spits back out to the very same unified data structure. APIs thus enable the connecting interfaces between systems. Examples include database queries such as SQL or SPAQRL.

Application ontology

A (partial) ontology that contains, structures, and describes, specific entities for a defined use case/use cases. It can be assumed that at least one application ontology has to be created per use case of the PMD and thus per funded project, depending on the use/goal of the ontology itself, in order to integrate the generated information in a retrievable way.



In an agile framework, a backlog contains project-related subtasks that need to be completed. They result from breaking down user stories into individually executable technical actions to be implemented by a team member.


A triplestore, or graph database. It provides an interface to upload ontologies and data, and provides a SPARQL endopoint.


Serialized data, which can thereby be stored like a long text and deserialized if necessary, but whose single values cannot be queried directly.


BMBF is the abbreviation for "Bundesministerium für Forschung und Bildung" (Federal Ministry for Research and Education) and supports research in all fields of science by financial means.


Central PMD instance (PMD-C)

PMD instance established at KIT on which the workflow environments run permanently and on which all tools can be installed and tested.


s. concept A class provides an abstraction mechanism for grouping resources with similar characteristics. Every class is associated with a set of individuals, called the class extension. The individuals in the class extension are called the instances of the class. A class has an intensional meaning i.e., the underlying concept.


Command Line Interface. Control of computers via specialized commands entered by keyboard into a mask.

Command line

s. CLI


By community, PMD means all interested parties in the scientific and industrial community.


A shared conceptualization for an entity uniformly regarded as a closed thing. Examples include "process", "material", "peace", "happiness". They can be used to express the intensional meaning of classes based on their use within the target domain.

Core Ontology

The Core Ontology shall define unified concepts for the PMD, to which the Application Ontologies can in turn refer across domains. This shall enable domain-independent standardization in information structuring. An example would be that the class "Process" would be present in the Core Ontology, since it is cross-cutting, and the class "fatigue test" would refer to Process as a subclass in an application ontology.


Curation or curation process in PMD describes the ongoing adaptation and review of software tools, ontologies, and workflows for quality assurance.


Data type

A data type schematically describes a data structure. It can be used for identification as well as for structural description of resources. A storage in a datatype registry ensures a machine readability of the datatypes.

Datatype Property

Specialized Property. Datatype properties link individuals to data values. A datatype property is defined as an instance of the built-in OWL class owl:DatatypeProperty.

Definition of Done

Definition in an agile framework of when a user story is complete. The Definition of Done (DoD) defines the functionality from the user's perspective that is required to fulfill that user requirement.

Docker Container

A Docker Container is a standard software entity that packages the code and all of its dependencies so that the application can be executed quickly and reliably from one computing environment to another.

Domain experts

Scientific experts who (further) develop their domain within PMD in the context of use cases. The scientific community as a whole thereby shapes the PMD both through their contribution and through participation methods. The selection of the scientific sub-fields represented in the PMD is based on the contributions of the domain experts.



Overarching theme, comparable to milestones. Epics consist of numerous user stories and clearly stated tasks. They represent a "minimum viable or viable product.



According to Wilkinson et al. (2016), data should be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. The acronym has recently become popular to summarize the overarching unified data organization goals of science. For more info please refer to: Mark D Wilkinson, Michel Dumontier, IJsbrand Jan Aalbersberg, et al. 2016. The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship. Scientific data 3, 1 (2016), 1–9.


Data that is considered "Findable" should be easily discoverable by both humans and computer systems. This term is part of the FAIR principle.


A framework is a framework structure which is necessary to populate the data space.


GitLab / GitHub

Gitlab is a web-based application where you can collaborate in projects. Projects are archived in repositories and versioning is possible. GitHub is very similar to Gitlab, but publicly available to everyone. Usually GitLab is used for project management and GitHub for publishing results.


The governance forms the common steering structure for involved projects and collaboration partners in the context of building the Platform MaterialDigital. It can be downloaded from the download area of the website.


