On Wednesday, January 07, 2009 8:53 AM, John wrote:
"If the federated ontologies are organized in a hierarchy, I would
consider that a reasonable way to start." (01)
It is. A Top-Botom Globally Federated Ontology (GFO). I wonder how do you
think it should be kicked off?
Azamat Abdoullaev (02)
----- Original Message -----
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2009 8:53 AM
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Next steps in using ontologies as standards (03)
> In this thread, I mostly agree with the remarks by Ed Barkmeyer.
> I might find a few to quibble with, but I'd like to start by
> highlighting one point:
> RC>> Past history indicates that the killer app comes first, and
> >> the standards follow.
> EB> I think that was John Sowa's original point.
> Absolutely! And I keep emphasizing the point that Cyc has been
> searching for that killer app since 1984, and they haven't found it.
> Millions of research dollars have been poured into Cyc, they hired
> some of the best people in AI, knowledge engineering, linguistics,
> logic, comp. sci., and related fields. They pioneered the term
> 'ontology engineering', they have produced the largest formal
> ontology on planet earth, and they had some top corporations and
> gov't agencies work with their ontologies.
> But after 24 years, nobody has found an application that can
> produce enough ROI to keep Cyc in business without a continuous
> stream of research grants. In the early 1990s, Microsoft was one
> of the sponsors that gave Cyc enough money to license all their
> software and ontology (of that time) for unlimited use in any or
> all MSFT products. But MSFT terminated the license because they
> couldn't find any useful application for Cyc.
> I firmly believe that ontologies are useful and that continued
> research is important. But the evidence of Cyc indicates that it
> is premature to legislate a standard ontology. Instead, we should
> start with a library, repository, or registry of ontologies that
> various groups contribute. We've discussed this before, but the
> organization, management, and policies of the library are topics
> for another thread (or threads).
> PC> I can take two ontologies both based on FOL, OpenCyc and SUMO,
> > and I cannot envision any automatic method to accurately determine
> > whether one element in OpenCyc is the same as, subtype, supertype,
> > disjoint, or overlapping with a SUMO element, because the basic
> > vocabularies are different and need human inspection to determine
> > the intended meanings of the terms. Even then, it may be
> > impossible because the representations are not detailed and the
> > documentation can be inadequate to resolve ambiguities.
> That is true. That is why I have emphasized the need for the people
> who contribute, use, or review the ontologies in the library to say
> what relationships they find among the ontologies. I have often
> used the term 'lattice of theories', but I'll weaken it to just
> 'partial order', since I don't expect a complete lattice to be
> implemented. As an informal term, I'd say 'hierarchy of ontologies'.
> AT> Long story short: I really believe that this [meaning primitives]
> > is an interesting question and needs to be evaluated with rigor.
> > We may find that there is no general solution, but many practically
> > applicable special solutions, as pointed out by Pat.
> I agree. But it's an idea that has been promoted in computational
> linguistics since the 1950s and in philosophy for much longer --
> and there still isn't any consensus. It's an important research
> topic, but not one that is sufficiently stable for a standard.
> SB> I think the problem of creating standards is not about being
> > pro-active or reactive, or about testing what has been produced,
> > or starting with existing technologies. It is about two way
> > communication between modellers and domain experts.
> I agree. I was criticizing the proactive approach because some
> people in this forum seem to be too eager to standardize something
> proactively when there does not appear to be any consensus among
> experts, modellers, and users.
> RC>> While I can imagine *formally* what it would mean to have such
> >> an ontology -- a single theory of time/space/matter/motion/
> >> properties/<YourFavoriteFundamentalConceptHere> of which all
> >> other ontologies are extensions -- I think Ed and others have
> >> raised reasonable doubts about whether it is a realistic prospect.
> PC> OK, there are those who are not yet convinced it is feasible...
> The main reason why people aren't convinced is that there never
> has been any single *best* theory in any subject. Every branch
> of science and engineering -- including physics -- has an open-
> ended collection of approximations, each specialized for various
> problems and purposes. It is, however, useful to organize those
> theories in a hierarchy -- and that's what I believe we should do.
> AA> Thus to build an ontology standard, we need start constructing it
> > by formulating and selecting the most viable ideas....
> I agree. Put them all in the hierarchy, show how they're related to
> one another, and let the users discover which are the most useful
> for various purposes.
> AA> But what is essential now to decide on the viability of the concept
> > of Federated Ontology System, which, to my experience, looks more
> > promising than any nonfederated ontology systems, either unitary or
> > centralized or loose and unconnected, which sorts currently prevail
> > and propagate as pandemic on the WWW.
> If the federated ontologies are organized in a hierarchy, I would
> consider that a reasonable way to start.
> NC> In my opinion if you are waiting for "... strong leadership by
> > managing organizations .... in particular government organizations
> > when it comes to spending tax dollars to the maximal benefits of
> > the people, and not just one project", then you are a bigger
> > optimist than anyone on the forum.
> I spent 30 years working for IBM, which was considered one of the
> best managed companies on the planet at the time. They had many
> excellent researchers who were at the forefront of almost every
> major innovation. But somehow, the management would consistently
> dissipate the advantage. Just look at SQL -- developed at IBM,
> but commercialized by Oracle. Another example is the PC. Every
> researcher at IBM groaned when the idiots at Boca Raton chose the
> Intel X86 over the Motorola 68000. Intel had their "lobbyists"
> at IBM who sweetened the deal to cut out Motorola.
> That is one reason why I put more trust in the users than in any
> kind of centralized authority. It's much easier for the lobbyists
> to convince (i.e., buy) one "decider" than a million users.
> RW> I think that there might be justification for certain industry
> > groups to get together to produce their own "standard" ontologies.
> I agree. But one problem is that they are all highly protective
> of their "trade secrets", and they don't want to give up anything
> that might be a competitive advantage. Sometimes an industry group
> might coalesce in a consortium or a research institute on "neutral"
> ground, such as a university. That should be encouraged.
> FMcC> The compiler is still in its early stages, with very little
> > code generation and very little in the way of optimizations
> > implemented. But already, there is a 7-2 ratio in post parsing
> > to parsing code.
> That ratio is consistent with my experience, and it illustrates
> what I believe is one of the worst policies adopted for the SemWeb:
> focus on a one syntax-fits-all notation in order to promote reuse
> of a horribly limited and inefficient parser.
> CR> In order to better define, test, and evolve our standards, the
> > OGC uses a test bed process. This rapid engineering design, build,
> > test process definitely improves the quality of a candidate standard
> > before it comes into the OGC standards process, where a formal
> > process involving committees takes place.
> That is useful. But I'd also like to see some practical applications
> that have a positive ROI before anointing something as a standard.
> John Sowa
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