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[ontolog-forum] Hello World

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: David Collins <collidavid@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 15 Mar 2011 17:44:53 -0500
Message-id: <AANLkTim7S9fiZV1WBYwLZc4PHb1uivuJ+p9RMZNZXc8J@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Hello, world,

This is a note to introduce myself to the forum. I am a journalist and programmer located in the United States.

My midlife entry into radio journalism, freelance writing, investigative journalism and daily news reporting led to my development of Web programming skills, which in turn led to a broad interest into computer science, especially in the context of mass communication. I found this forum while surveying Web activity related to a site I recently registered -- modeleverything.com

Upon registering the site to support research related to my broad interest in practical and popular applications for scientific modeling, I found myself daunted by the task of writing even introductory prose for a site that explores such a broad and improbable concept. Faced with such a daunting task, I continued my research, compiling loosely assembled notes wiki style at modeleverything.com.

I'm generally interested in interoperability of models from various domains, popular applications of domain-specific models, and the broad categories of agent-based modeling, complexity theory, neural networks and... of course... ontology. I'm particularly interested in epistemological aspects of scientific modeling and especially with regard to the impact of scientific modeling on popular belief systems.

The site where I maintain my growing collection of links and definitions runs on a content-management system I developed while working in a state-capital newsroom. I used the system in the newsroom to log my notes, to provide collaborative work environment with granular access and to serve as a front-end for other data-management scripts. Compared to the work of my peers in the world of computer science, my modest effort to develop a content-management system development is rough and incomplete, but the ModX-like system is particularly well suited for my approach to organizing the results of exploratory investigations.

As to that introductory prose for ModelEverything.com I so far have found too daunting to write, I know it must say one thing -- I can't and we can't model everything -- not on a wiki, not even a HubZero-powered wiki, and not in the world's best funded, collaborative, extended laboratory networks. From a practical perspective then, the question I pose with the URL ModelEverything.com instead asks what benefit might we realize by expanding our models and ontologies before the effort required to represent greater scope or detail exceeds any practical benefit.

In particular, the search string that led me to the ontolog forum was ontology+of+everything. And here I find discussion related to the gap between the desire for and the realization of a universal ontology. That's why I'm here. I'm certain that reading these forums will leave me better prepared to write news, reviews and reference material about scientific modeling for both a popular and a professional readership.

David Collins


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