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Re: [ontolog-forum] standard ontology

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Patrick Cassidy" <pat@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 2009 00:44:57 -0500
Message-id: <0f3801c994b0$b2002a40$16007ec0$@com>
Ron,
  Please see interpolated comments    (01)

Patrick Cassidy
MICRA, Inc.
908-561-3416
cell: 908-565-4053
cassidy@xxxxxxxxx    (02)


> -----Original Message-----
> From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-
> bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Ron Wheeler
> Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2009 6:28 PM
> To: [ontolog-forum]
> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] standard ontology
> 
> But don't your points lead to the conclusion that the problem is in the
> application area not the ontology area.
> 
> I am not an expert but I am not very moved by the argument that
> ontologies exist to please ontologists.
[[PC]] Where the hell did you ever get the notion that I or anyone else
holds that view?  Please try to keep the discussion on a professional level.
These meaningless sarcastic comments are one of the principle problems
retarding effective discussion in groups like this.    (03)


> The form of the information should be irrelevant if it is "correct" and
> able to be understood by machines.
> I understand that the transformation from one format to another may not
> solve all of the problems in using an existing ontology in a new
> application but if it is not easy to do then ontology is a rather
> useless endeavour to begin with.
[[PC]] No, no, no.  Translation from one language to another requires more
than syntactic transformation, it requires that the translator understand
the meanings of the individual elements (unless there is a
context-independent one-to-one translation o words or fixed phrases), so
that complex combinations in one language can be translated into complex
combinations in the other language, dependent on the meaning and not simply
reducible to syntactic transformation.    (04)


> If the truth is tied to the
> representation so tightly that it can not be extracted and recast in
> another representation, it is hard to imagine any way to use it.
>
[[PC]] The truth is tied to the language, but you have to know the language
in order to extract it.  When there are multiple ontology languages
(language = syntax *plus* vocabulary), translation requires knowledge of
both languages and the equivalences between them.    (05)


> What is the problem of building a community of users? It doesn't sound
> like a shortage of ontologies or ontologists.
> It sounds like a shortage of tools and practical uses for the ones we
> have.
>
[[PC]] Look, academics and industrial organizations both are paid and
rewarded to do things that no one else has ever done.  They use each other's
work, but large collaborative efforts with distributed credit for any
accomplishment will not be their first choice.  There is nothing wrong with
this, and the local research group  serves very well in many sciences.  In
the case of an FO intended to serve as a common computer language for a
large community, however, some large community will have to use it for it to
serve its purpose.  We know now from past experience that there has not been
enough incentive (e.g. in the form of exciting applications) to make any
large group adopt one of the existing ones.  Providing money to collaborate
creates two incentives not now existing: (1) funding to support and possibly
expand their research group; and (2) a realistic hope that there will be
some group of significant size using the same ontology, so it will have some
potential for supporting interoperability, and they will have a community
from which they can learn and who will be interested in the results of their
own work within that particular paradigm of meaning.   There is no problem
building a community if the funding is available; without funding there
needs to be an alternative motivation to push past the natural
individualistic researchers' inhibitions to large collaborations.    (06)


> Perhaps, instead of arguing endlessly around the edges of the problem,
> we might better serve humanity by discussing what is wrong with the
> tools or whatever the reasons are that hold back the development of
> "killer" applications.
> Would $30 million on better tools[[PC]]  . . .    (07)

[[PC]]   NO, no, no.  Tools are a part of any system but the essence of the
interoperability problem is agreement on using the same ontology to
represent meaning.  The ontology content is almost completely independent of
the tools, provided that the logic has at least FOL expressivity    (08)

[R] . . . and demonstration applications or
> prototypes move the process on a bit faster?
>
Yes, yes, yes.  Demos and prototypes are essential to encourage adoption.
But they are very complex to build (how about CALO's 200M+ demo?? -  still
not available for public inspection after 5 years) and unless there are a
substantial number of users with different viewpoints, one cannot
demonstrate that any ontology will support *broad* semantic
interoperability.  The most important point of the FO project is indeed to
demonstrate the utility of an FO for semantic interoperability, but we need
a community in which to demonstrate it.  We know from many discussions such
as this, over the past fifteen years, that such a community will not form
without funding.    (09)

Pat    (010)

