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Re: [ontolog-forum] Foundation Ontology Primitives

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Ali Hashemi <ali.hashemi+ontolog@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 4 Feb 2010 10:49:30 -0500
Message-id: <5ab1dc971002040749l159188cbxeb1fb8f17a8e4e60@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Hmm, the response switched threads :P. I will echo Matthew's comment that what you are proposing has shifted.

Similarly, I will echo an earlier sentiment that the most valuable component of this exercise is to generate mappings between existing Upper Ontologies. These mappings are currently sparse, and while there are some efforts, it would benefit tremendously from focused, concerted attention.

On Thu, Feb 4, 2010 at 1:20 AM, Patrick Cassidy <pat@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
In this response I will try to correct what are apparently more
misconceptions about what I have been saying relative to the Foundation
Ontology project.  I try to be as clear as possible, but in a short note
cannot explicitly provide details to avoid every possible misinterpretation.
I would suggest for the future, if anyone notices an assertion of mine that
seems to be patently false or absurd; (1) see if there is an alternative
interpretation that makes more sense; and (2) if that doesn't work, try
looking at the PowerPoint slides at :
Those slides might provide more detail on the point at issue.  If I still
seem to be in error, then please *do* point out what you think is the
problem - offline if you are not sure that your interpretation is the
correct one (so that misinterpretations and answers don't unnecessarily clog
up the list and take members time), or to the forum if you are quite certain
that the views I express must be quashed immediately before they infect
susceptible ontologists.


[AH] > I agree that if achieved an FO would have benefits. I've made a case
that it would be repeating a lot of work currently being done, and resources
would be more effectively directed at trying to making a better coherence
out of what exists instead of seeking consensus. See the difference?
> Let me put it another way.
> The steps in creating an FO consist roughly of the following (correct me
if i'm wrong):
1.      Identify candidate ontological primitives, identify candidate
logical primitives
2.      Figure out similarities and differences of candidates
3.      Develop mappings between candidates
4.      Reach consensus on what are the "-true-" // appropriate// useful
Steps 1-3 are in effect, figuring out the mappings between the current
existing Upper Ontologies (assuming they provide adequate cover). Step 4 is
where the FO differs. Making the case to do 1-3 is much easier, and less
risky as it provides immediate tangible benefits to the entire community.

[PC] The project shouldn't have to repeat any prior work - everything freely
useable and useful would be used.  I probably wouldn't describe the process
that way, but 1 to 3 (in one interpretation) would be part of the process.
However, (4) may suggest something I don't believe - that there is only one
true set of primitives.  There may well be several sets of primitives to
specify some model(s) that one feels is useful.  If they are all true
primitives, they should be logically consistent with each other, and could
**all** be included in the FO.  The main criterion is to include what the
users (participants in the project) feel are required, in order to do things
**they way they want to** and be sure that they can be translated into each
other's representations.  In the initial stage I imagine that the starting
set of primitives would have to be supplemented with newly identified ones,
but that the need for supplementation should decrease - hopefully to fewer
than one per year, at some point.  This is the experimental issue that I
think can only be resolved by trying such a project.  Because of networking
effects, I think that the larger community available to an FO that tried to
be as broadly usable as possible would have benefits substantially greater
than the benefits of several communities each with its own FO or interlingua

You've suggested a number of times that I've misinterpreted your intuition, yet as far as I can see, each time you write about the FO, it seems to change its flavour. I'll abstain from commenting further until the idea has solidified.

What I am very curious about however - I suggested a number of steps / benchmarks through which such an exercise might be conducted. You responded that it is only one interpretation. Might you put forth _your_ interpretation of how one might go about, step-by-step in formulating such an FO?  I think this would help clarify what you mean to communicate and minimize future misunderstandings.

  So, your expectation that there may be 5 or 6 "interlingua" ontologies
may prove correct, if there turn out to be yet more true logical
incompatibilities and a refusal by the custodians of the inconsistent
ontologies to make them consistent.  But (1) in any case I would expect only
one FO to ultimately dominate the usage after some experience with practical
applications is gained, just because of pressures for interoperability; (2)
we won't know if there are other logical incompatibilities, or if they can
be resolved by acceptable modifications to the incompatible ontologies
*unless* we specifically address that problem - which is too complicated to
do by volunteer work; it has to be funded.  and (3) **trying** to get a
single FO with as many users as possible is the only way to find out if it
will prove to be sociologically feasible.  Just assuming that it is
impossible and encouraging persistence of a half dozen upper ontologies
without some incentive to become logically compatible would guarantee that
the incompatibility would persist for longer than necessary.  This is so
even if, as I expect, a single FO ultimately becomes by far the dominant
interlingua for interoperability.  Not trying the FO tactic from the start
(which can be done *without* defunding other approaches) would just be
likely, IMHO, to prolong the agony and thereby add to the enormous ongoing
losses from lack of general semantic interoperability.

I will not comment on your FO. However, there seems to be a misunderstanding on what I've been positively suggesting.

Firstly, if the current 5-6 upper ontologies are interconnected with appropriate mappings, and new ontologies are extensions of any of those 5-6, then we have de facto interoperability. This is why I have been saying that steps 1-3 in "my interpretation" make the subsequent FO superfluous.

Secondly, I have not suggested it is impossible. I have suggested  it is unclear whether it is possible, and more importantly that even if it were, it would yield limited value, as all the work is in generating those mappings.

Thirdly, I have not suggested the project can be achieved via volunteer work. Steps 1-3 (in "my interpretation"), depending on the level of detail and implementation seem like a prime candidate for a Master of PhD thesis.

Lastly, logical compatibility does not guarantee interoperability. You simply need to know where there is agreement and difference, and if you want to communicate with a system in another paradigm / UO family, then you must make the appropriate allowances from your own perspective. Though perhaps this is a case of us using language slightly differently.


Patrick Cassidy
cell: 908-565-4053

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