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Re: [ontolog-forum] Foundation Ontology Primitives

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: David Eddy <deddy@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 5 Feb 2010 15:02:26 -0500
Message-id: <65437454-D2C5-42F3-BBB7-E5FEC5B70BD9@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Pat H -    (01)

On Feb 5, 2010, at 12:52 AM, Pat Hayes wrote:    (02)

> [PH] People seem to simply take
> it as obvious that ontologies create interoperability, but they do
> not. At the very least, interoperability requires code to be written.
> Code, unlike ontologies, actually does something. Where exactly does
> the ontology become involved? Can you sketch a scenario?    (03)

Oh, goodie!  Something "concrete," code.    (04)

I'm working the interoperability issue from bottom to top.    (05)

Ontology (top)
Naming standards (bottom)    (06)

I've directly experienced the value that "good names" brings to a  
software project.  To be able to look at the name of a software  
artifact (data element name, subroutine name, etc.) & reliably know  
that the name says what the thingy is/does, is phenomenal leverage.   
Example: if you look at code & see two dates are being added  
together, you instantly know that's a defective line of code.    (07)

In the physical world the analogy would be when you're in the grocery  
store, at the cooler doors & reach in for a jug that's labeled MILK.   
What you're going to get is MILK, not orange juice or motor oil.    (08)

In computer systems there is no such tight, consistent congruence.   
What it's labeled is a crap shoot.  What's "inside" is also a crap  
shoot.  This obviously hits to the heart of the interoperability  
challenge since the more systems you have in the soup, the more  
screwy, hard to grok names and out-of-context data you're going to  
have to deal with.    (09)

Googling "naming conventions" produces 1,300,000 hits.  "Naming  
standards" gives a mere 69,000.    (010)

To the best of my knowledge there is no mechanism that automates the  
enforcement of naming conventions/standards.  Conventions are those  
"thou shalt" 3-ring binders of procedures that everyone ignores.    (011)

While the compiler in software will REQUIRE you spell a small  
collection of commands (verbs?) correctly, there is no such mechanism  
to FORCE people (not just programmers, but that would be a great  
place to start) to either use words (the "nouns") consistently or  
correctly (within the chosen context).    (012)

Sooooo... we're 50+ years into messing with software... and no  
automated mechanism or process exists to encourage/cajole/force the  
schleps at the bottom of the pyramid to use the "right" language.  I  
seriously doubt if such clarity will be enforced from on-high.    (013)

David Eddy
deddy@xxxxxxxxxxxxx    (014)

781-455-0949    (015)

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