> Ron
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Patrick Cassidy wrote:
> > Ron,
> >    Even if all of Cyc were made completely free, without spending
> more than
> > the 30M for the FO project, that would not solve the problem of
> developing a
> > community of users, though it might speed the process a bit.  OpenCyc
> is
> > already free, but there is as yet no community of users developing
> open
> > applications that can illustrate how the ontology can be used.  It
> would
> > still require an infusion of money to pay people to develop
> applications,
> > and also to develop the translations from Cyc-speak to the other ways
> > ontologists represent their information.  I don't see any alternative
> to an
> > FO-like project to get a widely used common ontology as quickly as
> possible.
> > Of course we can wait a few decades and hope that another process
> will show
> > up.  I see no virtue in waiting, since, as I have pointed out several
> times,
> > the losses due to waiting are much greater than the cost of the FO
> project.
> >
> > Pat
> >
> > Patrick Cassidy
> > MICRA, Inc.
> > 908-561-3416
> > cell: 908-565-4053
> > cassidy@xxxxxxxxx
> >
> >
> >
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-
> >> bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Ron Wheeler
> >> Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2009 10:04 AM
> >> To: [ontolog-forum]
> >> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] standard ontology
> >>
> >> If I were reviewing a proposal for YAO, I would be asking, "What
> about
> >> all the other ontologies that we already have paid for? Hundreds
> exist.
> >> How is this new project going to impact them? Which ones become
> >> obsolete? Which ones are going to be improved or reduced in size
> with
> >> this new project? Which of the owners/authors of the existing
> >> government
> >> paid-for ontologies are supporting this request? Why are the others
> not
> >> supporting it?"
> >>
> >> The question about the cost/benefit of opening Cyc completely also
> >> needs
> >> to be addressed. I do not think that I have ever seen a clear
> statement
> >> about the size/nature of the problem with the proprietary part of
> Cyc
> >> but it seems to be an irritant to people. I am sure that money alone
> >> can
> >> fix this.
> >>
> >> These are not unanswerable questions and I hope that the FO's
> wiki/web
> >> site/project page will soon address them.
> >>
> >> Ron
> >>
> >>
> >> Ali Hashemi wrote:
> >>
> >>> Granted, my example of shoe size translation is facile. But the
> >>>
> >> larger
> >>
> >>> point stands. We're not trying to enforce one POV over another. The
> >>> FO's effort should be the exact opposite. We want to accommodate
> >>> however many views as people think are necessary (isn't that part
> of
> >>> the beauty of life and necessary component of science)?
> >>>
> >>> The FO's should serve as a way, where possible, to map between the
> >>> different POVs. If one is fundamentally unmappable to another, we
> >>> should find out as soon as possible. In this way, the classic
> >>> $1billion Airbus loss example, where a consortium of companies
> using
> >>> two different software tools (one using "holes" as an explicit
> entity,
> >>> another as implicitly contained in formulae) manufacturing
> >>> incompatible parts may be averted. A retort might be - domain
> >>> ontologies are adequate for this. True, but the same problems arise,
> >>> people may have differing philosophical commitments / aesthetics /
> >>> preferences. The fundamental problem of mapping / translating
> between
> >>> the approaches is the same. We need to move away from this focus on
> >>> consensus, and onto a focus on mapping :D.
> >>>
> >>> Oh and another case for ontologies - updating software 10 years
> down
> >>> the line. Isn't one of the shortcomings of functional programming
> >>>
> >> that
> >>
> >>> the algorithm hides the semantics? So if in 10 years I want to
> update
> >>> a module of software, it would ostensibly take much more time and $,
> >>> making updating a non-trivial task, since it's unclear what the
> >>> initial software committed to?
> >>>
> >>> Cheers,
> >>> Ali
> >>>
> >>> On Sat, Feb 21, 2009 at 8:17 AM, Ali Hashemi
> >>> <ali.hashemi+ontolog@xxxxxxxxxxx
> >>> <mailto:ali.hashemi%2Bontolog@xxxxxxxxxxx>> wrote:
> >>>
> >>>     Hello all,
> >>>
> >>>     Reading this discourse over the past few days, we seem to be
> >>>     taking one step backwards for every two forwards. Below I'm
> gonna
> >>>     present what my understanding of the current state of affairs
> is,
> >>>     and what some proposed solutions to it are. Perhaps this can
> >>>     migrate to the wiki with alterations refining our collective
> >>>     understanding.
> >>>
> >>>     But first, some general comments -- I'm not sure why people are
> >>>     comparing ontologies to traditional software paradigms - of
> >>>
> >> course
> >>
> >>>     in a silo a non-ontology approach will suffice and will likely
> be
> >>>     more cost effective, yet this is missing the point entirely!
> We
> >>>     aren't comparing the cost of developing one application to
> >>>     another, the whole point is -- what if we want to update the
> >>>     software? connect it to another? These are the costs that need
> to
