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- Many tasks require correct and meaningful communication and integration among intelligent agents and information resources. A major barrier to such interoperability is semantic heterogeneity: different applications, databases, and agents may ascribe disparate meanings to the same terms or use distinct terms to convey the same meaning. Even when software applications use the same terminology, they often associate different semantics with the terms. This clash over the meaning of the terms prevents the seamless exchange of information among the applications. The development and application of ontologies play a central role in achieving semantic integration. An ontology is a computer-interpretable specification that is used by an agent, application, or other information resource to declare what terms it uses, and what the terms mean. Ontologies support the semantic integration of software systems through a shared understanding of the terminology in their respective ontologies.