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Re: [ontolog-forum] Using controlled natural languages for ontology

To: edbark@xxxxxxxx, "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Mike Bennett <mbennett@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2011 16:22:03 +0000
Message-id: <4D7A4C2B.5030100@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Agreed about CNL - that's ultimately the one language they don't 
have to learn.    (01)

If one is going to use UML, there is the problem that some of the 
SMEs already know some UML (or worse, know some ERM and think of 
UML as it) and so there is a mixed view of what they are seeing, 
with some thinking you are presenting logical design artefacts 
and others (correctly) thinking you are representing actual 
"things" in a way that happens to look like UML.    (02)

So if you are going to use UML tooling for diagramming (as we 
do), I would suggest it's best to extend the notation and make it 
visually different enough that you can explain the notation in 
terms of set theory (which corresponds to OWL concepts) and not 
as extensions to OO theory.    (03)

So yes, they do have to learn a "language" but it's a visual 
representation of set theory, which they already learnt at school.    (04)

Mike    (05)

On 11/03/2011 16:10, Ed Barkmeyer wrote:
> Mike Bennett wrote:
>> Well I would put it the other way around - a knowledge engineer
>> working with domain experts. I have managed to achieve some
>> results with this. The key is for the knowledge engineer to
>> recognize that they are not an expert, but that they know enough
>> to put forward a model which is largely complete and correct
>> (what the techie folks often call a "strawman"), and then
>> facilitate a session which involves changing that model, within
>> its stated formalism, until it is a complete and correct record
>> of the knowledge of the domain experts.
> Exactly!  I have described the process of learning "enough about the
> domain to put forward a model which is largely complete" as 'osmosis'.
> The knowledge engineer talks to enough domain experts and asks questions
> and gradually forms an image of the basic model.
>> ...
>> The secret is to know just enough to present something that's
>> nearly right, and then come to the table with humility
> Yes!  And that last is the real difference between the expert knowledge
> engineer and the journeyman.
>>   and well-directed questions for the SMEs.
> Spot on!
>> And of course having a
>> model format which does not require them to learn some language.
> Ultimately, they do have to learn the language of the model.  If nothing
> else, there will always be terminology issues.  The value of a CNL is
> that it can make that learning process much easier.  It is a small step
> from a language they speak.
> Over the years, I have found that domain experts can also easily
> understand simple diagrams in UML, NIAM/ORM and BPMN, and the first two
> can be readily transformed into formal ontologies.  The trick is not to
> introduce more than 5 concept-symbol pairs and talk about them at the
> thing/relationship/action level.  But CNLs allow for presenting more
> elaborate rules, both 'structural' and 'operational' (in Ron Ross's
> terminology).
> -Ed
>> Mike
>> On 10/03/2011 17:21, Rich Cooper wrote:
>>> I have yet to see a domain expert working with a knowledge engineer who
>>> produces quality results.  The few good examples I have seen are where the
>>> knowledge engineer IS a domain expert.
>>> Remember that in every domain, there is no Ulysses.  Every expert has an
>>> experience that is unique, personal, and not very communicable in language.
>>> The domain expert doesn't have the "aha" reaction of suddenly seeing a
>>> simplification that the knowledge expert does.
>>> So I disagree with this long held, but factually incorrect, assumption.
>>> JMHO,
>>> -Rich
>>> Sincerely,
>>> Rich Cooper
>>> EnglishLogicKernel.com
>>> Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com
>>> 9 4 9 \ 5 2 5 - 5 7 1 2
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>> [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Ed Barkmeyer
>>> Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2011 8:58 AM
>>> To: [ontolog-forum]
>>> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Using controlled natural languages for ontology
>>> Simon Spero wrote:
>>>> On Sun, Mar 6, 2011 at 11:01 PM, John F. Sowa<sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx
>>>> <mailto:sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>>   wrote:
>>>>       On 3/6/2011 10:39 PM, Zhuk, Yefim wrote:
>>>>       >   I'd think of CNL as an intermediate step towards ontology...
>>>>       It's more like an alternate notation for logic that makes comments
>>>>       readable by both the humans and the computer.
>>>>       A controlled natural language has a formally defined mapping to
>>>>       and from some version of logic.  Its main advantage is that
>>>>       it can be read as if it were ordinary language.
>>>> There may be some small  differences in ease of reading between CNL
>>>> and regular NL, but  these do not appear to be important.
>>>> Tobias Kuhn (until recently a student of Norbert Fuchs)   has  some
>>>> interesting results on the understandability of controlled natural
>>>> language in his dissertation (see Chapter 5 in Kuhn (2010) for info).
>>>>    Also, as part of his work on ACEWiki Tobias built  a native java
>>>> implementation of ACE, making it easier to use without having to
>>>> install prolog).
>>>> Simon
>>>>       * Tobias Kuhn. /Controlled English for Knowledge Representation/.
>>>>         Doctoral thesis, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration
>>>>         and Information Technology of the University of Zurich, 2010.
>>>>         [PDF
>>> <http://attempto.ifi.uzh.ch/site/pubs/papers/doctoral_thesis_kuhn.pdf>|BibTe
>>> X
>>> <http://attempto.ifi.uzh.ch/site/pubs/papers/bibtex/doctoral_thesis_kuhn.bib
>>>> ]
>>> In our experience the problem isn't intelligibility, unless the
>>> expressions become extraordinarily convoluted.  The problem is that the
>>> average domain expert naturally _writes_ a different language and takes
>>> some training to learn to write the controlled language.  Further, I
>>> would add, the domain expert is usually reluctant to 'waste his/her
>>> time' doing so.  So the practice is still knowledge engineer working
>>> with domain expert to create the ontology.  The primary advantage of
>>> using the CNL as a means of expression for _most of_ the ontology is
>>> that it allows the domain expert to read, understand and validate that
>>> part.  I say 'most of', because there are usually technical
>>> considerations in the formulation of the ontology that the domain expert
>>> should not be expected to understand -- that is the domain of the
>>> knowledge engineer.
>>> [Experts tend to be annoyed when the CNL interpreter complains about
>>> what they wrote, especially since its diagnostics only usually identify
>>> the syntactic point(s) at which it became confused, and its guidance for
>>> what might have been meant is not often helpful.  The worst cases,
>>> however, are those in which what the expert writes is unambiguously
>>> parsed by the CNL intepreter, but the interpretation it makes is not at
>>> all what was intended.  My favorite recent example was:
>>>     The surface must be contained between two planes that are 0.25mm apart.
>>> The CNL interpreter understood the constraint to refer to two distinct
>>> instances of a class of object described as 'plane that is-apart by
>>> 0.25mm'!  We needed to have the ontology in place to determine that that
>>> interpretation was not comprehensible (there is no such binary
>>> relation).  And OBTW, the correct expression of that rule in the CNL was
>>> 'extraordinarily convoluted'.]
>>> -Ed
>>    (06)

Mike Bennett
Hypercube Ltd.
89 Worship Street
London EC2A 2BF
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7917 9522
Mob: +44 (0) 7721 420 730
Registered in England and Wales No. 2461068    (07)

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