> >>>     be internalized and should be accounted for in the comparison;
> >>>     indeed it is here where the purported utility of ontologies
> >>>
> >> should
> >>
> >>>     come to shine.
> >>>
> >>>     Of course, one can develop an app in a silo for cheaper, but
> what
> >>>     if two companies using different databases decide to merge?
> What
> >>>     if in the life sciences two or more different databases are
> >>>     required to interoperate. What if along your supply chain
> >>>     different people have different accounting / shipping / etc.
> >>>     software apps? Without an ontology, each of these scenarios
> >>>     requires far more time, effort and $$ than one with an
> adequately
> >>>     developed ontology. Hence, i submit that the cost analyses thus
> >>>     far have been missing the mark, and if proposals have been made
> >>>
> >> to
> >>
> >>>     DoD or other potential clients without advancing these
> arguments,
> >>>     then they aren't really touting the benefits of ontologies.
> >>>
> >>>     On to point two - in this thread, people have offered Cyc as an
> >>>     example FO. I thought we'd moved away from FO meaning a unique
> >>>     foundation ontology and instead had decided that FO means
> >>>     Foundation OntologIES.  In this respect, Cyc is clearly
> >>>     inadequate, since it only represents one philosophical paradigm,
> >>>     which as we've seen again and again does not meet everyone's
> >>>     needs. (Digression: access to Cyc is quite shoddy too, i (and
> my
> >>>     lab) have applied multiple times for a license to OpenCyc,
> never
> >>>     heard back .... will resist temptation to speculate why.) Maybe
> >>>
> >> we
> >>
> >>>     should retire the term FO and replace it with FO's, for clarity?
> >>>
> >>>     Now on to my summary:
> >>>
> >>>     Goals:
> >>>     FO's should serve two purposes.
> >>>
> >>>     1- to maximize reuse and minimize "wheel reinventing" by
> >>>
> >> providing
> >>
> >>>     a resource for would be developers to identify axioms they
> would
> >>>     like to reuse.
> >>>         Note: This is stronger / more versatile than simple lexical
> >>>     matching / i.e. reusing a pre-developed notion of "wheel".
> Rather,
> >>>     one is reusing whatever it is that defines the wheel (vis-a-vis
> >>>     Aldo Gangemi's work on ontology patterns, my thesis on ontology
> >>>     design tools)
> >>>
> >>>     2 - facilitate interoperability among different philosophical
> >>>     paradigms
> >>>          This means storing and perhaps dynamically generating
> >>>
> >> mapping
> >>
> >>>     axioms between different ontologies. In the 1990's and early
> >>>     2000's an Interlingua was offered as a potential solution. I
> >>>
> >> think
> >>
> >>>     with time, it has become clearer that a Family of
> >>>     Interlingua ontologies is what is needed. One approach is
> >>>
> >> captured
> >>
> >>>     in CoLoRe which focuses on what can be expressed in a
> particular
> >>>     language, and puts philosophical commitments secondary - to me
> >>>     this is one very promising methodology, haven't heard any other
> >>>     proposals.
> >>>
> >>>     Situation at Hand:
> >>>     The ontology field is nascent and fractured.
> >>>     There are few guides for would be ontology designers to aid in
> >>>
> >> the
> >>
> >>>     development of an ontology.
> >>>     There are few tools for "" """.
> >>>     As a result of the fractured nature, reuse is highly
> inefficient,
> >>>     and once an ontology has been articulated it is unclear how
> they
> >>>     relate to others.
> >>>     Mapping into the thus far created UO's is inadequate, since the
> >>>     UO's themselves aren't linked to one another.
> >>>     Moreover, many ontologies today are still stuck in taxonomy
> mode,
> >>>     which again, might be useful in a silo, but hides much of the
> >>>     semantic intent external to the language of representation.
> This
> >>>     inadequacy is likely due to the lack of formal logic
> familiarity,
> >>>     coupled with a paucity of tools/guides.
> >>>
> >>>     Proposed Solutions:
> >>>     1 - do nothing, hope the fractured nature will eventually meld
> >>>     into a reasonable whole
> >>>     2 - solicit government funding to address the collective action
> >>>     problem arising from the tragedy of anticommons and the free
> >>>
> >> rider
> >>
> >>>     problem.
> >>>     3 - several isolated approaches have popped up - WonderWeb (for
> >>>     OWL), Ontology Design Patterns (for OWL), CoLoRe (for Common
> >>>     Logic), plus some of the other approaches presented at the OOR
> >>>     talk on ontolog last week
> >>>     4 - combination of 2&3 (since the collective action problem is
> >>>     quite real)
> >>>
> >>>     Expanding on 4 - while each of these approaches provides a
> >>>
> >> partial
> >>
> >>>     solution, there is no overriding force / initiative unifying
> them
> >>>     (unless the ontolog effort culminates in a true crowd sourced
> >>>     fashion). Moreover, each is funded by lab budgets, and AFAIK,
> no
> >>>     one has $ for a dedicated caretaker for these efforts
> (webmasters
> >>>     / someone who will maintain the wiki / update fields etc.).
> This
> >>>     is grunt work that most will bristle at, yet it is fundamental
> to
> >>>     the success of each project.
