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Re: [ontolog-forum] Is there something I missed?

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Ed Barkmeyer <edbark@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2009 12:11:05 -0500
Message-id: <498334A9.9080600@xxxxxxxx>

John Sowa wrote:    (01)

> All the basic arithmetic operators, + - * /, take two inputs
> and generate one output.  Trying to represent simple arithmetic
> expressions with only dyadic relations creates very awkward,
> unnatural and unreadable statements.    (02)

I fully agree.  That is why I called the dyadification of the "add" 
relation "an identifiably ugly artifice that has no redeeming social value".    (03)

Mike Bergmann wrote:
> Of course, the purpose of ontologies as specifically defined in 
> this forum is not to be either natural or readable.  If we wanted 
> readability, let's discuss literature.
> Sure, it is great to be able to look at a text representation of 
> an ontology and to understand it as human readable tokens.
> But the real reason we are doing all of this is to engage 
> reasoning and inference engines to assist us in doing things.    (04)

Absolutely.  But the problem with making domain ontologies is that they 
must be validated by domain experts.  So the closer the engineered 
rendering gets to something that is human-readable in terms meaningful 
to the domain expert, the easier it is to do that validation.    (05)

In addition, the fourth level of maturity in software is that it is 
maintainable by a skilled person who didn't write it.  If your ontology 
is built to solve a single problem, it doesn't make a difference what 
form it has, once it is integrated into the tooling that solves that 
problem.  But if the engineered knowledge is intended to be used in 
solving one or more classes of problems in a given domain, and some of 
those problems will endure beyond the tenure of the original knowledge 
engineer, there is much to be said for making the ontology "accessible" 
to the maintenance engineer.  And every artifice and work-around 
requires much more additional documentation to make that part of the 
captured knowledge accessible to the maintenance engineer.    (06)

-Ed    (07)

"We have spent many years devising ways of stating human problems
in forms that are meaningful to computers, and with good reason.
But most of those reasons are no longer valid, and it is time for
us to devise ways of getting computers to understand statements
of problems that are meaningful to humans."
   -- Selden Stewart (1991)    (08)

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    (09)

"The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST,
  and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."    (010)

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