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Re: [ontolog] Welcome to new members

To: ontolog@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: MDaconta@xxxxxxx
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 06:56:38 EST
Message-id: <1bd.12e758fe.2af3c5f6@xxxxxxx>
In a message dated 10/31/2002 5:21:35 PM US Mountain Standard Time, michael.f.uschold@xxxxxxxxxx writes:

  The use of the term "ambiguity" is often confusing when employed by
different communities.  What Mike is getting at I think is that,
fundamentally, unless one enumerates all the members of a set, or unless
the set is an abstract entity such as an equilateral triangle, there will
be ambiguity in the set definition.  For any definition, there will always
be "boundary cases" which are not clearly in or out of the set.

I think the issue of boundary cases is interesting.  I am not denying the
presence of ambiguity ... I think it is that very notion that led to
reification being part of the RDF spec; however, I would argue that there is
an acceptable threshold of ambiguity.  In other words, if we can get machines
to do useful things with a simple, narrowly defined vocabulary than we can
ignore boundary cases that fall outside that vocabulary.  And yes, that means
a robot using this philosophy will stop and scratch its head (probably getting blown
up due to its hesitation ;-)  ).

In fact, I think it is that exact reason of "utility" that we don't really know how
to use reification.  Do we really want to have to process a potentially infinite
chain of assertions and come up with a "truth" heuristic?  Heck, no.  So, instead
we assume statements in our knowledge base our facts and put a data-integrity
process in place to protect them.  An example of this is the TAP project ignoring reification
(see tap.stanford.edu).  On the other side of the coin, Haystack is attempting to
use reification to attempt to assess "belief".  A tough problem.

Anyone have any good examples of reification in action?

Talk to you soon,

- Mike
Michael C. Daconta
Director, Web & Technology Services
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