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Re: [ontolog-forum] Lightweight, Middleweight, and Heavyweight Semantics

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: Jon Awbrey <jawbrey@xxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 06 Aug 2010 10:10:06 -0400
Message-id: <4C5C17BE.90408@xxxxxxx>
John & All,    (01)

There are grades of gravitas in semantics for sure,
but more important are the fundamental differences
in the frameworks that embed the relationships of
objects, signs, and the process of interpretation.    (02)

I read somewhere that you have finally converted Pat
to Peircean ways of thinking, so I thought perhaps the
New Millennium had truly arrived, and only decade late!    (03)

Jon ;)    (04)

John F. Sowa wrote:
> After the SemTech conference and some further discussions on related
> topics, I realized that many of the debates about the kinds of logics
> and ontologies could be clarified with some useful distinctions.
> Different kinds of applications require different levels of detail
> and precision in the definitions and different levels of expressive
> power in the logic.
> To make the distinctions memorable, good labels are necessary.
> I suggest the following four levels of semantics:
>   0. Zero semantics:  Data with no explicit semantics of any kind.
>   1. Lightweight semantics:  Some semantic tagging with terminologies
>      or folksonomies, loose hierarchies such as WordNet, but no formal
>      definitions, logic, or reasoning methods.
>   2. Middleweight semantics:  Some formal notations, but only a modest
>      amount of logic and reasoning.
>   3. Heavyweight semantics:  Detailed ontologies represented in a
>      rich version of logic with extensive reasoning.
> There are gradations of levels from Comma Separated Values to Cyc,
> The Linked Data applications are at levels 0 and 1.  They usually
> depend on traditional terminologies and folksonomies that have
> no formal definitions.
> Most Semantic Web applications are at levels 1 and 2.  RDFS and
> RDFa use tags that don't have detailed definitions.  Light use
> of OWL supports middleweight semantics, but extensive use of
> all the OWL features begins to cross the boundary between
> middleweight and heavyweight semantics.
> Software specifications typically use informal, lightweight
> semantics in requirements documents.  The UML diagrams for type
> hierarchies and Entity-Relationship diagrams support lightweight
> semantics.  More detailed diagrams support middleweight semantics.
> But a precise specification of any computer program and the data
> it processes requires heavyweight semantics.  Most specifications
> aren't that precise, but such precision is necessary if two or more
> independently developed programs are intended to be compatible
> (for example, two compilers for the same programming language).
> Many systems require a mixture of levels.  For example, the data
> shared by multiple applications may be tagged by semantic markers
> at level 1, but the internals of the applications would require
> heavyweight semantics to specify the details of the computation.
> As another example, Cyc has been used for medical informatics.
> The source data may include a mixture of levels 0, 1, and 2,
> but the full Cyc system uses heavyweight semantics to analyze,
> relate, and interpret the data.
> Many of the debates we've had in this forum result from
> different people focusing on different kinds of applications
> that use different levels of semantics.  The issues would be
> easier to resolve if we keep track of the different levels.
> John Sowa
>     (05)

--     (06)

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