You know how much i esteem your knowledge, contribution, and arguments.
But the often used example of CYC is neither convincing nor conclusive.
Moreover, it is a counterargument how the SO or FO should be done. Look at
its upper level ontology
http://www.cyc.com/cyc/technology/whatiscyc_dir/whatdoescycknow, supposed to
make the conceptual foundation for the whole KB structure: (01)
Thing (universal collection, the top of the upper lattice);
Relation ("the glue that forms concepts into statements"); Sets
(mathematical); Collection (natural classes and kinds);
Space; Paths; Logic; Time;
Spatial Paths; Maths; Events and Scripts;
Physical objects; Borders; Artifacts; Agents;
Material; Movement; Actors and Actions;
State Change, Dynamics; Plans and Goals;
Physical Agent (the bottom of the upper lattice). (02)
It is a BIG CONFUSION of things, somebody ever met. I analyzed all this in
the Reality book: what and why this project badly missed. And believe that
it doesn't deserve so much attention on the Forum as far as we mean business
here, to create a Real Standard Ontology.
You might be surprised, but there might be one explanation to this dog's
dinner, not enough funding, $65 m spent for 25 years is nothing for the
project of such scale. Take, for instance, so-called NeOn project
http://www.neon-project.org/web-content/, which means: "A Network of
Ontologies is a collection of ontologies related together via a variety of
different relationships such as mapping, modularization, version and
dependency relationships". Started in 2006, "NeOn is a 14.7 million Euros
project involving 14 European partners and co-funded by the European
Commissionıs Sixth Framework Programme under grant number IST-2005-027595."
It is stated: "Our aim is to advance the state of the art in using
ontologies for large-scale semantic applications in the distributed
organizations. Particularly, we aim at improving the capability to handle
multiple networked ontologies that exist in a particular context, are
created collaboratively, and might be highly dynamic and constantly
I bet: again, the result will be quite different, as promised. Why 'again'?
To undertake such an enormous task of science and technology, first
diligently study the fundamentals of ontology, the basic categories of
things, the classes of entities and relations, what we indicated at the
beginning of this thread:
Which basic categories of things go as the canonical classes of entities and
What is the basic level of the standard scheme?
Are the standard categories defined by members (extension) or properties
How the standard classes are organized?
How domain ontologies and data models are structured by standard ontology?
What formal languages are most effective to represent the standard classes
and relations? (04)
Other unintelligent ways are just doomed to failure. Addressing your slogan,
with some modifications, to all who easily waste the big sums on the
this is "the ontology, stupid!". (05)
Azamat Abdoullaev (06)
----- Original Message -----
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 6:45 PM
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] standard ontology (07)
> Azamat, Pat C, et al.,
> Whenever anybody proposes a project to build a large formal
> ontology, I bring up the Cyc project, which was started in 1984.
> In June 2003, DARPA sponsored a two-day review of the Cyc project
> by a panel of people working in AI, linguistics, and related fields.
> The general consensus was
> * Cyc is a unique and valuable resource: Since 1984, 650 person
> years and $65 million had been spent to define and axiomatize
> about 600,000 concept types.
> * Support for Cyc should be continued, and it should be made
> freely available for research purposes.
> * The Cyc researchers had acquired a great deal of experience
> about the process of developing and using a large formal
> ontology, and their successes and failures should be
> documented in a series of detailed reports.
> In the early 1990s, the original monolithic hierarchy of the
> Cyc ontology was reorganized as a collection of "microtheories":
> * Microtheories are subontologies that may be inconsistent
> with one another.
> * As of 2003, Cyc had about 6,000 microtheories.
> * Cyc can create new microtheories dynamically to represent
> modalities or some agent's knowledge and belief.
> * But there is a need for different microtheories even at the
> upper levels of the ontology.
> There were also many questions about the relationship of Cyc to
> other R & D efforts. Two of the reviewers were George Miller,
> who started the very widely used and much cheaper WordNet, and
> Chuck Fillmore, who had started the Framenet project. Following
> is the consensus about those projects:
> * Lexical resources such as WordNet and Framenet have different
> goals, but they are complementary to Cyc.
> * They have proved to be valuable for natural language projects.
> * The amount of investment in those projects has been modest,
> but the ROI has been considerable. Extending and linking them
> to Cyc and would require relatively modest funding.
> * Many related issues should be explored.
> One of the reviewers was Ed Feigenbaum, who had been Lenat's
> thesis adviser at Stanford. Feigenbaum was also one of the chief
> proponents and advisers for the Cyc project from the earliest
> proposals. During the discussion period, he asked a question:
> * Lenat had claimed that when the knowledge base reached a
> critical size, new knowledge could be added much faster.
> * Recently, the size of the KB has increased significantly.
> * Has Cyc now reached a critical mass that would support
> an exponential increase in size?
> Another reviewer was Fritz Lehmann, who had worked on Cyc for
> several years. He answered Feigenbaum's question: The major
> reason for the recent increase was a managerial decision.
> Lenat wanted to make the knowledge base seem more impressive
> and asked the Cyclers to add a lot of easily defined concepts.
> After that review, DARPA reduced the funding for Cyc and
> required them to document their research. For copies of
> their reports, see
> They also began the Cyc Foundation to make the subset OpenCyc
> freely available. See
> AA> But the real fact is that the project of Standard Ontology
> > is not only a historically unique scientific and engineering
> > enterprise, but also too extensive, both in its scale of
> > knowledge, funding stakeholders and research participants.
> > Thus it will be expensive...
> It's only unique if you ignore Cyc, which also had a very large
> amount of knowledge, many funding stakeholders (including MCC,
> Bellcore, Eastman Kodak, pharmaceutical companies, Microsoft,
> government agencies, etc), and many of the best researchers
> in the field as employees, consultants, participants, users,
> and reviewers.
> PC> The estimated cost, $30M, may be low, but that is not because
> > of the size of the ontology required, but the number of
> > participants needed to be sure that the FO can translate among
> > the alternative representations that the participants may want
> > for their local use.
> The Cyc project was initiated in 1984 with goals that are
> a superset of anything that I have ever heard for the FO.
> Is there anything about the FO that is different from Cyc?
> If so, what and why?
> The groups that might fund the FO know the Cyc project very,
> very well. And they know that they never got much, if any
> return on their investment. You can't get a penny from them
> unless you can explain in detail...
> 1. What are you proposing that is different from Cyc?
> 2. What makes you think that you can be more successful
> than Cyc?
> 3. Why don't you start with Cyc as a foundation for the FO?
> We've already heard the arguments that Cyc isn't open source.
> But the cost of acquiring and adding more material to OpenCyc
> would be vastly less than $30 million.
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