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

To: <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: <matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2008 17:05:53 -0000
Message-id: <808637A57BC3454FA660801A3995FA8F06A2D108@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Dear John,    (01)

> Dear Matthew,
> JFS>> The airlines have been storing such information in their
>  >> databases for over 40 years without having a detailed ontology
>  >> about the nature of places, times, things, and events.
> MW> Oh, of course, they have been holding the data for decades,
>  > and fixing up/misusing data structures to do what they need.
>  > But that is not the same as saying they have been using a 4-D
>  > data model to do it, or as you say something with any explicit
>  > ontological foundation. And since the data is adequate it is
>  > possible to map that to a 4-D model.
> I agree that they have not used any explicit ontology and that
> much of it is very ad hoc.   Yet after sufficient debugging,
> they get the correct answers, and those answers are compatible
> with a knowledge base that uses either a 4D or a 3D ontology
> MW> But that is quite different from it *being* a 4D model just
>  > because it holds the necessary data.
> I certainly agree.    (02)

MW: We seem to have reached agreemenmt here, provided compatibility
is defined as a mapping being available.
> MW> The problem is knowing which data of this sort is actually
>  > independent of the upper ontology (i.e. it morphs when moved
>  > from one to the other).
> If you start with an upper ontology, it might not be clear
> what lower-level aspects are independent of the top.  But
> any correct low-level description of any aspect of reality
> should be compatible with any correct upper-level ontology.    (03)

MW: Again with compatible meaning that a mapping is available.    (04)

> (But there may need to be some conventions for mapping one
> description to the other.)    (05)

MW: Exactly. This can also be done, at least to some extent,
between upper ontologies too of course.
> MW> The problem here is the spaghetti problem of having to
>  > deliver pairwise interfaces.
> That is indeed a problem.  But it is not clear which problem
> is harder to solve:  align the upper ontologies of all the
> systems involved, or check whether their local predictions are
> correct.      (06)

MW: I'm not suggesting that one needs to align the ontologies
of all the systems, only of the interfaces. That is what
reduces the number of interfaces from up to n**2 to n.    (07)

Regards    (08)

Matthew West
Reference Data Architecture and Standards Manager
Shell International Petroleum Company Limited
Registered in England and Wales
Registered number: 621148
Registered office: Shell Centre, London SE1 7NA, United Kingdom    (09)

Tel: +44 20 7934 4490 Mobile: +44 7796 336538
Email: matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx
http://www.matthew-west.org.uk/    (010)

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