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Re: [ontolog-forum] A "common basis"

To: Christopher Menzel <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Adam Pease <adampease@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 02 May 2007 15:35:02 -0700
Message-id: <46391216.9000401@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Hi Chris,
   Many thanks.  I was really addressing a point that you weren't 
making, but which is all too common.
   I'm sympathetic to using SUMO for semantic interoperability.  When 
I've done projects in that area, it has worked well.  At the risk of 
stating the obvious, the advantage, at least in theory, of a common 
model over a federated approach is that one has mappings linear in the 
number of products needing integration, rather than potentially N^2.    (01)

Adam    (02)

Christopher Menzel wrote:
> On May 2, 2007, at 4:08 PM, Adam Pease wrote:
>> ...
>> Rather than just imagining some fatal flaw exists, I think it's
>> incumbent on those who claim a common upper ontology is impossible to
>> give at least one example, as a logical proof, of such a flaw.
> I agree with that, Adam.  My own expression of skepticism in an earlier 
> post was not rooted in the idea that there is a fatal flaw in the idea 
> of a reasonably comprehensive upper ontology.  To the contrary, I don't 
> see any reason at all why there couldn't be one; indeed it seems clear 
> that there already are several candidates.  I am simply skeptical of two 
> things:  (1) Whether there is any coherent sense in which such an on 
> ontology could ever function as any sort of "medium" for supporting 
> general interoperability (which is what the person from NASA seemed to 
> be advocating) and (2) even if the answer to (1) is "yes", I am 
> skeptical of whether such an approach would have any advantage over a 
> straightforward "federated" approach on which distinct ontologies are 
> integrated in a more piecemeal fashion; I am, that is, skeptical of the 
> extent to which an upper ontology is needed to *support* interoperability.
> That said, having in fact authored a small piece of the SUMO myself, as 
> you well know :-) , I am *not* of the opinion that the construction of 
> these comprehensive upper ontologies is wasted effort.  For several of 
> the existing candidates, SUMO in particular, offer very nice modular 
> axiomatizations of a wide variety of conceptual and empirical domains, 
> from class theory to time to material objects.  Even if a comprehensive 
> upper ontology as a whole might not be particularly useful for 
> interoperability, many of its various pieces could definitely serve as 
> the axiomatic underpinnings of a variety of more specialized 
> ontologies.  So I'm all for continuing their developments.
> -chris
>     (03)

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