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

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "doug foxvog" <doug@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 2010 02:33:23 -0000 (GMT)
Message-id: <4339.>
> Dear Matthew, Doug, and Pat C,    (01)

> Before getting to the details of your notes, I'd like to clarify the
> term FO, which Pat introduced for a Foundation Ontology.  I have no
> objection to using the term FO, but I would apply it to the totality
> of the theories (or microtheories) in an OOR.    (02)

With all the acronyms floating around, it would be nice to define this
one at this point in the thread.    (03)

> The Cyc example of an
> upper ontology with many specialized microtheories would be an example.    (04)

> However, I would broaden the idea to support multiple theories at the
> upper levels, which might be incompatible.  For example, Matthew,
> Chris P, and Pat H have strongly supported a 4D ontology for the upper
> levels, but many other people prefer to use a 3D upper level.  For
> many of the lower level microtheories, the differences between a 3D
> vs 4D foundation are irrelevant.    (05)

I agree here.  This choice is orthogonal to most of what would be asserted
at lower levels.  A context used for reasoning about instances could pick
one of these upper level theories and compatible more specific theories
as well as orthogonal theories for reasoning.  For use in mapping among
different ontologies, fixing on t 3D or 4D theory would not be necessary.    (06)

> Pat C wants to use primitives based on Longman's dictionaries, but
> I objected that those terms are too vague, and an enormous amount
> of work would be needed to make them precise.  Therefore, I propose
> the following approach:    (07)

>   1. OpenCyc is freely available as open source, but Pat objected
>      that it has very few axioms.  However, Longman's terms have zero
>      axioms, and they have never been tested for their usefulness in
>      any ontology, certainly not in anything as large as Cyc.    (08)

>   2. Therefore, I recommend that we adopt the OpenCyc terms together
>      with the axioms available in OpenCyc as a "starter set" for
>      developing the Foundation Ontology.    (09)

We could certainly talk to Cycorp to requst that they release axioms
from Research Cyc into the public domain for use in an FO.  As they wish to
promulgate Cyc, they might be willing to release a significant subset
of generic rules that they have in non-project specific michrotheories.    (010)

These axioms could be vetted before inclusion in the FO.  One problem that
Cyc has is that numerous rules have not been asserted at low enough levels
-- or have migrated to microtheories that are too high after they were
inserted.    (011)

Many standard rule patterns were discovered in Cyc.  These were converted
to "rule macro predicates" and thousands of rules were asserted uin this
fashion. The Cyc inference engine has special modules for reasoning with
them.    Such rules are easy to vet for someone familiar with the rule
macro predicates.    (012)

I agree with the rest of Jon's points below.    (013)

-- doug foxvog    (014)

>   3. But we would also welcome and encourage anybody with different
>      preferences to contribute more terms and theories to the FO.    (015)

>   4. When convenient, those new theories should adopt the same
>      spelling as the terms already in the starter set, but any
>      new terms (taken from Longman's or any other source anyone
>      might prefer) could also be used in those additional theories.    (016)

>   5. The complete hierarchy of theories for the FO would be
>      organized along the lines we've been discussing in these notes.    (017)

>   6. Pat's goal of finding a much smaller set of defining terms
>      (called primitives) could be done in parallel with the
>      development of the FO instead of delaying its development.    (018)

>   7. If and when a good set of primitives has been found useful,
>      a methodology based on them could be promoted for simplifying
>      further ontology development.  However, older theories that
>      use the older terms would remain available as long as anyone
>      needs them.    (019)

> I'm suggesting this as a compromise that would begin with a large
> tested set of terms already organized in a generalization/
> specialization hierarchy.  It would also accommodate new terms
> that could be added as needed from any source.  But if anyone
> wants to do any immediate implementation today, the OpenCyc
> terms can be used.  Any work done with them would be guaranteed
> to be supported by the full FO.    (020)

I fully support this proposal.  I would be willing to work on it if
funding could be arranged.    (021)

> MW> I think [the FO] is more than just a vocabulary, but I agree
>  > that great care would need to be taken not to introduce into what
>  > I am calling abstract theories axioms that did not contradict say
>  > the 3D and 4D axioms that would be introduced when they were
>  > combined with those theories.    (022)

