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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontolgizing rain & snow [was: Track 1&2 Joint Missio

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: doug foxvog <doug@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2012 00:39:52 -0500
Message-id: <4F2238A8.6040200@xxxxxxxxxx>
COn 26-Jan-12 5:49 PM, Rich Cooper wrote:
Dear Doug,

Its interesting to see the many contexts for which
Cyc has built infrastructure.  A couple of days
ago, there was a post sequence on the Siri patent
which described "active ontology" as though it
were one ontology from a library of ontologies.
>From a quick review of the patent, it seems they
consider the "active ontology" to be the one which
best fits the situation at hand.  

Since you are an accomplished expert on Cyc, can
you enlighten the rest of us about whether Cyc
uses the same or a similar concept, perhaps
calling it something else than the "active

Cyc has set up a large set of contexts, which they call microtheories, to separate its
definitions, theories, and data by topic.   These microtheories are in an inheritance
hierarchy such that topics that rely on other topics have the corresponding topics
as #$genlMts.  To reason about a certain set of data, one would normally create a
#$DataMicrotheory and specify its closest #$genlMts.  All the statements from the
#$genlMts and <i>their</i>#$genlMts are inherited (with provision for defining
 exceptions to various rules).  The microtheory in which a question is asked would
correspond to SIRI's "active ontology".

See my chapter on Cyc in  <u>Theory and Applications of Ontology. Volume II</u>
for details of the microtheory system and a number of different types of microtheories
(Vocabulary, Theory, Data, Hypothetical, ...). 

At least by the time i left Cycorp (in 2003), there were few statements encoded in CycL
that provided meta-information about what the microthories's topics were and what
they were designed to be used for.  Many terms had their #$definingMt specified, which
meant that reasoning about them should not be done unless the specified microtheory
was included in the mass of #$genlMts of the query microtheory.  This restriction was
not code-enforced by the end of 2003.

I did not read the patent, but from the discussions in this forum, am led to understand
that they have a set of rules for selecting the contexts (which they call ontologies) to use
in solving a question.   There had been discussion in Cycorp about doing such a thing,
utilizing both the #$definingMt assertions and other meta-assertions about the microtheories,
but i have seen no design work towards such a goal.

SIRI's technique for selecting an "active ontology" might be novel.  The idea of determining
an ontology in which to ask a question is not.

I hope this helps.

-- doug

Descriptions appreciated,

Rich Cooper
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 doug foxvog
Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2012 2:04 PM
To: [ontolog-forum]
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontolgizing rain &
snow [was: Track 1&2 Joint Mission and Session

Being under heavy rain bombardment for several
days, a rare process in
our parts, the atmospheric condition demands
more attention.

What about methane rain, neon rain, sulfuric
acid rain, iron rain,
volcanic ash rain, or rain dust, full of
chemicals, minerals and silt,
we have here,
in the Med Area, each early springtime from
North Africa.

Cyc has not modeled extra-terrestrial rain, but it
would be done similarly.
Their terms for rain refer to water rain.

They do have AcidRainProcess as a specialization
of RainProcess, and
have modeled Chemistry at the level of an
introductory college class
(actually: modelling the content of an AP
chemistry text -- for those
familiar with the US high school system).

The ontology has classes and relations for
representing material disolved
or suspended in rainwater.

And how to formally represent the
precipitation/downfall/rain properties:
types and forms, material and composition,
duration and intensity, speed
and noise, quantity and quality, products and
results, or causes and
effects ...
These are all basic concepts that have been well
thought out and
ontologized at the generic level in Cyc.  I only
have a copy of OpenCyc
on my computer, so don't have access to any rules
Cycorp may have
generated inter-relating such things .

Durations are specified as (#$MinutesDuration N)
[or another resolution];
downfall intensity can represented as (#$PerFn
(#$Centi #$Meter)
#$HoursDuration); and wind speed in some

For causality, #$causes-SitSit would relate the
event of the storm (a
#$PhysicalEvent which is a type of #$Situation)
with a #$Situation which
it has caused.  To  state that the storm caused
some proposition to be
true, one would use (#$causes-ThingProp
BlizzardOf2012 <proposition>).

It looks any seasonal falling to the planet of
any form of material refers
to precipitation, as downfall of any from of
substance, rock, glass,
water, etc.
Cyc's #$PrecipitationProcess allows for such
specializations of precipitation
to be defined and reasoned about.  Even without
creating new terms,
you could refer to #$PrecipitationParticles which
are #$composedOf
(#$SolutionFn (#$LiquidFn #$Water)
#$HydrogenChloride), or one in
which they are #$Suspensions with the
#$suspendingFluid being one
substance and with #$suspendedParts being some
other substance, such
as a (#$MobFn #$SandParticle)s.

