mOWL: Python library for machine learning with biomedical ontologies

Fernando Zhapa-Camacho, Maxat Kulmanov, Robert Hoehndorf*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Motivation: Ontologies contain formal and structured information about a domain and are widely used in bioinformatics for annotation and integration of data. Several methods use ontologies to provide background knowledge in machine learning tasks, which is of particular importance in bioinformatics. These methods rely on a set of common primitives that are not readily available in a software library; a library providing these primitives would facilitate the use of current machine learning methods with ontologies and the development of novel methods for other ontology-based biomedical applications. Results: We developed mOWL, a Python library for machine learning with ontologies formalized in the Web Ontology Language (OWL). mOWL implements ontology embedding methods that map information contained in formal knowledge bases and ontologies into vector spaces while preserving some of the properties and relations in ontologies, as well as methods to use these embeddings for similarity computation, deductive inference and zero-shot learning. We demonstrate mOWL on the knowledge-based prediction of protein–protein interactions using the gene ontology and gene–disease associations using phenotype ontologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberbtac811
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computational Mathematics


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