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Re: [ontolog-forum] A "common basis" - bet you can't

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Cassidy, Patrick J." <pcassidy@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 4 May 2007 13:30:56 -0400
Message-id: <6ACD6742E291AF459206FFF2897764BE01881E1D@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Pat Hayes suggests a bet (below):    (01)

> >>and the entire SWeb, a world-wide distributed entity
> >>always under construction and never finished, is your 'foundation
> >>ontology'.
> >>
> >
> >That is pure stipulation. One might call it more 
> >accurately as the Central Dogma of the Semantic 
> >Web.
> 
> Sure, it is a vision rather than a reality; just 
> like Patrick's hypothetical Grand Unified 
> Ontology. Want to bet which of them will happen 
> first?
> 
   Sounds like fun, I'm game.    (02)

 ***************************************************
   I have described what I hope to achieve with the common foundation
ontology as a "conceptual defining vocabulary" (from a previous note):    (03)

(2.1) [PH] > My point is that you will never know this.
  My criterion for success would be when independent domain ontology
developers use some common foundation ontology (an/or its commonly used
extensions) as their conceptual defining vocabulary, and subsequently
transmit information to each other, and when there are relevant
concepts in one domain ontology that are not in the other domain
ontology, they transmit the definitions of those concepts as well.
They then should be able to reach the same inferences from the same
data.  That is the goal that I think will provide a level of "semantic
interoperability" that is robust enough for error-intolerant
applications.  When users do this, and assert that they have thereby
achieved a level of semantic interoperability on which they can rely
for machines to ***use automated inferencing to make important
decisions without review by a person***, then I will "know this"  in
the sense of what I hope to achieve.    (04)

  Users do such things with carefully crafted software designed to
interact under defined conditions, but not yet (to my knowledge) with
independently developed ontologies.    (05)

   There are two caveats to this criterion:
   (2.1.1) different domain ontologies may have elements other than
those that are transferred for interoperability purposes, and
**additional** inferences in one system may be generated beyond those
in another system.  These additional inferences should not be logically
inconsistent with those inferred by  that other system, and may or may
not be significant with respect to the purpose of the information
transfer.  To be certain of complete consistency, all definitions
beyond the common base that are used in one system would have to be
transferred to the other system, and vice-versa.  The effect will be a
common merged ontology.  It may not be necessary to transfer all new
elements from one or the other system, it may only be necessary to
transfer a relatively small number that are significant for the purpose
of the information transfer, if such a subset can be identified.  If
two groups conduct frequent transfers, it may be simple enough to
identify such a subset for the most common interactions.    (06)

    (2.1.2) if the two groups actually have different sets of data,
naturally some inferences may be generated by one group using the
additional data and vice-versa.  Whether that is significant will
depend on the purpose of the interaction.  To be sure that they will
reach exactly the same inferences, again all of the information in one
system will have to be transferred to the other, or they will agree to
work with a common subset of the information that both they have
in-house.
  ********************************************************    (07)

  Now, if Professor Hayes can describe what form of interoperability he
thinks can be achieved by the Semantic Web *without* a common
foundation ontology, we can see if we have a common object for
comparison or two divergent goals that can never be compared to each
other.    (08)

   If the two goals are close enough for use to know when that goal has
been achieved first by one technique rather than the other, I will
wager that the common foundation ontology will get there first.
Perhaps the wording above can be changed to make success easier to
measure?    (09)

   What shall we wager?  Perhaps in the same spirit as the physicists,
the loser may be obliged to wear (on at least several social occasions)
a T-shirt emblazoned with whatever slogan the winner decides fits the
occasion (perhaps I would insist on something like "A common foundation
ontology is essential for semantic interoperability" -- and might be
obliged, if losing, to have to wear "The Semantic Web Talks, Foundation
Ontologies walk!!" - or whatever PH wants).  Other suggestions for
stakes are welcome.    (010)

  The serious purpose, of course, it to try to define our goals with
enough precision to know when we have achieved what we are aiming at.
But why not have fun in the meanwhile?    (011)

Pat    (012)



Patrick Cassidy
CNTR-MITRE
260 Industrial Way West
Eatontown NJ 07724
Eatontown: 732-578-6340
Cell: 908-565-4053
pcassidy@xxxxxxxxx    (013)


