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Re: [ontolog] Welcome to new members

To: ontolog@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: Patrick Cassidy <pcassidy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 05 Oct 2002 14:42:19 -0400
Message-id: <3D9F328B.6070404@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Name and contact information:
Patrick Cassidy    (01)

MICRA, Inc.                      || (908) 561-3416
735 Belvidere Ave.               || (908) 668-5252 (if no answer)
Plainfield, NJ 07062-2054        || (908) 668-5904 (fax)    (02)

internet:   cassidy@xxxxxxxxx
=============================================    (03)

Background:    (04)

Ph.D. (Chemistry) 1971
Biochemical and microbiological research
    at Merck & Co. 1967-1993
Ontologist at VerticalNet 2000-2001
Involved in building ontologies since 1992,
     primarily working independently.    (05)

Primary current interest: to participate in
construction of a reference upper ontology that
could serve as the logical defining vocabulary
for any domain or specific application -- to
promote efficient re-use of research results
and application interoperabilty.    (06)

My ongoing interest is in the development of
natural language understanding systems.
I believe that the development of an ontology
that can serve to define the concepts in a
computational lexicon is a necessary preliminary
to the problem of achieving human-level language
understanding.  Developing such an ontology that
is in practice widely used is in consequence
a necessary preliminary to the efficient
conduct of such research by promoting re-use
of results among multiple research groups.    (07)

I believe that the development of a widely-used
upper ontology is likely to require substantial
funding, and I am now exploring with others
the best mechanism to obtain funding for such
a project    (08)

>    - List any ideas that you have for discussion topics
>     (09)

     There has been ample discussion of formats for
ontology description in other fora; I hope that
any discussion of formats will not be redundant
with those discussions.  What I think would
be valuable at this point are:    (010)

(1)  Accumulation of a set of examples where ontologies
have been used in practical applications, with some
evaluation that could allow an estimate of how much
money was saved by the use of the ontology as compared
with alternative resources for data storage (e .g. a
traditional database).  This could provide the evidence
of benefit necessary to convince potential users
to adopt ontologies, and potential funders to allot
more money for research.    (011)

(2) Maintaining a list of applications that use ontologies,
are available to the public, and could serve as
test programs to evaluate alternative ontological
theories.    (012)

(3) A discussion aimed at gaining some degree of agreement
on the content of the top two levels (and some additional
detail) of an upper ontology that could serve as
the highest level of any application ontology.  This
would require that the participants in this discussion
suggest those highest-level concepts that they feel
are necessary to represent their domain concepts, and
then discussion could focus on the question of whether
those proposed upper-level concepts are logically
contradictory, or could in fact be accommodated within
a single logically consistent ontology (which may have
some redundancy).  Where logically contradictory
representations appear necessary, the next question
would be how to include such alternative theories
while minimizing the differences with other ontologies.
This would help us to learn how to maximize interoperability
even when logically contradictory representations are
desired by different developers.
     This could help answer an important question: whether
the  differences in existing ontologies are due to a
true need for logically contradictory representations,
or in fact arise as an accident of independent development
and individual preferences of the developers.  A related
question is whether one representation may be preferred
because it allows more efficient computation than another,
rather than being uniquely necessary for representation.
Having example applications that could be tested with
different ontologies would help to resolve such questions.
     The IEEE-SUO project conducted related discussions,
but ultimately did not focus on determining the maximum
degree of agreement obtainable at the highest level.
Such a narrower focus for this group would not be
redundant with the IEEE discussion group effort.  The
structure of the SUMO (Adam Pease's Teknowledge ontology)
and Open CYC would be initial candidates for discussion,
but others need to be considered in order to determine
whether a single set of upper concepts would not be
incompatible with the many existing ontologies.    (013)

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An archive of the [ontolog] forum can be found
at http://ontolog.cim3.org/forums/ontolog    (014)
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