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Re: [ontolog-forum] Foundation ontology, CYC, and Mapping

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Matthew West" <dr.matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 5 Feb 2010 19:59:24 -0000
Message-id: <4b6c789c.1c07d00a.3c1a.ffffd717@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Dear John    (01)

> MW> Well I have looked at this, and I don't know what the number
>  > is, but it is very large. Just in Shell I found that it was so
>  > unbelievable that I scaled the answer I got back by a factor
>  > of 10 before talking to anyone.
> I don't see any conflict between what Pat and Matthew have said.
> Pat H. was criticizing Pat C's claims that an FO, by itself, would
> magically provide very large savings in a very short time, and
> Matthew said that the approach he and his group had developed
> saved a great deal of money for Shell.    (02)

MW: I understood Pat to be suggesting that the number was not large at all.
> In the next response, Matthew supported Pat H's point:
> MW> As another example, about 5 years ago when I was still working
>  > for Shell I was charged with developing a conceptual data model
>  > for Shell's Downstream business (oil tanker to petrol pump). We
>  > started with ISO 15926 as a foundation ontology, and developed
>  > a 1700 entity type data model in 12 months with a team of ten
> people.
> That is the kind of work that brings results.  But note that Matthew's
> approach had almost no similarity to what Pat C has proposed.  He
> and his group developed an ISO 15926 over a period of years by an
> incremental approach of solving one specific problem at a time.    (03)

MW: That's not quite right. It was the same problem, integrating data from a
multitude (up to hundreds) of engineering systems to support major process
assets like offshore platforms throughout their life. What was incremental
was the reworking of the model using different foundations until we
discovered 4D through Chris Partridges kind offices. We then found we had
discovered something that met our needs (and I've been going on about it
ever since).    (04)

MW: What has been incremental has been the development of the Reference Data
Library - essentially the extension of the ontology by data using the ISO
15926 meta-model. This has been extended on a project by project basis. The
whole standard is intended to grow in this way, and reference data could be
added about almost anything, for example, David Leal wrote ISO 15926-3 that
covers geometry for engineering drawings including 3D models. It is of
course part of the design intent of ISO 15926 and its foundation that this
should be possible. I believe there are some 30,000 classes in the RDL now.    (05)

> For more about ISO 15926, see the Wikipedia article:
>     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_15926
> That article has some references, including a pointer to a critique
> by Barry Smith, who said "Conclusion: ISO 15926 Is Not An Ontology":
>     http://ontology.buffalo.edu/bfo/west.pdf    (06)

MW: Most of Barry's critique is in fact spurious or wrong. I wrote a
rebuttal of his critique, which is also available from Wikipedia:    (07)

> I don't want to get into the details of that debate, but I'd point out
> that ISO 15926 is probably much closer to an ontology than 90% of the
> things that are implemented in RDF or OWL.      (08)

MW: Data models have roughly the same expressive power as Description
Logics, without allowing instances in the ontology, so it is quite
reasonable to see data models as a type of ontology, as Leo Orbst allowed in
his analysis of different sorts of ontology. For data integration reasoning
is not the priority but a common set of concepts. However, ISO 15926 has
been translated into OWL, and I believe in this form it has been used to
analyse and improve the quality of data in the RDL.    (09)

> In any case, Matthew and
> his group at Shell have demonstrated that something along those lines
> can be very effective.      (010)

MW: Very kind of you to attribute ownership of this to me, but it was/is
really the work of an international consortium of some 50 companies at
different times in which I had a leading technical role. It is actually the
Norwegian Oil industry that has done the best job of exploiting what we did.    (011)

> But -- and this is a very big **BUT** --
> ISO 15926 and its applications were developed in an incremental
> approach for a company that had crucial problems to be solved,
> and the developers had to solve them under the constraints of
> budgets and deadlines.    (012)

MW: One of my personal rules is not to develop a standard without the
potential customer for the standard paying. Developing standards as a hobby
is a good way to get bad standards. Now if you want to call it research then
that is fine.    (013)

Regards    (014)

Matthew West                            
Information  Junction
Tel: +44 560 302 3685
Mobile: +44 750 3385279
http://www.matthew-west.org.uk/    (015)

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