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Re: [ontolog-forum] Taxonomies and Ontologies

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Chris Menzel <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 20:43:14 -0500
Message-id: <20050714014314.GI903@xxxxxxxx>
On Wed, Jul 13, 2005 at 04:24:33PM -0700, Bob Smith wrote:
> Hi Duane,
> You said: > it is about the N to N relationships that exist between 
> those elements??  
> ...
> Are the N-Ary ideas of Natasha Noy and Alan Rector relevant?
> http://www.w3.org/TR/swbp-n-aryRelations/    (01)

I don't think they are directly relevant.  That document has to do with
inherent expressive limitations built into RDF and the weaker versions
of OWL (OWL-Lite and OWL-DL).  For a number of reasons, not least
computational tractability, RDF is designed to express only binary
relations between individuals.  For remarkably many purposes, this
proves to be adequate.  However, often enough, a complete description of
a domain requires relations of higher arity, e.g., a description of the
spatial relations between objects on a shop floor might require the
BETWEEN relation, which is ternary: x is BETWEEN y and z.  Roughly, the
document in question discusses ways of simulating in RDF and OWL some of
the expressiveness gained by having constructs for higher-arity
relations without actually adding any new syntactic primitives to those
languages, and hence without altering their computational properties.    (02)

Chris Menzel    (03)

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