> -----Original Message-----
> From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
> [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Pat
Hayes
> Sent: Friday, May 04, 2007 4:54 AM
> To: Bill Andersen
> Cc: [ontolog-forum] 
> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] A "common basis"
> 
> >Hi Pat,
> >
> >See below.
> >
> >On May 2, 2007, at 18:35 , Pat Hayes wrote:
> >
> >>>Chris, John, et al:
> >>>I think that a perfectly feasible "common basis" for
> >>>interoperability and integration of multiple ontologies is 
> a foundation
> >>>ontology structured as a "conceptual defining vocabulary" 
> that contains
> >>>all the concepts that are necessary and sufficient to specify the
> >>>meanings of any other more specialized concepts, using subclasses,
> >>>relations, functions, and axioms all of whose constant 
> terms are either
> >>>(1) contained in the foundation ontology or (2) themselves 
> specifiable
> >>>(recursively, if necessary) by terms in the foundation ontology.
> >>>
> >>
> >>As you know, Patrick, I don't think this is even remotely feasible.
> >>Whats more, it isn't necessary, even if it were feasible.
> >>
> >
> >As with engineering of all software artifacts, 
> >the term 'necessary' doesn't really come into 
> >play, except when we're bumping into the limits 
> >of mathematics or physics, and that's not what's 
> >happening here. There are, of course, many ways 
> >to get to some specified effects. What those 
> >effects ought to be with respect to ontologies, 
> >and in what areas of application, is a topic 
> >that receives little attention, aside from vague 
> >promises.
> 
> Not sure what we are arguing about here, but to 
> clarify, I meant "it isn't needed in order to 
> achieve interoperability"
> 
> >
> >>Your
> >>'foundation ontology', described below, will have different 
> points of
> >>view enclosed in 'contexts',and will be freely expandable, and will
> >>have ontology-style definitions of concepts in terms of other
> >>concepts, or more generally inferential connections between 
> concepts.
> >>
> >
> >You must mean "between names used in the 
> >languages of the ontologies so developed". 
> >Surely you don't mean "concepts".
> 
> Well, we are all here using the c-word to mean 
> names. But I think it isn't unreasonable to use 
> "concepts" for the things denoted by the names.
> 
> >
> >>This thing, under another name, is already being constructed. It is
> >>called the Semantic Web. The ontologies in the SW are your
> >>'contexts',
> >>
> >
> >No they aren't. There is no notion whatsoever of 
> >"context" at least with respect to the current 
> >slate of logical tools available for the 
> >Semantic Web, unless you mean by that term 
> >something broader that would include languages 
> >like IKL that do have something to say about 
> >contexts.
> 
> No, wait. I used scare quotes deliberately. Im 
> not saying that OWL is a context logic. But 
> Patrick's use of this word 'context' seems to 
> refer to little more than a named subtheory, and 
> that is *exactly* what a SWeb ontology is. The 
> URI/URIref naming conventions supply the 
> "context" structure: not that it amounts to much, 
> but it is there.
> 
> >  So, what are we to do with the current W3C 
> >offerings if we want to make good on this 
> >context talk? It is and will be for the 
> >foreseeable future left unspecified. One should 
> >expect chaos, not some kind of order that will 
> >achieve the aforementioned effects, to ensue. 
> >What reason is there to think otherwise?
> 
> Because all the economic pressures on both writes 
> and users of SWeb ontologies are towards mutual 
> comprehension and mutual consistency, rather than 
> towards chaos. The key point is that ontologies 
> on the SWeb are public. They can be read, copied 
> and modified by writers of other ontologies.
> 
> >>and the entire SWeb, a world-wide distributed entity
> >>always under construction and never finished, is your 'foundation
> >>ontology'.
> >>
> >
> >That is pure stipulation. One might call it more 
> >accurately as the Central Dogma of the Semantic 
> >Web.
> 
> Sure, it is a vision rather than a reality; just 
> like Patrick's hypothetical Grand Unified 
> Ontology. Want to bet which of them will happen 
> first?
> 
> >>But the main difference is that, rather than being built
> >>by a committee and located in and controlled by a single 
> institution,
> >>it is being built by anyone who wants to get involved, is located
> >>nowhere and everywhere, and is owned by nobody.
> >>
> >
> >Again, we're back to effects. Who, other than 
> >teenagers on myspace, is going to trust anything 
> >produced by such a process?
> 
> I would trust it a lot more than most of the 
> sources I use. Why should I trust an ontology 
> written by a committee? Why should I trust an 
> ontology owned by, say, Mitre corporation, or 
> indeed any profit-making agency?
> 
> >Do you want this kind of thing, for example, 
> >undergirding the software that runs your 
> >intelligent highway or local nuclear power plant?
> 
> Sure, as long as proper tests are made in such 
> obviously safety-critical domains. But ask the 
> other question: would I trust an ontology written 
> by a consortium of travel agents to book my 
> holiday for me? Would I trust an ontology written 
> and controlled by the RIAA to govern my usage of 
> my music files?
> 
> >I think one of the most destructive lines of 
> >debate with respect to computational ontology 
> >has to do with the centralized/upper-level vs 
> >laissez-faire/semantic-web approaches. Neither 
> >approach has emerged the winner, either 
> >analytically, empirically, or any other way. 
> >Centralized development isn't possible for 
> >large-scale application, but nor is the 
> >million-monkeys approach. Who says there is no 
> >via media? Why is it, for example, that an 
> >approach based on upper ontology  which we all 
> >know is likely not to be the final word on what 
> >there is  might nevertheless prove more 
> >effective at what we want ontology-based 
> >software systems to be doing for us?
> 
> Because any upper ontology (if it doing anything 
> at all) amounts to the imposition of a particular 
> ontological strategy, and if we know anything it 
> is that different such strategies are is use, and 
> will likely always be in use, and are strongly 
> defended by those who use them. Rather than 
> declare one of them the winner and all the others 
> the losers, we should be trying to find ways to 
> map between them, as we did in IKRIS. We know we 
> can do this for many of the classical ontological 
> quarrels.
> 
> Pat
> 
> 
> >
> >     .bill
> >
> >Bill Andersen 
> (<mailto:andersen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>andersen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx)
> >
> >Chief Scientist
> >
> >Ontology Works, Inc. 
> (<http://www.ontologyworks.com>www.ontologyworks.com)
> >
> >3600 O'Donnell Street, Suite 600
> >
> >Baltimore, MD 21224
> >
> >Office: 410-675-1201
> >
> >Cell: 443-858-6444
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
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