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Re: [ontolog-forum] Next steps in using ontologies as standards

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Len Yabloko" <lenya@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 09 Jan 2009 03:14:33 +0000
Message-id: <W6893921604307661231470873@webmail13>
Ed,     (01)

>With all due respect, you haven't listened closely enough to the various 
>sides of that discussion.  Description Logic is not "widely" considered 
>to be the most useful framework, let alone the only practical one.  It 
>is considered to be practical for Semantic Web purposes -- assisting in 
>the search for information relevant to a topic by marking up documents 
>as to their content, where content is defined by an ontology.  And 
>_some_ OWL/DL ontologies can be strong enough to be useful in other ways.
>    (02)

I would like you to be right about the balance of efforts and results, since I 
come from the Prolog side of it. But that is not what I see happening. I have 
been looking quite hard for any practical intersection between general 
application programming and logic programming. I see RDF and OWL apearing more 
and more often in the main stream application development. For example, in Web 
Services discovery and integration. I see much less interest to integrating 
business rules and workflow with Web Services and other components. If you see 
something different I would like to hear about it.    (03)

>IMO, the main advantage of OWL in the Web community is that it has begun 
>to squelch the idea that XML Schema is an information modeling language. 
>  OWL/DL is somewhat more capable of representing knowledge than UML 
>class diagrams, and it is rigorously defined, which is a major plus.  So 
>it is a good language for producing domain models, and it encourages 
>much better practice in the communities that formulate exchange 
>standards, another major plus.
>How good it is as a language for capturing knowledge models used for 
>formal reasoning is "quite another thing entirely".  DL is not a silver 
>bullet.  You have to give up a lot of expressiveness to get the strong 
>computational bounding that is characteristic of tableaux reasoning.
>    (04)

It looks to me like what you have to give up is not attainable anyway. I am not 
talking about theorem provers, cryptography or proof-carrying code. But for 
open information exchange and application integration computational bounding is 
critical. I recently read report on translating large medical ontology into OWL 
and performing basic inference that took 35 min with 15Gbite of RAM. I wonder 
what would it take to do it with Prolog.    (05)

>> This had been discussed on this forum many times, often comparing
>> Prolog and OWL as representing competing alternatives for encoding
>> knowledge. The jury is still out on it, I think.
>Indeed.  Each has its place in the larger world of knowledge 
>engineering.  And so do First-order logic reasoners, and some others.
>    (06)

If I remember it correctly FOL generally is not decidable and most of 
complexity results on FOL reasoners are NP hard (i.e not practical). Again, I 
am not an expert, but I do listen. Please tell me any good news on application 
of FOL in general application development.     (07)

>> But it should be clear that simply translating SQL to English is not
>> a viable approach.
>Now as to that, I fully agree.  (Sorry, Adrian.)
>Edward J. Barkmeyer                        Email: edbark@xxxxxxxx
>National Institute of Standards & Technology
>Manufacturing Systems Integration Division
>100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8263                Tel: +1 301-975-3528
>Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8263                FAX: +1 301-975-4694
>"The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST,
>  and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."
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