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Re: [ontolog-forum] Current Semantic Web Layer Cake

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Adrian Walker" <adriandwalker@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2007 18:04:41 -0400
Message-id: <1e89d6a40708061504y7ff6a66ct110b9a061752080d@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Chris, Shawn  --

There's a diagram that you may consider as illustrating your point about interoperability in the real world.

It's slide 17 of


HTH,   -- Adrian

Internet Business Logic (R)
A Wiki for Executable Open Vocabulary English
Online at www.reengineeringllc.com    Shared use is free

Adrian Walker

On 8/6/07, Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx> wrote:
>The key sentence is the next one:
>"Its only when we ground the semantics of the data in the behaviour of
>the application/organization that we have any hope of success, and then
>only after a long and painful process of testing."
>The point being that the terms of the definition need to be linked to
>real behaviour, and not to an interpretation of a model, since the
>objective of the exchange is always to get the organizations to work
>together, not to get the computers to agree that they could work
>together because they have compatible models.

With the utmost respect for the views of those
who have to work in the dirty real world, I
suggest that this is quite the wrong conclusion
to draw, and indeed is one reason why industrial
interoperability standards have such a lousy
track record.

It is true, of course, that the ultimate test of
any system of information exchange must be the
improvement in overall performance of a system;
some increase in real "value" for somebody. But
there are several important observations to make.
First, "system" here is a very floppy word. In
some cases, the chief utility of an improvement
in communication is to eliminate a system
altogether and replace it with something else,
rather than incrementally improve its
performance. But my main concern is a perception
that I seem to see here, that 'interpretation of
a model' is a merely theoretical kind of matter,
in contrast with the down-to-earth business of
founding definitions in 'real behavior'. This is
a misunderstanding. Interpretations and models
(the terms are effectively interchangeable at
this level of discussion) provide a way to
achieve interoperability which retains
*meanings*, independently of how those meanings
are being put to use. It does not however mean
that the transmitted information cannot be put to
use. This is very important, since while it is
(as we see here illustrated daily) difficult to
agree on matters of meaning, to agree on
procedures and behavior is virtually impossible;
and, centrally, unnecessary. It is well-known
that if meaning is defined in terms of procedures
or processes then it becomes harder to establish
commonality of meaning, not easier. Exchanging
programs is not usually the best way to achieve
interoperability, as witness perhaps 50 years
experiences of repeated failures of any number of
'universal' programming languages (anybody
remember Algol-68 or IDA?). Exchanging terms in a
language whose meaning is defined by programs (cf
EXPRESS in ISO 10303-11) is little better.
Exchanging terms defined using datatypes (XMLS)
is better, even if the types themselves are
defined algorithmically. Exchanging terms defined
using an assertional language at least holds out
the hope of allowing information to be separated
from the processes which use it, which seems to
be a prerequisite for useful information
exchange, especially between vendors and
customers. And, finally but significantly,
meanings are much less likely than procedures and
processes to be proprietary or secret.

Pat Hayes

>Sean Barker
>Bristol, UK
>This mail is publicly posted to a distribution list as part of a process
>of public discussion, any automatically generated statements to the
>contrary non-withstanding. It is the opinion of the author, and does not
>represent an official company view.
>>  -----Original Message-----
>>  From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>  [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx ] On Behalf Of
>>  Christopher Menzel
>>  Sent: 06 August 2007 14:33
>>  To: [ontolog-forum]
>>  Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Current Semantic Web Layer Cake
>>                 *** WARNING ***
>>  This mail has originated outside your organization, either
>>  from an external partner or the Global Internet.
>>       Keep this in mind if you answer this message.
>>  On Aug 6, 2007, at 4:03 AM, Barker, Sean (UK) wrote:
>>  > ...We suffer from identical syntax and allegedly identical
>  > semantics
>>  > all the time in data exchange (ISO 10303), so I don't see why logic
>>  > should be any difference.
>>  Is this really the same issue?  The original post had to do
>>  with the fact that one can choose different semantic
>>  foundations for one's underlying *logic* -- e.g., classical
>>  vs some form of negation-as- failure.  Using different logics
>>  in different domains on the same data can of course lead to
>>  different inferences, but *that* different logics are being
>>  adopted in those domains is something that can be known and
>>  (if necessary) planned for up front.
>>  The data exchange problem that you appear to be referring to
>>  (forgive me if I'm mistaken) is that the intended meanings of
>>  terms used in the data to be exchanged are often not fully
>>  specified.  The latter seems to me to be exactly the problem
>>  that ontologies are supposed to solve, and may require a lot
>>  of work on both ends of an exchange before the "semantics" of
>>  the data is nailed down.
>>  Chris Menzel
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