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Re: [ontolog-forum] International Alliance for Interoperability

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 13 Mar 2009 14:39:15 -0400
Message-id: <49BAA853.4070808@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Paola, Deborah, and Toby,    (01)

PDM> how do you think these two levels of terminology should relate
 > to each other?    (02)

The very small number of relations and axioms of the terminology
should be a subset of the larger number used for the each of the
detailed ontologies.    (03)

PD> is there overlap?    (04)

Yes.  The detailed ontologies might be inconsistent with one another.
The small number of relations and axioms in the gross-level terminology
should contain only the common consistent core.    (05)

PDM> would would some of the relationships in the low level
 > specification also be present in the higher spec, or do you
 > envisage a crisper distinction    (06)

The terms 'gross level' and 'detailed level' should not be confused
wit low-level vs high-level.  For example, the word 'door' is not
likely to represent a concept in an upper-level ontology.  But
it is such a common word that it's likely to occur in any large
terminology.  The relations and axioms used for a gross-level
description of a door should be consistent with all the detailed
ontologies of the building industry.    (07)

DM> The International Alliance for Interoperability has changed
 > its name to building SMART international...    (08)

I noticed that in my Googling.  But I used the old name because
the word 'interoperability' has been kicked around a lot on this
forum.  I wanted to emphasize how the word is used by people who
are actually building interoperable systems.    (09)

DM> Today, even though the files are huge and hard to push around
 > or share real time, most building models are "at the gross
 > level, there is very little difference between an ontology and
 > a terminology". Nevertheless, accurate models at this level can
 > be useful to public services such as fire departments to exchange
 > basic information about building configurations and types because
 > simple accuracy is all that is needed.    (010)

I agree.  The terminology should be accurate enough for the
building contractor to tell the fire department how to enter
and escape from a burning building.  The precise details about
door sizes and screw threads are not needed for such messages.    (011)

TC> The IFC's themselves are large pile of incompatible semantics /
 > domains functions with defined interfaces (IDM) between adjacent
 > ones. Structural concrete has little to say to steel framing to
 > energy code compliance....
 > BuildingServicePerformance is striving to create a language about
 > what service, not physical attributes, are provided by buildings
 > that could be combined with performance metrics (energy) to define
 > real effective operations. That bridging effort is not here yet...
 > Smart grids speak today almost always from the perspective of
 > the Utility, and  not from that of the customer.
 > Plenty of Semantics. Plenty of Ontologies. Not much mutual
 > understanding yet.    (012)

Those are good examples from real world applications, and
they have serious implications for anyone working on proposed
ontologies.    (013)

Before we worry about interoperability between the *computers*
used by the building managers and the fire department, we have
to coordinate the terminology used by *people* who actually
work with and live in those buildings.    (014)

I don't want to dismiss debates about theoretical issues, but
absolute precision in an ontology is useless if it creates
more confusion than enlightenment for the people who do the
work and live with the results.    (015)

Bottom line:  Any precise, formal, detailed ontology should
be compatible with the terminology that people actually know,
understand, and use.    (016)

John Sowa    (017)

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