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

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Matthew West <dr.matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 2 Jun 2009 10:12:06 +0100
Message-id: <4a24eceb.095c5e0a.27a9.1b39@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Dear Pat,    (01)

> I agree with Matthew's points below.  Two additional pints, however:
> (1) you don't *need* an FO to build a domain ontology, but if the
> domain
> ontology is at all complicated an FO can help.      (02)

[MW] Yes. Having an upper ontology can significantly reduce the cost of
developing domain ontologies because it reduces the number of mistakes you
make. One of the things I often say about data modelling is that it isn't a
matter of how much a data model costs to develop, but how many times you
have to redevelop  it before you get it right (enough).    (03)

I was presenting the work we had done in Shell on a conceptual data
model/ontology of Shell's Downstream (oil tanker to petrol pump) business at
DAMA, and having described what we had done and shown some examples, asked
if anyone would care to estimate how much it would cost them to do something
similar. One of BP's senior data modellers was there and was decent enough
to give a figure,  $5m. I was able to say that the actual figure was around
$1m. The difference I attribute to having used ISO 15926 as a foundation,
and the analysis techniques one can bring to bear with a 4D approach. A good
saving in anyone's money.    (04)

> You do need an FO If
> multiple independently developed domain ontologies want to share data
> and
> interoperate automatically.    (05)

[MW] Well, you can do it with point-to-point interfaces, but if you want
additional applications that use data from several of the systems to do
something else, e.g. KPIs for monitoring business performance, then you have
to have a shared ontology for that.    (06)

> (2) with a comprehensive foundation ontology, I think it will be
> necessary
> to have a utility that will allow one to select out only those parts
> that
> are needed for a domain application, so as to minimize the complexity
> of the
> logical computations.  Any part of a logically consistent FO will be
> consistent with the remainder.    (07)

[MW] Yes, but I repeat what I said to John. Those things that are truly
foundational are unavoidable in practically any domain, and are in any case
quite small. I rather think the mileage is in filtering out domains and
parts of domains that are not of interest to the problem at hand. But maybe
we have slightly different ideas of what an upper ontology/ foundation
ontology is.    (08)

Regards    (09)

Matthew West                            
Information  Junction
Tel: +44 560 302 3685
Mobile: +44 750 3385279
http://www.matthew-west.org.uk/    (010)

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