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Re: [ontolog-forum] Guo's word senses and Foundational Ontologies

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 02 Jun 2009 02:39:05 -0400
Message-id: <4A24C909.6030001@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Dear Matthew,    (01)

I make many different points in response to different notes.
When I say that spending $30 million on an ill defined project
would be a waste, that doesn't mean that I wouldn't endorse
more reasonable sums on better defined projects.    (02)

 > I'm pleased to see we seem to be converging.    (03)

Yes, I think that we are quite close.    (04)

JFS>> It's not easy to discover a good upper ontology and to
 >> integrate it with a large number of special domain ontologies.    (05)

MW> I disagree...    (06)

Actually, I don't think we disagree, since I agree with the
points you made following those three dots.  If we sat down
and itemized the requirements, I think we would agree.    (07)

JFS>> Even with a large ontology, it's not easy to develop a
 >> methodology for using it effectively.    (08)

MW> That depends on what you a trying to do with it. The only
 > killer app I know of is systems integration...    (09)

I was thinking about Cyc and EDR, which had large ontologies
and couldn't recover their research expenses.  I agree that
systems integration is a useful application (and I cited
OntologyWorks as a company that is doing well by using
specialized domain ontologies for systems integration).    (010)

MW> I don't think this is a matter of research. It is one of
 > finding the business case and getting on with it.    (011)

I agree. Following are several different kinds of applications
that we implemented with VivoMind technology:    (012)

    http://www.jfsowa.com/talks/pursue.pdf    (013)

These are applications for which people are willing to pay
money for, but nowhere near the sums that Pat C requested.
We are supporting our research from our applications.    (014)

JFS>> But again, discovering the commonalities implicit in many
 >> smaller ontologies is a research project.    (015)

MW> No it isn't.  It is part of the integration project that needs
 > the result.    (016)

I think we are quibbling over the distinction between research
and development.  Each application we implement requires attention
to the specific details of that project, but it also enables us
to extend our tools, methodologies, and theories so that we can
do better on the next project(s).    (017)

MW> I agree. I am a strong supporter of your lattice of theories ideas.    (018)

Thanks.  The lattice provides a framework that can support many
different approaches:  top down, bottom up, and middle out --
simultaneously.    (019)

MW> Good. So we do need upper ontologies then, even as part of
 > domain ontologies.    (020)

I would reword that statement.  Instead of "need", I would say
"can use".  We can build a domain ontology even without a fully
developed upper level.  But the more ontologies you add to the
hierarchy, the easier it becomes to mix and match modules to
create new ontologies.    (021)

JFS>> I believe that the upper levels should be *discovered*
 >> through analysis, not by any a priori imposition of somebody's
 >> pet theory.    (022)

MW> Here we disagree...    (023)

I don't believe we do.  I certainly agree with the following point:    (024)

MW> They are models we impose on the world, and it is necessary
 > both to recognise that is what we do (because we might be wrong)
 > and not shrink from (because it is necessary).    (025)

What I am objecting to are people who are trying to impose their
ideas on *me*.   I would certainly let anyone choose what models
they want to impose on their part of the world for their purpose.
But I don't want them to dictate to me what models I am allowed
to impose on my part of the world for my purposes.    (026)

MW> I agree that, at this stage at least, one should not be trying
 > to pick winners.    (027)

Yes.  That is what I was trying to say.    (028)

MW> Sometimes you  need to create a standard so that there can be
 > products based on it, and without a standard there are no products
 > (e.g. CD players).    (029)

Yes.  I also agree with that.  But you don't want to prohibit people
from developing new standards for DVDs that will replace CDs or
for denser new kinds of storage that will replace DVDs, etc.    (030)

John    (031)

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