Goals and scope

Formal Concept Analysis

Although Formal Concept Analysis (FCA) was initially intended as an alternative to the classical lattice theory [19], the discipline has largely outgrown this narrow frame. In particular, practitioners from various fields, e.g., social sciences, data analysis, software engineering, etc., have adopted the theoretical framework of FCA and made of the corresponding algorithmic methods an effective tool for the extraction of conceptual structure from raw data.

Nowadays, FCA is a discipline with lots of practical applications in, among others, data mining, re-engineering of software and knowledge acquisition. The number of practitioners that adhere to the concept lattice paradigm is steadily growing. Meanwhile, following the recent explosion in the volume of information that needs to be analyzed, the attention is increasingly drawn to the algorithmic aspects of the discipline and to their software realization, with requirements for scalability and flexibility.

Tools for FCA

However, to our best knowledge, there is no software tool that supports the (formal) analysis process along its entire span. Thus, despite the large amount of source code produced and filed by the members of the FCA community, reliable and free software is probably yet to come, while available commercial tools cover only separate tasks, e.g., the visualization in Toscana [18].

Integrated environment

In this situation, we claim that what is needed is an integrated environment for the manipulation of lattices. In addition, the environment should remain open source so that possible extensions could be easily designed.

Yet another problem is the lack of software support for the development of new lattice-based tools. Our own experience has taught us that, a system providing basic services such as lattice visualization and navigation, could greatly speed-up the process.

Motivated by the above observations, we initiated the Galicia project whose main goal is to bridge the gap between theoretical advances in FCA and the level of tool availability. Our approach takes the shape of an open Java platform integrating a collection of tools to support the entire life-cycle of a concept lattice (data preprocessing, construction, visualization, navigation, maintenance, etc.). The platform is intended for practitioners as it provides basic services necessary for practical applications of FCA. In addition, Galicia offers to FCA researchers advanced tools for performance studies, as well as an open environment for the quick design of new lattice-related techniques.

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