GUI stands for graphical user interface and describes a user interface of a computer with the input (e.g. mouse or gestures). By means of graphic symbols and control elements it makes application software operable. The GUI replaces thereby program control by the command line and makes software intuitively and for laymen operable.



Ability to work collaboratively on text. HackMD supports MarkDown.


Industrial projects

Projects and resulting consortia from the 2nd supplementary BMBF call MaterialDigital in the context of the Innovation Platform MaterialDigital. They are primarily to develop content and building blocks for PMD in collaboration with the Innovation Platform.

Inference / Inference

The inference derived from Reasoning.


Individual realization of a concept. For example, the concept tensile test may be instantiated with a particular tensile test that occurred at a particular time at a particular location and with particular parameters. All instantiations together represent the ontology A-Box, where statements are made about instances using the terminology defined in the T-Box.


Interoperability describes data that exists in such a way that it can be exchanged, interpreted, and combined semi-automatically with other data sets. This term is part of the FAIR principle.



Java Script Object Notation, A standard object description syntax implemented in JavaScript that can be used to represent BLOBs.


Jupyter is a project to develop open-source software, open-standards and to develop services for interactive computing in different programming languages.

Jupyter Notebooks

The Jupyter Notebook is an open-source web application that can be used to create and share documents containing live code, equations, visualizations, and narrative text. It is primarily used for traceable documentation of data evaluations.


Knowledge graph

A knowledge graph is a knowledge base in form of a graph which describes entities and their relationships structured and instantiated accordingly to ontologies. Knowledge graphs can be used to aggregate large amounts of data and derive collected knowledge.


Linked Data

Ability to show relations between directly related or synonymous semantic concepts. Linked Data thus enables searching and linking of complex data structures.


A string, float or date that is assigned to a concept by Datatype Property. Example: a single value without further information. A literal is given a meaning within the A-Box.


Management board

The platform is associated with an industrially staffed management circle convened by the BMBF. Its purpose is to ensure that project activities are focused on maximum industrial benefit and to ensure optimal transfer of results into application. The management circle meets once or twice a year together with the members of the platform and is involved in the workshops of the project.


Mapping involves mapping file elements from different data models to each other.


Metadata is structured data that contains information about characteristics of other data.


Milestones circumscribe the overall goals in the project plan.


MSE is short for Material Science Experts and includes our material science experts.




s. "concept"

Object Property

The relationship of an individual to another individual. An object property is defined as an instance of the built-in OWL class owl:ObjectProperty.


An ontology is an explicit, formal specification of a shared conceptualization. The term is borrowed from philosophy, where an Ontology is a systematic account of existence. For AI systems, what ‘exists’ is that which can be represented. In this context, an ontology contains content links, either descriptive or formal. It goes beyond mere taxonomic categorization and thus can do more than standardization. Whenever possible, an ontology for materials science and engineering must take into account the cross-scale nature of the discipline. It must in itself provide logical added value beyond a relational description.


OWL, the Web Ontology language is a specification of the W3C. It is a markup language for developing and publishing ontologies. Its documentation can be found here.


Pain Point

In the agile framework, a pain point is a recurring problem that a stakeholder group encounters in the course of its activities and that a member of that group cannot immediately resolve on its own. This creates a willingness to pay on the part of the member for the solution of the Pain Point.

Parser / Parsing

A deserializer for BLOBS, strings, and other large data sets.

Platform MaterialDigital

The Platform MaterialDigital (PMD) is the infrastructure necessary for a unified exchange and linking of data, software solutions and ontologies for dealing with materials. It thus represents the unifying technological basis with which data and software from different application fields can be linked. The platform is created and represented by the Platform Responsible Consortium and the funded Scientific and Industrial Projects.

Platform responsible consortium

The consortium that has been managing the MaterialDigital (PMD) platform since its inception in July 2019, consisting of the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM), the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the Max Planck Institute for Iron Research (MPIE), the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials (IWM), and the Leibniz Institute for Materials-oriented Technologies (IWT).

PMD-Central / PMD-C

Server set up at KIT on which the workflow environments run permanently and on which all tools can be installed and tested.