> I agree.  In fact, one advantage of OpenCyc is that it doesn't have
> all the axioms (AKA old baggage) of full Cyc.  That implies that it
> is more general than Cyc and less likely to have unpleasant
> "surprises" (AKA inconsistencies).    (023)

> MW> However, having such [abstract theories] would greatly simplify
>  > mapping between say 3D and 4D ontologies. These would I think need
>  > to be carefully designed rather than just picking something up,
>  > since it is casually almost certainly made some upper ontology
>  > assumptions.    (024)

> I agree.  Many, if not most of those theories could be based on
> terms that are already in OpenCyc.  In fact, if you just adopt
> the terms by themselves without any axioms, there is no possibility
> of an inconsistency.  Then any axiom that is added could be tested
> for consistency with both the 3D and the 4D ontologies (along the
> lines that I suggested in my previous note).
> DF> An ontology with a single theory would complicate the idea of
>  > a foundational ontology as an interlingua to which all external
>  > ontologies can be mapped.
> Yes.  That is why I would prefer to use the name Foundation Ontology
> for the full hierarchy of all the theories in the OOR.
> DF> Competing external theories could be incorporated by defining new
>  > concepts/relations for the relata of the competing theories (which
>  > map directly to the terms of the source ontology) and then adding
>  > rules relating them with the ostensible "sameAs" terms already in
>  > the foundational ontology.
> PC> Yes, but I would express the process as "logically specifying
>  > the terms of each extension ontology using only the terms in the
>  > FO" rather than "map directly" since that suggests that the
>  > entities in the extension ontology are already on the FO, which
>  > in general they will not be.
> I would expect the FO to be completely open-ended so that the
> number of useful terms would increase indefinitely.  There could
> also be a small subset of recommended defining terms.  (I wouldn't
> even object to calling them "primitives".)
> But we do have to recognize that many "primitives" may be very
> underspecified.  For example, the term PointInTime should be neutral
> with respect to a 3D or 4D ontology. For lower-level microtheories,
> you might have a general theory called Hiking, which would use
> PointInTime without any dependencies on 4D or 3D.  But if there are
> dependencies, one could have common specializations of Hiking with
> either of the two upper-level theories to generate the subtheories
> Hiking4D and Hiking3D.
> JFS> But if you think of [the FO] as a collection of theories organized
>  >> in a hierarchy, no single theory ever changes.  Instead, each
>  >> innovation adds another theory to the hierarchy, which may be a
>  >> generalization, a specialization, a sibling, or a cousin of some
>  >> other theory.  You  can also compare and combine theories.
> DF> Agreed.  This is part of the reasoning behind Cyc method of
>  > "microtheories" or contexts....
> PC> And that would be true for the FO and its extensions also. But there
>  > is an additional aspect to the FO as I have proposed it.  The CYC
>  > BaseKB is part of every other more specialized microtheory, but it
>  > was not designed as, nor used as, an inventory of basic elements that
>  > is sufficient to specify (as combinations) the intended meanings of
>  > the symbols that are in all of the other linked microtheories.  CYC
>  > didn't try that tactic, which could have been very informative.  But
>  > a proper test would in any case require that a good number of separate
>  > groups with different applications and viewpoints try to use the same
>  > FO to describe their different domain ontologies.
> This comment mixes two different goals:
>   1. A large useful ontology that people can begin using ASAP.
>   2. A project to determine whether a small subset of terms (called
>      primitives) is sufficient to define everything else and would
>      thereby promote interoperability.
> Different people may have different priorities.  My personal preference
> is to emphasize #1.  I have no objection to anyone who prefers #2, but
> I would not want to tell people who have a day job that they have to
> wait until #2 is finished.  My recommendation is to start with #1 and
> let anyone who wants #2 to *extract* some subset from #1 in order to
> test that hypothesis.  If that hypothesis seems to be justified, then
> the results could be developed into a methodology for using, adapting,
> and streamlining the much larger resources of #1.
> But I would never suggest that people who need an ontology today should
> wait until project #2 is completed.  The above proposal lets people
