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Re: [ontolog-forum] Semantic Web shortcomings [was Re: ANN:GoodRelations

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <alex.shkotin@xxxxxxxxx>
From: "Christopher Spottiswoode" <cms@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2008 17:00:37 +0200
Message-id: <01e501c8fd55$6b870f40$0100a8c0@Dev>
Alex, and Max and John too, with later Ron Wheeler as well:    (01)

Alex, you had written (also in response to John S):    (02)

> Dear Max,
> thank you for very interesting article, but IMHO SemWeb is not 
> about software engineering. It is about knowledge engineering.
> So it is not for programmers at all.
> And roughly say - it's forbidden for programmer to create 
> ontology, as we just get another piece of code;) that what we 
> really have now in many cases:)    (03)

That is a very sharp comment.  Most apt...    (04)

So what needs to be added to ontologies so that they can be 
relevant to software engineering, yet without bastardizing that 
essence you so rightly insist on?  Is any such supplementing or 
complementing even possible, from your perhaps-too-purist point of 
view?    (05)

My own answers (as usual not so humble) are "Yes, and it's 
realworld semantics"!  Or "semantics + pragmatics", if you wish.    (06)

That, with my expansion below, is also my answer to Ron Wheeler's 
later follow-up to you:    (07)

> Software Engineering is required if you actually want anything 
> functional.  Otherwise all you get is words which is what we 
> mostly have now.    (08)

But obviously those realworld semantics must be totally consistent 
with and framed by the syntactic form, and formal or internal 
semantics, of the ontologies themselves.  (Though, please, I am 
not trying to be mathematically formal or fully accurate with such 
concepts as they might already be in use in some formal sense --  
just bear with me here...)    (09)

Now as it happens (of course...), that consistency requirement is 
a good part of the restrictions on the "relationship methods" in 
MACK (The Mainstream Architecture for Common Knowledge) which I 
started introducing in the "4th instalment" of my present "MACK 
basics" series of posts to this list.  (And in particular, at this 
paragraph in it: 
and continuing on to the end, later supplemented at 
http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/2008-04/msg00112.html.)    (010)

Thus the static or timeless nature of the basic MACK Form (as of 
any ER diagram or any ontology) is given the dynamism of realworld 
semantics by the way the relationship method mediates the 
event-drivenness that the ER and ontology pictures lack.    (011)

Then (of course again...) those comments are a good further 
lead-in to the rather exorbitantly-long-promised 5th instalment, 
with the subtitle "from simple elements to building applications" 
which clearly concerns Software Engineering.  That's where some 
kind of orthogonality is a necessary aspect of compositionality of 
systems of components, as the 5th instalment will indicate at some 
length.    (012)

((The much-regretted delay - getting on to 4 months now! - in that 
instalment is due to the care I have been trying to take in 
carefully projecting that part of the MACK picture.  And - my 
apologies! - I have had to let my day jobs intrude too.  However, 
my next paragraph below does apply strongly.))    (013)

For the coming 5th instalment I have elbowed caution aside and now 
in advance ask your patience, as in it I am busy spelling out the 
technical key to this "Ride The Mainstream!" project.  I am trying 
to show how that key is much more fundamentally significant than 
that apparently-dreary slogan might seem to imply:  it refers to 
the core, the essence, the mainstream of the evolution of 
cognitive life on Earth, evidently still so poorly exploited, 
whether in presently-conventional Software Engineering, or in 
ontologies as currently promoted, or in W3C-style Semantic Web 
circles.    (014)

Finally, Max and John, you will both see how the whole MACK 
approach will tend to reinforce your criticisms of the present 
Semantic Web and build on your suggestions.  We shall indeed "Ride 
The Mainstream!" together.  The "Democratic Web" will indeed 
improve how we "help people simplify complexity together."    (015)

The technical details in the 5th instalment will show how those 
words are not merely poor attempts at yet more demagogy.    (016)

Christopher    (017)

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