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Re: [ontolog-forum] Quote for the day -- KR and KM

To: "pcmurray2000@xxxxxxxxx" <pcmurray2000@xxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Edward Barkmeyer <edward.barkmeyer@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 05 Jan 2011 17:12:46 -0500
Message-id: <4D24ECDE.9020606@xxxxxxxx>
Phil,    (01)

you wrote:
> Ed --
> I think I should apologize for rather snarky and facile comments on 
> your thoughtful post.     (02)

No need to apologize.  I thought we just disagreed on some aspects.
I rather like "snarky and facile comments".  I just find it necessary to
erase most of the ones I write into would-be public emails. :-)    (03)

> I commented precisely because I thought your observations were important.    (04)

Thanks.    (05)

>> ...
>> The point I was trying to make is that there is a significant 
>> investment involved here, and without the commitment of upper 
>> management, that kind of investment simply won't be made.
> There is, indeed, a significant investment. But
> (1)  I believe there are ways to show both the necessity and benefits 
> of such an investment.
> (2) I believe that we need to frame the necessity and benefits in a 
> way that makes sense to everyone in the organization. Because everyone 
> in the organization can benefit -- and contribute -- with the right 
> model for capturing, evaluating, and integrating the "knowledge" of 
> the organization.    (06)

That is a great sales pitch.  I don't know how to do anything like that.    (07)

>>> The desirable starting point is the relationship between 
>>> communication and work as a method of producing value, efficiencies, 
>>> or improvements -- *not* representing and reconciling concepts, 
>>> although the latter is also essential.
>> What Phil means, I think, is that nature of the analysis is not "what 
>> all do we know", but rather, "who needs to know what" in order to get 
>> his job done, or to do it better or differently.  I fully agree.  And 
>> for upper management that comes down to: what do I need to know in 
>> order to make good decisions about what we should and should not be 
>> doing.  I also believe that is the underlying concern that begot the 
>> comments I summarized.
> That's part of it. We also need to look much deeper into the problems.
>     * An overabundance of information reduces our ability to
>       understand what's actually happening and request appropriate
>       solutions.
>     * A key and simple reality is that you cannot accurately and
>       reliably interpret and apply lots of unstructured information.
>     * There's so much stuff -- and information about stuff -- in the
>       world that it is impossible to adequately understand that
>       information in a reasonable timeframe, especially when you need
>       to act on that knowledge.
>     * The complexity of reality (which includes complex ideas) has
>       outpaced language. We are challenged to
>           o Remember the meaning of that stuff.
>           o Detect both duplicate and related stuff.
>           o Understand which is important.
>           o Put it to use effectively.
> And that's still just part of the challenge.    (08)

I agree.  Different levels of responsibility requires models of the
world at different levels of abstraction, and determining what the
filters and aggregators should be is not easy.    (09)

I have argued elsewhere that models of the same thing at different
levels of abstraction may be inconsistent.  The abstraction loses
irrelevant details, exceptions, and outliers.  Aggregation of
information produces statistical properties that are stated in the same
terms as the base properties: The average family has 2.2 children.
People don't have a problem with this, but reasoning engines do.    (010)

> ...
>> This is why KR is still relatively impractical for any large business 
>> undertaking.  We need to get the foundational ontologies out there, 
>> so that each project doesn't have to build them on the job.  And we 
>> need to pick and choose our targets of opportunity carefully, in 
>> order to establish credibility and encourage further investment.
>> [EU Framework Programme 7 has an objective to do this kind of thing, 
>> but it very much depends on finding academic/industry teams that have 
>> a useful solvable problem and the talent to do good reusable 
>> knowledge engineering in the process of solving it.  And in my 
>> experience, if any team actually succeeds, it will form a company for 
>> whom that foundation and the associated talent is its protected IP 
>> and its applicability to other real industry needs is its value 
>> proposition.]
> Here's a minor disagreement: We need both bottom-up and top-down 
> approaches.    (011)

I don't disagree.    (012)

Pat Hayes observed that when creating an ontology, you first identify
the concept set you need.  Then you decide whether it is useful to bring
in bits of an "upper ontology" to minimize the number of axioms you have
to write.  Our experience is just that you really need that foundational
ontology to deal with mereological concepts, or temporal concepts, or
spatial concepts, effectively.  Otherwise you have either an
impoverished (and nearly useless) ontology, or a lot of axioms to write
(and get right).    (013)

-Ed    (014)

Edward J. Barkmeyer                        Email: edbark@xxxxxxxx
National Institute of Standards & Technology
Manufacturing Systems Integration Division
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8263                Tel: +1 301-975-3528
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8263                Cel: +1 240-672-5800    (015)

"The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST,
  and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."    (016)

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