In order to overcome the limitations of purely deductive approaches to the tasks of classification and retrieval from ontologies, inductive (instance-based) methods have been proposed as efficient and noise-tolerant alternative. In this paper we propose an original method based on non-parametric learning: the
Reduced Coulomb Energy
(RCE) Network. The method requires a limited training effort but it turns out to be very effective during the classification phase. Casting retrieval as the problem of assessing the class-membership of individuals w.r.t. the query concepts, we propose an extension of a classification algorithm using RCE networks based on an
similarity measure for OWL. Experimentally we show that the performance of the resulting inductive classifier is comparable with the one of a standard reasoner and often more efficient than with other inductive approaches. Moreover, we show that new knowledge (not logically derivable) is induced and the likelihood of the answers may be provided.