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[ontolog-forum] More on OWL [was - Fwd: [ontology-summit] Invitation to

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Peter Yim <peter.yim@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2010 11:08:49 -0800
Message-id: <AANLkTikoYvX+AzN34dGgWvf47DzniJEPweqZt4ugLX27@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Relocating this conversation to [ontolog-forum] ...    (01)

--    (02)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Bradley Shoebottom <bradley.shoebottom@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, Dec 9, 2010 at 7:21 AM
Subject: Re: [ontology-summit] Invitation to a brainstorming call for
the 2011 Ontology Summit
To: ontology-summit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    (03)

John,    (04)

Our TopQuadrant part of the trial used Sesame. The KIM part of our
Trial used Ontotext's BigOWLIM.    (05)

Working with Ontotext was my first exposure to SeRQL. I have not yet
done a side by side comparison to SPARQL. SPARQL we like because it is
a standard, and when mixed with SPIN and SPARQLMotion, can do some
interesting functions, referencing to external script processing, and
reasoning tasks.    (06)

OWL-DL was the most suitable for what we wanted to do with axioms.    (07)

I attended a recent TopQuadrant training session in which it was
expressed that OWL-2 was overly complex and that OWL-RL could do
everything that OWL 2 could with less restrictions. Since I do not
have formal training in Description Logic (hoping to fix that problem
this year), I cannot comment in detail.    (08)

Bradley Shoebottom
Information Architect - R&D, Innovatia Inc.
Tel: (506) 674-5439  |  Skype: bradleyshoebottom  | Toll-Free:
1-800-363-335 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting
bradley.shoebottom@xxxxxxxxxxxxx | www.innovatia.net | Follow us on Twitter    (09)

-----Original Message-----
From: ontology-summit-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:ontology-summit-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of John F.
Sent: December-09-10 11:04 AM
To: ontology-summit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: [ontology-summit] Invitation to a brainstorming call for
the 2011 Ontology Summit    (010)

Dear Matthew and Peter,    (011)

> ... my forthcoming book "Developing High Quality Data Models". Substitute
> ontology for data model and the same argument applies. The benefits come
> from improving and automating decision making through fit-for-purpose
> information to support those decisions.    (012)

I very strongly agree.  Software engineers have been doing ontology
(avant la lettre, as they say) for a very long time.  And much of that
work has been very good -- sometimes much better than what people are
doing with so-called ontology languages.    (013)

> Most importantly, please made sure you [Bradley] are in a position to openly 
> the content or technology you are contributing (ref. our Open IPR Policy...    (014)

I agree that the Open IPR policy is important, but I noticed that
Bradley's slides showed that they have also been using the Sesame
technology by the OpenRDF organization:    (015)

   http://www.openrdf.org/related.jsp    (016)

I don't know what other technology Bradley & Co. are using, but there
are some interesting features of Sesame that go beyond the current
W3C recommendations.    (017)

In particular, their query language SerQL seems to be much nicer
than SPARQL.  I haven't used that technology, and I'd like to ask
anybody who has what they think about it.    (018)

This also raises another question about OWL, which has dominated
many of the discussions.  I certainly admit that OWL has been
used for many ontologies, but many of them (BFO, for example)
use only the most trivial aspects -- which don't go beyond what
Aristotle specified two and a half millennia ago.    (019)

There is also much more to ontology than OWL, and many people,
such as Adam Pease, have been extremely negative about it.
(I'm always happy to have somebody make my criticisms sound
moderate, by comparison.)    (020)

My three major criticisms about OWL are (a) it's too limited,
(b) it's too big, and (c) it keeps growing.    (021)

One might think that (a) and (b) are contradictory, but my point
is that the type hierarchy is only one component.  The original
DLs from the 1970s and '80s were designed to be parts of a hybrid
system, not the whole reasoning system.  In fact, that is how
Leo said they use OWL at Mitre.    (022)

Using a DL as part of a hybrid system is a very flexible and
open-ended way of designing a system.  No matter how many features
are thrown into the OWL pot, it is deliberately designed to be
highly restricted.  That means it can *never* become the whole
system.  Most applications that use some version of OWL also use
other kinds of reasoning.    (023)

But the OWL developers have almost completely dominated the logic
part of the Semantic Web.  There is a box labeled RIF, but the
OWL developers have included their own rule-like notation for
the (still very limited) OWL semantics.  That seems like a ploy
to strangle the competition before it can get off the ground.    (024)

I keep mentioning Cyc because it shows that there is a better
way:  you don't need to restrict the user's language in order
to support DL-style reasoning.  Instead, you can allow the
knowledge engineers or subject matter experts to state what
they know in whatever form they find convenient.    (025)

Then for any particular problem or question, the system can
*automatically* select whichever reasoning method is appropriate
for that task.  If a DL reasoning style is sufficient, Cyc uses
it.  But it also has a wide range of other options.    (026)

At our company VivoMind, we have a different approach to support
a wide range of formal and informal methods.  But the point is
that we can use DL-style reasoning, when appropriate, without
forcing the users to abide by a tightly constrained notation.    (027)

In short, the OWL mindset is putting a stranglehold on ontology.
But ontologies can be, should be, and have been used in a much
wider range from Aristotle's syllogisms to Cyc and to open
ended mixtures of formal and informal methods.    (028)

I don't believe that we should deprecate OWL, but we have to
educate people that ontology is much, much bigger (and often
much, much simpler) than OWL.    (029)

John    (030)

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