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Re: [ontolog-forum] standard ontology

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Matthew West <dr.matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2009 22:08:35 -0000
Message-id: <499dd879.06a0100a.0f56.ffffb6a3@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Dear John,    (01)

> I strongly agree with Randall.  And I would add that Pat C has not
> yet given a single shred of evidence for the claim that an upper
> ontology is a prerequisite (or even useful) for interoperability.    (02)

[MW] Well let me try then, at least as long as we are talking about
interoperability between computer systems in general, in the process
industries we have found an upper ontology (ISO 15926) very useful. To be
specific, when two people are fighting over what a term like "pump" means,
by asking each to place it in the context of an upper ontology, you can find
out that one of them is talking about a physical object with a serial
number, and the other is talking about a class of physical object you find
in a catalogue. It's really simple stuff, but that is where I think most of
us here get it wrong. The big bucks is real easy to find in systems
integration. This stuff is so important that they spend huge sums of money
doing it badly, rather than much less doing it well, just because it has to
be done.    (03)

However, what is also true is that you need nothing like as sophisticated as
Cyc to do this, or as sophisticated as most people here would like to be
doing. You don't need complex axioms (you hardly need simple ones). You just
need a basic upper ontology, so that as you bring the ontologies of the
systems you are integrating together within it, you see how  the different
concepts they contain relate to each other in a wider context. Even
something as basic as Ian presented can be enormously helpful if you know
how to apply it (but I would rather have something with a little more meat
on the bone).    (04)

Regards    (05)

Matthew West                            
Information  Junction
Tel: +44 560 302 3685
Mobile: +44 750 3385279
http://www.matthew-west.org.uk/    (06)

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