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Re: [ontolog-forum] OntoNotes and the Omega ontology

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: David Eddy <deddy@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 25 Sep 2010 16:29:50 -0400
Message-id: <482B6701-509C-460D-A636-49DA43020E13@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
John -    (01)

On Sep 25, 2010, at 2:22 PM, John F. Sowa wrote:    (02)

> For a particular application, 500 words might be sufficient.  But the
> vocabulary of our natural languages must support all the applications
> that anybody has ever implemented or even imagined.
> Just the vocabulary of organic chemistry requires millions of words
> for all the known molecules.  But I'll admit that the chemists have
> algorithms for defining new words from a much smaller number of
> primitives.    (03)

As always I'm coming at this from the opposite end of the spectrum.    (04)

It is my thesis that the concepts needed for an organization to  
function is in the 1500 to 6000 range.  Concepts unfortunately will  
have MANY names, acronyms, abbreviations, etc. The 1500 is from a  
smallish logistics company (with an implemented Zachman BSP, I might  
add) where the "glossary" function in the central, mainframe data  
dictionary contains approx. 1500+ terms.  This term/concept list is  
not frozen for all time... terms fall out of use, new ones come  
along.  But the point of this controlled technical glossary is that  
analysts/programmers do not just make up new terms/abbreviations on a  
whim... which is what happens in most shops.    (05)

The 6,000 is allegedly the Pentagon.    (06)

I have no knowledge or experience with organic chemistry so I'll have  
to revert to business applications language... I assume not as  
complex as organic chemistry.    (07)

But then again, chemistry seems to survive pretty well with 118 basic  
building blocks ("primitives"?) in the periodic table.  Somehow from  
those 118 core "concepts" language explodes to millions of terms.    (08)

Most organizations focus on a relatively narrow niche of "reality"...  
HP & IBM do hardware, software & consulting... but stocks & bonds are  
not a core part of their business.  Fidelity Investments does stocks  
& bonds but not hardware & software.    (09)

> Furthermore, I don't believe that there is any "unnatural language"
> that humans are capable of learning and using effectively.    (010)

Agreed... but we're on a track where we continually jump from project  
to project.  The days of a dedicated individual staying with a system  
for decades are ancient history.    (011)

By "unnatural language" I mean thingys with labels like M0101, M0102,  
etc.  May make sense to you, since you've been working this system  
for 5 years, but I'm a newbie... and since you're the SME I don't  
have access to you.  Even if I did have access to you, I wouldn't  
know how to form a good question.    (012)

When the new analyst/programmer opens up the code, how will they KNOW  
what MSTR-MENSA-NO actually MEANS?  Eventually they will learn, but  
it will take TIME & mistakes.  And by the time they've learned the  
language of the system, they're likely to be rotated out, taking  
their knowledge of quirks & oddities with them.    (013)

Here's what I mean by unnatural language... and these data element  
names are VERY good.    (014)

ACCP-CAT    (015)

Distilling the 800 data elements in this system down to the  
fragments, produces this pattern:    (016)

FL  occurs 224 times
NO occurs 154
AMT occurs 142
CD occurs 110    (017)

> it seems that Zipf's law for NL terms also applies to most computer
> languages.    (018)

Excellent.    (019)

I found an article, but it appears to only have looked at the  
language's (dating myself) reserved words (MOVE, ADD, COMPUTE...).  I  
want to look at the sort of language that ends up in variable names.    (020)

David Eddy
deddy@xxxxxxxxxxxxx    (021)

781-455-0949    (022)

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