> >>>
> >>>     Detraction for do nothing -- ontologies might go way of AI in
> the
> >>>     1980's. No certainty anything will come of it. Might fracture
> >>>
> >> into
> >>
> >>>     irreconcilable camps.
> >>>     Detraction for FO's - consensus is elusive -- that's fine, we
> >>>     don't need consensus! We're not trying to develop one size fits
> >>>     all. We're developing translation from "size 10 shoe" to "size
> 44
> >>>     shoe"... I can't stress this enough: No consensus is a red
> >>>
> >> herring
> >>
> >>>     at best, a straw man at worst!
> >>>
> >>>     In tandem, we need ontology design and semantic mapping tools
> to
> >>>     support the upcoming infrastructure.
> >>>
> >>>     Summary:
> >>>
> >>>     Do people agree that we have a collective action problem here?
> We
> >>>     have a cost to be burdened, with distributed benefits.
> >>>
> >> Traditional
> >>
> >>>     economic analysis would indicate this is often where government
> >>>     intervention is desired.
> >>>
> >>>     However, we also see a bottom-up / crowd sourcing approach,
> >>>     championed by ontolog, and seemingly gaining traction. However,
> I
> >>>     don't see why this would preclude the former, so long as a
> >>>     proposal is carefully delimited, and the moon is not
> promised :D.
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>     Cheers,
> >>>
> >>>     Ali
> >>>
> >>>     On Sat, Feb 21, 2009 at 12:23 AM, Ron Wheeler
> >>>     <rwheeler@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> >>>     <mailto:rwheeler@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>> wrote:
> >>>
> >>>         Conklin, Don wrote:
> >>>         > Pat,
> >>>         >
> >>>         > I'll start from the end of your last post. There is
> little
> >>>         point in repeatedly referring to lost productivity on a
> grand
> >>>         scale when there is no one concerned about it who has the
> >>>         resources to address it. The closest match would require a
> >>>         call to 202-456-1414, ask for Obama. Good luck with that.
> >>>         >
> >>>         > My experiences with DOD affirm your comment in that they
> >>>         want an order of magnitude advance from semantic
> technologies.
> >>>         But the hard truth is that the more tightly a domain is
> >>>         focused, the more a relational DB solution will equal, or
> >>>         better a semantic solution. At much less cost and
> difficulty.
> >>>         >
> >>>         > The DOD entities I've dealt with typically seek to
> >>>
> >> integrate
> >>
> >>>         some number of relational DB's, sometimes with unstructured
> >>>         data. But within a fairly tight domain (yes, there is a
> range
> >>>         to the domain focus).
> >>>         >
> >>>         > Interoperability, while given much lip service, lags the
> >>>         commercial world. The DOD XML Registry was going to be the
> >>>         solution...still waiting on that one. By the way, where is
> >>>
> >> the
> >>
> >>>         ontology repository and how capable is it?
> >>>         >
> >>>         > Fielding large scale, operational semantic systems is not
> >>>         yet feasible because the supporting infrastructure is not
> in
> >>>         place. For example, look in the Sunday paper job ads for
> >>>         oracle DB administrators. Then look for ontologist ads...
> >>>         >
> >>>         > Unfortunately, as it takes money to make money, success
> >>>         breeds success. Fielded semantic systems that work will
> >>>
> >> garner
> >>
> >>>         more funds for the application of those technologies.
> >>>         >
> >>>         > It would be great if the federal government CIO announced
> a
> >>>         major drive to develop and field semantic technologies. I'm
> >>>         not holding my breath and he is a lot more worried about
> the
> >>>         next windows virus that decimates federal PC's.
> >>>         >
> >>>         > It will take a near gorilla campaign of small successful
> >>>         semantic projects time to prove themselves while the
> >>>         supporting infrastructure matures.
> >>>         >
> >>>         > The same way that Apple makes sound loops available in
> >>>         garage bands for neophytes to compose into music may be a
> >>>         model for non-ontologists to grab pertinent ontologies to
> >>>         compose into domain ontologies. Then there will be a
> customer
> >>>         pull for the techologies often discussed here.
> >>>         >
> >>>         >
> >>>         That is what I hoped that the wiki would do but it seems
> that
> >>>         most of
> >>>         the vocal people here are more interested in angel
> >>>         choreography than
> >>>         actually advancing the use of ontology.
> >>>         Some lurkers are actually quietly going about making things
> >>>         happen or at
> >>>         least that is what I get from the occasional post.
> >>>
> >>>         This was a hellofa long email to type on a blackberry. Good
> >>>         thing my
> >>>         flight was delayed.
> >>>         > Don
> >>>         >
> >>>         >
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >> _________________________________________________________________
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