The investment to date in the STEP data model has been estimated
at over $500,000,000, and that is limited to the fairly narrow field of
Europe/US Defence/Aerospace/Automotive product data. $5,000,000 for a
foundation ontology sounds like a gross underestimate. (01)
[mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Patrick
Sent: 18 August 2008 15:54
To: '[ontolog-forum] '
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Semantic Web shortcomings [wasRe: ANN:
GoodRelations - The Web Ontology for E-Commerce] (03)
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All those points about how traditional standards are developed are
valid, but a foundation ontology for semantic interoperability is not
like a traditional standard. It's orders of magnitude more complex.
There are already several possible starting points - Cyc is the most
highly developed, but has been badly hindered by its commercial origin
and continuing lack of full openness in development. The fact that
nothing has gained traction in over ten years should be an indicator
that a new initiative is needed. To me the obvious thing to try is to
get together a large group of ontology developers and users and find a
common *basis* (the foundation ontology) for creating logical
representations of the meanings in all of the concepts that that group
is interested in. Such a project would cost over 5 million dollars, and
such a project has never been funded - even though the benefits of
success would dwarf the cost of development. When that tactic has been
tried and fails to get a large and growing user community, then and only
then would I look for alternative methods that would be invariably more
costly, slower and less likely to achieve the optimal solution.
Whatever is developed by the starting project can evolve and adapt just
as well - probably better, having been carefully thought out at the
basic level - as anything mashed together by a less organized project.
Acceptance in the commercial field would follow after non-commercial
development and applications have shown its usefulness. Possibly the
closest analogy would be the Linux operating system, where the core was
developed by one person and is maintained by a tightly organized group.
But even Linux is simpler than a foundation ontology.
One consideration that seems to be ignored by those who are waiting
for some standard to evolve from an unorganized collaborative process is
that there is a very large cost in lost opportunity for every day the
adoption of the standard is delayed. The cost of just the lack of
interoperability of relational databases in the US has been estimated at
over 100 billion dollars per year. The current lost opportunity cost
for one hour would pay for a project to try to reach such an agreement.
The benefits are so enormous that I think that *every* plausible tactic
to achieve agreement on a foundation ontology should be funded. This
notion doesn't seem to have been accepted yet by any funding agency.
Waiting for something to somehow appear by a process that has never
produced any comparably complex artifact is not in my estimation a
cost-effective tactic. (06)
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