> start new projects using OpenCyc and rest assured that the FO would
> continue to support them in the future.
> JFS> You can think of context as some additional statements S that are
>  >> added to a theory T to specialize it for some particular application.
> DF> If the context referred to is what Cyc calls a DataMicrotheory,
>  > then the statements added are qualitatively different from those
>  > in the basic theory.
>  >
>  > A context might close T's open world assumption, such that T2 has
>  > a closed world assumption.  T and T2, in such a case, would be
>  > different types of theory.
> That's a good point.  It illustrates an important advantage of
> starting with OpenCyc (or some subset of it).  We can take advantage
> of the 26 years of experience in developing Cyc.  We don't have to
> adopt every one of their decisions, but when we diverge, we should
> have a good reason for doing so.
> DF> An FO would need to have a reasonably restrictive generalization
>  > of classes included in any microtheory that is to be mapped to it.
>  > Defining "reasonably restrictive" could be hard, but it seems to me
>  > that SUMO (with extensions) and Cyc both would currently meet this
>  > requirement.  Including concepts from UMLS and GoodRelations would
>  > lower the rough lower edge of the directed acyclic graph of classes
>  > in several key areas.
> I'm all in favor of building on good work that has been done in other
> systems.  We should make sure that the licensing terms are compatible
> and get explicit permission to use whatever is incorporated in the FO.
> DF> One question is on what basis should individuals should be included
>  > in an FO.  Certainly units of measure should be.  Currencies &
>  > countries surely.  Cities and every instance in the GeoNames base?
>  > How should the selection of people to add be made?  Organizations?
>  > Conceptual works (books, movies, songs, albums, paintings,
>  > constitutions, poems, ...)?  Sports and games? Events (disasters,
>  > wars, elections, mergers, ...)?  Etc.
> Those are excellent questions.  I would prefer to err on the side of
> being more inclusive.  My suggestion would be to keep the axioms
> relatively free of individual names, but to have an associated
> database that would store as much as anyone might find useful.
> However, there will undoubtedly be many very useful specialized
> theories, such as US IRS Tax Code for 2010.  The most qualified
> people to develop such a theory would be the IRS.  But the FO
> could maintain pointers to such theories stored and maintained
> in compatible formats by other organizations.
> DF> The breadth of coverage of the proposed FO needs to clarified.
>  > Is it to be an ever-expanding set of all terms defined in any
>  > ontology?   Should it include all individuals ever defined on
>  > the Semantic Web?
> Those are important policy decisions.  Since the SW is expanding
> very rapidly, we can't hope to incorporate it into the FO.  But we
> must have interfaces to it that would allow any application to
> access it as needed.  In fact, if we do a good job on the FO,
> the SemWebbers might take notice and adapt their technology to
> facilitate sharing in both directions.
> DF> Or could there be a basic, relatively fixed, FO to which an
>  > expanding number of contextually restricted, but still centralized,
>  > ontologies are related?  I could see such for brand-name products,
>  > GeoNames, UMLS, IMDB, GeneBase, etc.
> PC> The FO itself should try to include all primitives that are used
>  > by more than a small set of specific domain ontologies, and only
>  > those non-primitive elements that are needed for ease of use and are
>  > non-controversial.  Primitives required by domain ontologies should
>  > also be maintained, but as part of a domain extension.
> The goal of getting a useful FO ASAP implies that we should start
> with a much larger set of terms than Pat has in mind.  But that may
> be an advantage.  The goal of extracting a smaller number of defining
> terms can be guided by usage patterns.  Those terms that are most
> widely used would be prime candidates.  The other terms could be
> redefined in terms of them.
> I would expect an FO committee to be similar (in some ways) to the
> W3C.  It would define formats, guidelines, policies, etc., and
> encourage other groups to adopt them and make their work compatible.
> John
>    (025)

doug foxvog    doug@xxxxxxxxxx   http://ProgressiveAustin.org    (026)

"I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great
initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours."
    - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
=============================================================    (027)

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