A product is something created by a process that provides value to a market by solving a sum of predefined pain points from customers and stakeholder groups.

Product Owner

The Product Owner (PO) is responsible for the wording and implementation of the User Stories. Writes user stories, represents user interests, defines requirements (not solutions), passes responsibility for feasibility to team, defines Definition of Done.

Project spokesperson

Elected representative of a funded consortium of an academic or industrial project who represents the consortium to the PMD Steering Committee.

Project sponsor

Project sponsors are appointed by the BMBF and implement the technical and organizational aspects of the ministry's projects. They advise prospective sponsors, applicants and grant recipients and are responsible for the administrative processing and technical support of the projects in all phases.


s. Object Property and Data Property.


Pyiron is a Python-based integrated workflow environment for computational materials science. It provides all the necessary tools to interactively run complex simulation protocols that can combine different computer codes and perform millions of separate computations on powerful computer clusters.




The set of object properties axioms (transitivity, inclusion, symmetry, reflexivity, irreflexicity, disjunctiveness).


Resource-Description-Framework. A standard model to describe and exchange information in a semantically standardized way on the Web.


Taken together, the RDF of a triplestore results in transitivities. These are used in reasoning to derive more information than just the originally described information. Reasoning is done by a software, the reasoner, which works on the triplestore.


Reusable data. This term is part of the FAIR principle.


Semantic Web

The W3C-compliant framework that is intended to provide a unique resource description and corresponding query in a standardized way. The Semantic Web is a "stack" of several underlying sub-technologies for the corresponding task areas.


The workflow environment SimStack enables the efficient design and customization of complex workflows ("rapid prototyping") with software modules from different vendors via drag-and-drop, exposing only settings relevant for the respective use case. Together with the automated execution of the workflows on mainframes, this minimizes the complexity for the end user and the required expertise. This enables the transfer of complex, multi-scale scientific methods to industry.

Simulation log

Realization of a materials science workflow in a computer program.

Software tool

Single program for processing a specific material science task. It converts a well-defined input into a well-defined output. Examples are DFT or FEM codes.


SPARQL is synonymous with SPARQL Protocol And RDF Query Language and is a graph-based query language for querying content from the Resource Description Framework (RDF), which is used in databases to formulate logical statements about arbitrary things.


In an agile framework, a sprint means a phase of work by a team designed to deliver user stories.


Stakeholders are people and groups that have an interest in the course, results and processes of a project / product. It is also important to consider this interest in projects.


Standardization is the formulation, issuance and application of rules, guidelines or characteristics by a recognized organization and its standards bodies. In the case of the platform, we work together with DIN.

Steering Committee

The executive plenary of the platform responsible Consortium, represented by a spokesperson and one additional representative per funded organization.



The T-Box describes the Terminological Formalism and contains the knowledge about the classes of the domain. The T-Box defines which classes of objects exist in the domain and what properties they have.


A taxonomy is a hirarchical breakdown in a classification system.


A randomized system key that can be used for authentication, for example. The user usually does not get to see a token.


Logical inference according to the motto if A acts on B and B acts on C, then A acts on C as well. This becomes exploitable in the class hierarchy and other Object Properties in OWL by Reasoning.


A triple is a statement consisting of subject, predicate, and object, such as "man" - "is son of" - "woman". Triples are described uniformly by RDF.


A triplestore is a database in which triples can be stored and retrieved by semantic queries. The triple represents one data entity at a time.


A standardized RDF serialization.


Use Cases

Use cases that are implemented based on the platform, generated as part of funded projects, and structured to be compatible with the platform.

User Story

A user story is the smallest unit from a user's perspective in an agile framework. It defines the desired functionality that the user envisions to solve exactly one of his pain points



A versioning captures changes to documents or data.


Web Ontology Language (OWL)



Open source graph database, knowledge database, queryable via SPARQL. However, Wikibase uses a relational data structure inside and is not migratable to other graph solutions without other.

Workflow environment

Software installed on a PMD server instance within which other software tools can be executed and combined in simulation protocols. Uniform interfaces are governed by workflow environments.