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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontology similarity and accurate communication

To: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2008 00:00:03 -0500
Message-id: <47DA0653.2000304@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Pat,    (01)

Some comments:    (02)

JFS>>  Note that AA 2916 uses a B767-300 airplane, but nothing in
 >> that data [about airline schedules] depends on the nature of
 >> any airplane of any kind.    (03)

PH> Well, one framework might express this by saying that the
 > relevant temporal part of the airplane is part of the flight.
 > The other framework would find this incoherent. An ontology
 > has to choose some way to express this.    (04)

That is true, but an ontology that is adequate for airline
reservations need not make any commitment about temporal
parts of an airplane.    (05)

JFS>> The only relevant information about the type B767-300 is the
 >> number of parts of type Seat and their locations in the aircraft.    (06)

PH> For the passengers and booking agents, yes; but for scheduling
 > maintenance other things, including the history of this particular
 > airplane, become highly relevant. And for the pilots to submit a
 > flight plan before take-off, something has to do a lot of reasoning
 > about liquids and windspeeds and rates of consumption.    (07)

I agree.  But there is no single message that involves all those
topics at the same time:    (08)

  1. A reservation clerk does not talk about aircraft maintenance.    (09)

  2. A mechanic who does maintenance sends very different types of
     messages to the pilot or to other mechanics.    (010)

  3. When the computers that schedule maintenance communicate with
     the computers that schedule flights, they use the very narrow
     ontology of the reservation system.    (011)

  4. A pilot who gets a weather report or a maintenance report does
     not do reasoning that might require a detailed ontology of
     liquids.    (012)

PH> But I agree, this notion of keeping ontologies local is attractive.
 > Either way, though, there has to be some kind of global agreement
 > on how to format the shared information. Whether one calls this
 > 'ontology' or not isn't too important, seems to me.    (013)

I agree.  But the formatting can be at a very low level, along the
lines of KQML or many similar systems:    (014)

  1. Type of message or speech act -- command, question, assertion...    (015)

  2. Content in some logic-based or logic-like notation.    (016)

  3. A very small ontology of just those types and relations that
     are recognized on both ends.    (017)

John    (018)

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