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Re: [ontolog-forum] mKR programming language

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Ed Barkmeyer <edbark@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 17 Mar 2009 15:51:51 -0400
Message-id: <49BFFF57.5010006@xxxxxxxx>
Richard H. McCullough wrote:    (01)

> I am relying on the "linguistic communities wherein the semantic
> conventions of English have already been assimilated".    (02)

It seems apparent from this discussion that there is more than one such 
community, and that at least Richard and Chris belong to different ones.    (03)

And this matches our experience of distributed enterprises and 
relationships among business partners.  There are differences in the use 
of terms, and in particular, disagreements about the inclusion of 
specific individuals in certain categories.  There are also very 
identifiable differences in the assumptions about the implications of 
certain actions and categorizations.    (04)

In most cases of "unexpected" failures of software or persons to 
"interoperate", the problem is inevitably an important variance in 
understanding of some term or concept between the two communities.  And 
in my particular business, I have seen many examples of such failures.    (05)

> I have stated, on my web site, that the meaning of an mKR proposition
> is defined by the meaning of its English paraphrase.    (06)

With all the presumed connotations and intentional ambiguities thereto 
attached.    (07)

> I do not consider many pages of mathematical formulas to be an
> appropriate definition of meaning in mKR.    (08)

The function of knowledge models is to capture and communicate 
knowledge, between people, or between people and software tooling that 
will be used in making decisions.  What is an appropriate "definition of 
meaning" depends on what is necessary to convey the intended knowledge 
to the intended recipient to the intended/necessary degree of accuracy.    (09)

For conveying knowledge between people, natural language can be very 
effective, but question and answer is often necessary to clarify certain 
concepts well enough for the listener to act properly on the new 
knowledge.  With software, we don't get the chance to do the question 
and answer exercise; we just get the results of the misunderstandings.    (010)

I understand a "programming language" to be the directions to a software 
agent, and I can't imagine how a software agent will determine the 
meaning of the English paraphrase of a statement.  (Whereas I can easily 
understand that it would correctly comprehend many pages of mathematical 
formulae, as Mathematica and Protege and JESS do.)  But if I assume that 
the purpose is to communicate knowledge to human agents, then like 
Chris, I wonder how an mKR statement could in that case be more useful 
than its English paraphrase.    (011)

I suppose it would be fair to ask what has proved to be an appropriate 
successful application of mKR by anyone other than Richard.  Perhaps we 
have all simply failed to understand Richard's intent.  (I can be 
reasonably sure at this point, question and answer having been so 
effective in elucidating the knowledge that Richard wanted to impart, 
that whatever the purpose of mKR is, it is irrelevant to mine.)    (012)

-Ed    (013)

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    (014)

"The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST,
  and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."    (015)

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