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[ontolog-forum] Language vs Logic

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: David Eddy <deddy@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 11 Sep 2010 16:18:38 -0400
Message-id: <B194C18E-0121-4FD0-B50E-A3ABD4E89B1A@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Matthew -    (01)

On Sep 11, 2010, at 3:17 AM, Matthew West wrote:    (02)

>> This discussion has been most enlightening... I see language used in
>> totally chaotic ways with minimal logic & certainly NO universal  
>> logic.
> MW: Chaotic, yes, but logic is logic whether you use it or not.    (03)

I think I finally get that I'm at one end of the spectrum & logic is  
at the other.    (04)

What I thought I was looking for in these ontology discussions was  
the ability to determine which of 35+ potential meanings a cryptic  
"term" means within a piece of software or documentation.    (05)

When I'm reading an article in the NYTimes there is surrounding  
context in the article to help guess what an unfamiliar word means.   
When I'm read code, a model or technical documentation, there is  
typically NO additional context to help grok what some token actually  
means.  Assuming that I've seen a token before & therefore know what  
it means here is clearly one of the FIRST habits you unlearn when  
working in/around systems.    (06)

When I'm reading the NYTimes I have the benefit of knowing that if  
the article is written by Paul Krugman, that's one context & if by  
Eric Lichtblau an entirely different context.  This sort of context  
setting is typically NOT present in systems.    (07)

So what is the precise logic in ontologies actually useful for?    (08)

I picked up on the ontology wave at several Mitre meetings in the 2004 
+ period when increasing the interoperability of data between systems  
was getting a lot of attention.    (09)

To me this is "simply" a systems maintenance issue.  If you know what  
the system is doing & what data it manipulates, then it's (at least  
theoretically) easier to interoperate with other systems.    (010)

How do ontologies make this—VERY expensive—process easier?    (011)

I would further observe that software applications have largely  
evolved along a rather chaotic path, particularly when one looks at  
the language used inside the systems to label he data being used.  In  
a chaotic environment (e.g a collection of 100s/1000s of applications  
written & maintained over decades for constantly evolving business  
needs) how does applying organized logic (single term, single  
meaning) help with this situation?    (012)

I am saying that if I can easily know AMT means "amount" (which also  
carries situational specifics) in Context A & in Context B AMT means  
"Amtrak" that would be a HUGE leap forward.    (013)

>> Most "documents" are stuff written to be read by other humans...
>> often corrected by highly skilled humans called editors to make
>> better sense.
>> I know this is crazy, but I consider software-Algol, Jovial, COBOL,
>> Fortran, Java, Objective-C, C, C++, PHP, etc-programs/scripts/code to
>> be documents.
> MW: Perfectly reasonable.    (014)

Perfectly reasonable what?    (015)

Software is NOT a document?  Or software IS a document?    (016)

I argue that software IS a document.  And I know I'm in a minority.    (017)

Document management professionals almost universally wrinkle their  
brows when I attempt to argue that software is a document.    (018)

David Eddy
deddy@xxxxxxxxxxxxx    (019)

781-455-0949    (020)

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