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[ontolog-forum] Semantic Systems

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 26 Jun 2009 13:18:12 -0400
Message-id: <4A4502D4.9070702@xxxxxxxxxxx>
The subject line of this note is a proposed name for a merger of
the current Semantic Web with *all* semantic technologies used for
any kind of software development.  That includes the Sem Web *and*
semantic approaches to any kind of software and systems development.    (01)

The following two notes outline the approach.  The first is a reply
to Pat Hayes, and the second is an earlier reply to Danny Ayers.    (02)

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: Putting Government Data online
Date: Fri, 26 Jun 2009 13:03:09 -0400
From: John F. Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>    (03)

Pat,    (04)

I want to emphasize that my proposal is *upward compatible* with the
methodologies and practices developed by the Semantic Web community.    (05)

PH> John and Danny, you are both right  :-)  John is right that
> the SWeb should be based on FOL, and Danny is right that names,
> and the processes of designing, agreeing on, and using names
> are critically important (and traditional logic hasn't paid
> any attention to this stuff.)    (06)

There is not a single methodology, practice, or technique that
anyone uses today that they can't continue to use with my proposal.    (07)

The only thing that I suggest that people *stop* doing is turning
human eyeballs on the raw notations for RDF and OWL.  All the
current tools are being designed to make those notations as
invisible as possible to humans.    (08)

I am just proposing the next obvious step:  make the XML-based
notations for RDF and OWL *optional* for document exchange as
well:    (09)

  1. The recommended exchange form for RDF will become JSON.
     Any JSON documents that are limited to triples can use
     the old XML-based RDF form, but they can also use the
     more compact and more general full JSON.    (010)

  2. Development tools such as Protege can generate *either*
     the current XML-based notation for OWL or they can
     generate a new notation for OWL based on Common Logic.    (011)

  3. Programs that use XSLT to manipulate RDF and OWL will have
     to use the old XML-based notations.  But newer programs
     can take advantage of more powerful methodologies.    (012)

Among the newer, more powerful methodologies are -- surprise! --
*all* the old methodologies for software development such as UML.    (013)

The goal of my proposal is nothing less than a total *integration*
of the Semantic Web methodologies with the methodologies that have
been used in the traditional software development community.    (014)

That integration will also support an open-ended flowering of
new logic-based methodologies in which the boundaries between
relational DBs, object-oriented DBs, and web-based documents
vanish and become *irrelevant* for everything except the lowest
level of tweaks and optimizations that are performed by automated
or at least semi-automated means.    (015)

PH> Take a look at the last slide of http://is.gd/1ehQK    (016)

I recommend that slide and the full talk by Pat.    (017)

I strongly endorse a logic-based vision in which the Semantic Web,
the Semantic DBs, the Knowledge Bases, and the rule-based systems
merge in a seamless *Semantic System* in which the boundaries and
distinguishing labels vanish.    (018)

John    (019)

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: Putting Government Data online
Date: Fri, 26 Jun 2009 06:16:57 -0400
From: John F. Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: Danny Ayers <danny.ayers@xxxxxxxxx>    (020)

Danny,    (021)

I never raised any objections to URIs.  In fact, the ISO standard
for Common Logic supports them as names.    (022)

DA> ... for FOL this may be trivial, but in the context of the Web
 > it's hugely powerful, the possibility of using a simple protocol
 > to retrieve more information about the topic at hand.    (023)

I am always in favor of supporting simple but powerful things.
What I am against is making simple things difficult.    (024)

My recommendation for the next version of the Semantic Web
is very simple:    (025)

  1. Keep the URIs.    (026)

  2. Replace RDF with JSON (which is as readable as any of
     the recommended syntaxes for triples, but it also supports
     n-tuples).  (And JSON, by the way, is the notation that
     Google uses instead of RDF.)    (027)

  3. Replace OWL with a DL that has equivalent logical power,
     but a much cleaner syntax and the ability to use JSON.    (028)

  4. Adopt ISO 24707 for Common Logic as the semantic foundation
     for multiple dialects.  For example, a Horn-clause subset
     or a DL subset would be two different subsets of full CL.    (029)

  5. Use a tag such as <script> ... </script> for embedding such
     notations in a web page.  (But Common Logic also supports
     an XML-ified dialect called XCL, which is more compact than
     RDF for triples -- and it also supports full Common Logic.)    (030)

I realize that some people claim that triple stores are useful,
but there are far more efficient internal representations that
give the programmer (or the logician) a view as either tables
or as graphs.    (031)

For just one example, see the following paper:    (032)

The GMAP: a versatile tool for physical data independence    (033)

Tsatalos, the first author, did the work for his PhD dissertation,
in which he demonstrated that Gmaps (Generalized Combinatorial Maps)
provide a physical representation that is more efficient for SQL than
conventional tables and more efficient for object-oriented access
than conventional graphs.  He was hired by IBM Research, but as might
be expected, he was not able to budge the DB2 behemoth.  So he left
IBM to start his own company.    (034)

For our company, VivoMind Intelligence, we use Gmaps to represent
graphs, and they support very efficient operations with very compact
code.  Gmaps are also widely used in architectural systems to represent
huge graphs with billions of nodes.  They enable graphs that represent
a building or a complex of buildings to be mapped to any perspective
for virtual reality -- and the mappings are extremely fast, even on
huge graphs.  They can run circles around anything that could be done
with SPARQL.  And as Tsatalos showed, they can support SQL-like
queries against arbitrarily large graphs.    (035)

That is just one example of Knuth's dictum:  "Premature optimization
is the root of all evil."  The choice of triples to support the
implementation of triple stores was a premature optimization by
people who did not understand the state of the art for processing
graphs.    (036)

John    (037)

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