Barry Smith Smith is a prominent contributor to both theoretical and applied research in ontology, a multidisciplinary field concerned with the creation of interoperability between information systems both within and between different organizations, and with the institutional and technical strategies for achieving such interoperability.

He is SUNY Distinguished Professor of Philosophy in the University at Buffalo, with joint appointments in the Departments of Biomedical Informatics, Neurology, and Computer Science and Engineering. He also serves as Director of the National Center for Ontological Research.

Smith is the author of some 350 peer-reviewed publications on ontology and related topics, with over 23,000 citations. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the US, Swiss and Austrian National Science Foundations, the Volkswagen Foundation, the European Union, and the US Department of Defense. He received the $2.7 million Wolfgang Paul Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in 2002. In 2011 he was awarded the first Paolo Bozzi Prize in Ontology and in 2013 he was elected Fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics (FACMI). Since 2000 he has served as consultant to Hernando de Soto, Director of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy in Peru, on projects relating to the advancement of property and business rights among the poor in developing countries.

Smith's pioneering work on the science of ontology led to the establishment of Basic Formal Ontology (BFO) as the most commonly adopted upper-level ontology development framework. It also led to the formation of the OBO (Open Biomedical Ontologies) Foundry, a suite of interoperable ontology modules designed to support information-driven research in biology and biomedicine. The methodology underlying BFO and the OBO Foundry is now being applied in a range of different domains, including military intelligence, defense logistics, industrial engineering, and sustainable development..


Recent Publications

Robert Arp, Barry Smith and Andrew Spear, Building Ontologies with Basic Formal Ontology, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2015.

Robert Spear, Werner Ceusters and Barry Smith, et al., "Functions in Basic Formal Ontology" Applied Ontology, 11 (2), (2016), 103-128.

Anita Bandrowski, et al, "The Ontology for Biomedical Investigations", PLoS ONE, PONE-D-15-55757R1, April 29, 2016.

Barry Smith, "Document Acts", in Anita Konzelmann-Ziv and Hans Bernhard Schmid (eds.), Institutions, Emotions, and Group Agents. Contributions to Social Ontology, Dordrecht: Springer, 2014, 19-31.