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Re: [ontolog-forum] Role of definitions (Remember the poor human)

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2007 21:44:16 -0500
Message-id: <45D3C900.7070504@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Jim,    (01)

Formal specifications of programming languages have a great
deal in common with formal specifications of any subject.
Since ontologies will be used in computational systems, many
of the practical questions about how programs are specified
formally are definitely relevant to the more general issues.    (02)

As a side note, the preface to the Larch Book was, for me
at least, a "blast from the past" when I read the following:    (03)

    The seed was planted by Steve Zilles on October 3, 1973.
    During a programming language workshop organized by
    Barbara Liskov...    (04)

 From 1970 to 1971, Steve and I were working together at IBM
on the definition of an object-oriented architecture for the
direct support of high-level languages.  Both of us were very
much in favor of high-level abstractions, formal definitions,
and the principle that every object in the system has an
"access machine" that determines its type and an "owned
resource" where it stores its private data.  All computation
is carried out by message passing among objects.    (05)

I started to scan those spec's and post them on my web site:    (06)

    Part 2: Basic Concepts and Structures    (07)

I was the primary author of Chapter 2.1, and Steve was the
primary author of Chapter 2.2, but both of us collaborated
very closely on the details of both.    (08)

Unfortunately, our design was turned down on the grounds that
"The Endicott engineers wouldn't understand it."  That was
probably true.  After that, Steve went back to graduate school
at MIT, and I turned my attention to artificial intelligence.    (09)

In 1974, I wrote a memo that criticized the design that won the
design competition in 1971:    (010)

    http://www.jfsowa.com/computer/memo125.htm    (011)

John Sowa    (012)

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