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Re: [ontolog-forum] API4KB and diverse ontologies

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Barkmeyer, Edward J" <edward.barkmeyer@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2013 11:49:17 -0400
Message-id: <63955B982BF1854C96302E6A5908234417E217071B@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
John,    (01)

> >> But we have *zero* examples of independently developed systems of
> >> these four kinds that have successfully extracted their implicit
> >> ontology and shared it a form that could be used by the others.
> EB
> > Who is "we"?  As my father-in-law used to say, I wouldn't want to
> > mention any names, but their initials are "TopQuadrant" and
> "CambridgeSoftware"
> > and "Thematix"...
> This is another misunderstanding that wouldn't occur if we had been talking
> in the same room.  The 2012 API4KB slides looked as if they were touching on
> research areas for which there are *ZERO* implementations of any kind.  But
> you're citing companies that have implemented technology that I would
> classify as "routine" -- not research.    (02)

But you can't blow hot and cold with the same mouth here.  If those 
technologies are "routine", then they are indeed ripe for standardization, and 
that is what API4KB is about.  They are diverse solutions to subsets of the 
general problem of working with heterogeneous knowledge bases.  The "research" 
question is whether there is a general solution.  But from Davide Sottara's 
last presentation, what I saw was not an effort toward a general solution, but 
rather an effort to eliminate the unnecessary variations in the interfaces to 
subset solutions, and to provide standard identification for subset 
capabilities, which in turn enables encapsulation of several aspects of 
solution technologies.  That encapsulation supports applications that are to 
some extent technology-independent, and it supports technological improvements 
on the supplier side that improve the capabilities and quality of results 
without changes to the application interface.  (In the "cloud", an application 
that found your offering of last week inadequate might find your offering of 
this week acceptable, without any changes to the application.)    (03)

Now, by way of analogy, 20  years of research in Description Logics led to the 
knowledge that there were many boundable extensions to the basic tableaux 
algorithm, but that some combinations of these extensions were not boundable.   
The result was the negotiation of one standard "maximal" subset of those 
extensions that we now call OWL.  There was needed research into what "maximal" 
combinations of extensions were possible, and research into the power and 
utility of different maximal combinations, and some of that research took place 
during the standards development process.      (04)

I am too ignorant to know whether the current collection of diverse "routine" 
technologies for dealing with heterogeneous knowledge bases is in a state 
similar to that of description logics in 1996, but I don't want to dismiss that 
possibility out-of-hand.  A successful standard in this area does not require 
that there be a general solution.  Don't mistake the project for research 
toward a general solution to the problem of heterogeneous KBs.  The project is 
about a practicable solution to some common cases.    (05)

-Ed    (06)

P.S.  "Oops!  I did it again."  I mislabeled "Cambridge Semantics" in my 
previous email.  Not a good week for getting names right...    (07)

Edward J. Barkmeyer                     Email: edbark@xxxxxxxx
National Institute of Standards & Technology
Systems Integration Division, Engineering Laboratory
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8265             Work:   +1 301-975-3528
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8265         Mobile: +1 240-672-5800    (08)

"The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST, 
 and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."    (09)

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