It appears that they don't have a term for


----- Original Message -----
From: "doug foxvog" <doug@xxxxxxxxxx>
To: <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2012 8:11 PM
Subject: [ontolog-forum] Ontolgizing rain & snow
[was: Track 1&2 Joint
Mission and Session Abstracts]

[ Also sent to ontology-summit discussion group.
Matthew West wrote:

I understand your view. How shall you handle
rain and snow?
Rain & snow refer to physical precipitation
particles, the precipitation
bulk, the process that produces the
precipitation, storms as events, and
storms as objects.

Cyc's representation of these different, but
related things (leaving out
comments and some additional statements)
(isa PrecipitationParticle ExistingObjectType)
(genls PrecipitationParticle Particle)
(genls PrecipitationParticle
(isa RainProcess ProcessType)
(genls RainProcess PrecipitationProcess)

(isa SnowProcess ProcessType)
(genls SnowProcess PrecipitationProcess)

(isa Rainwater ExistingStuffType)
(genls Rainwater (LiquidFn Water-Fresh))

(isa SnowMob ExistingStuffType)
(genls SnowMob (SolidFn Water))

(isa Snowflake ExistingObjectType)
(genls Snowflake PrecipitationParticle)
(genls (MobFn Snowflake) SnowMob)

(isa Raindrop ExistingObjectType)
(genls Raindrop PrecipitationParticle)
(genls Raindrop Rainwater)

(relationAllExists outputsGenerated
(relationAllExists outputsGenerated RainProcess
(MobFn Raindrop))
(relationAllExists outputsGenerated SnowProcess
(MobFn Snowflake))
(isa StormAsObject ExistingObjectType)
(genls StormAsObject InanimateObject-Natural)
(relationAllExists physicalParts StormAsObject
(isa RainStormAsObject ExistingObjectType)
(genls RainStormAsObject StormAsObject)
(relationAllExists physicalParts StormAsObject
(relationAllExists physicalParts StormAsObject
(MobFn Raindrop))
(isa SnowStormAsObject ExistingObjectType)
(genls SnowStormAsObject StormAsObject)
(relationAllExists physicalParts StormAsObject
(relationAllExists physicalParts
SnowStormAsObject (MobFn Snowflake))
(not (relationExistsAll doneBy
PrecipitationProcess StormAsObject))
  (not (relationExistsAll doneBy
PrecipitationProcess StormAsObject))
  "A StormAsObject would include Duststorms,
which don't (necessarily)
include precipitation.")

(relationExistsAll doneBy RainProcess
(relationExistsAll doneBy SnowProcess
(isa StormAsEvent ExistingObjectType)
(genls StormAsEvent ImmediateWeatherProcess)

(isa RainStormAsEvent ExistingObjectType)
(genls RainStormAsEvent StormAsEvent)
(relationAllExists subprocesses RainStormAsEvent
(relationAllExists doneBy RainStormAsEvent
(isa SnowStormAsEvent ExistingObjectType)
(genls SnowStormAsEvent StormAsEvent)
(relationAllExists subprocesses SnowStormAsEvent
(relationAllExists doneBy SnowStormAsEvent
(isa SnowStormAsObject ExistingObjectType)
(genls SnowStormAsObject StormAsObject)
(relationAllExists physicalParts
SnowStormAsObject (MobFn Snowflake))

On Jan 26, 2012, at 6:09 AM, Matthew West
The main problem here is one of different
people using terms
differently. Hardly an ontological problem per
se, but certainly a
problem that causes confusion in developing
This is always a problem for ontologists.  The
different meanings have
to be teased apart.

Interestingly as a 4 dimensionalist I don't
recognise endurants at all,
but I do recognise activities, physical
objects, and participants.
this world view all individuals (including
activities, physical objects
and participants) are spatiotemporal extents,
and you discover that an
activity consists of its participants, where a
participant is the state
of a physical object that participates in some
activity. So I recognise
the things you talk about. However, I would
assign the term "system" to
the physical object the participant is a state
I would not restrict the term "system" merely to
physical objects.  But
having multiple clearly defined concepts which
different people use that
for in different contexts, is fine.  They just
need different URIs.
-- doug


Matthew West
Information  Junction
Tel: +44 1489 880185
Mobile: +44 750 3385279
Skype: dr.matthew.west

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