[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [ontolog-forum] Re: Unambiguous context information

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Christopher Menzel <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 29 May 2005 11:45:43 -0500
Message-id: <E2932AAC-ED60-4722-9F70-7B74513298FB@xxxxxxxx>
On May 25, 2005, at 9:50 PM, Nicolas F Rouquette wrote:
> The formal ontology approach is very appealing to me for several  
> reasons.
> 1) it is a "relative" formalization of 'context', 'description', ....    (01)

Ontologies do indeed often provide clusters of related information  
that capture several important aspects of context, but I think it is  
good to qualify that with the observation that a lot of folks working  
in formal ontology also think there is a place for a single, "upper  
level", non-contextual ontology that captures the logic of the most  
general categories that are (allegedly) applicable across most if not  
all ontologies.  Examples are:    (02)

* DOLCE (http://wonderweb.semanticweb.org/deliverables/documents/ 
* SUMO upper ontology fragment (http://ontology.teknowledge.com/)
* GOL (http://www.ontology.uni-leipzig.de/Publications/Paper-FOIS- 
* CYC upper ontology (click on the pyramid for a nice javascript pop-up
* John Sowa's Top Level Ontology (http://www.jfsowa.com/ontology/ 
toplevel.htm)    (03)

The fact that there are some significant differences across even  
these supposedly conceptually basic and general ontologies, of course  
is, and has been, a matter for vigrous discussion.  Notably, this  
divergence might suggest that even top level ontologies are context- 
senstive!    (04)

> 2) there is already a lot of solid work that has been done to  
> "formalize" these notions ...
> - NIST's Process Specification Language is another example, albeit  
> more limited in
>   scope    (05)

Although the notion of an activity occurrence in PSL does capture one  
aspect of context, according to its designers the theory is intended  
to be a general, foundational theory of discrete processes.  PSL is  
in my view perhaps the most mathematically rigorous ontology in  
existence, thanks mostly to the work of its chief author, Michael  
Grüninger (who is moving from NIST to the University of Toronto this  
fall)    (06)

> - There's another "Bob Smith" ;-) who has a lot of interesting  
> things to say on the matter as well:  http://ontology.buffalo.edu/ 
> smith/    (07)

This B. Smith is "Barry". :-)    (08)

> 3) At the end of the day, what matters is to have an explicit  
> definition of what "context" is that is independently verifiable by  
> a third-party. To verify context claims, we need a simple way to  
> reach an agreement on the semantic meaning of a context definition.  
> This is sometimes more difficult to achieve with commercial systems  
> that might rely on proprietary systems & whose semantics might  
> change. Commercial enterprises have a role to play but I don't  
> believe we have yet established a synergetic symbiosis of academic  
> research, open-source practices critical for standarization /  
> reference implementations and proprietary systems that add a non- 
> functional value-added to the whole picture (if there's functional  
> distortion, then we're back to square one w.r..t. having to  
> validate proprietary systems or having our IP locked in a  
> proprietary tool)    (09)

A very cogent observation.    (010)

> 4) Although formal ontology offers the intellectual "high-road"  
> approach to 'context' , 'situation', 'process', etc...there is, in  
> practice, a significant gap between how much of this can actually  
> be achieved with the current state of the affairs w.r.t. tools,  
> standards, validation suites, etc.. We don't even "apply" the  
> notions of context, description, etc... to talk about our own  
> semantic web technology, processes, etc...    (011)

There is on-going work in the Common Logic project to fold in a  
semantic web oriented notion of context.  The current CL ISO draft is  
available at (http://cl.tamu.edu/docs/cl/32N1238-WD24707- 
CommonLogic.pdf) but there are only vague allusions to context  
there.  I will send out links to drafts of the current work as they  
become available in search of comments and in the hope that the work  
might prove useful.    (012)

Chris Menzel    (013)

Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/
To Post: mailto:ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    (014)
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>