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Re: [ontolog-forum] Visual Notation for OWL Ontologies (VOWL)

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 13 May 2014 23:51:21 -0400
Message-id: <5372E839.1050707@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Kingsley, William, and Ed,    (01)

>> The primary design goal for CGs is to serve as an intermediate language
>> between NLs and formal notations.  A major use for VivoMind software is
>> to analyze documents with *no links* and *discover* the relevant links.    (02)

> And I would encourage you to make this available as a Web Service.
> And by that I am not saying it has to be a $0.00 affair. Doing that
> will be beneficial to all.    (03)

We would be delighted to do that.  But as you know, it takes more than
$0.00 to do it.  Our business model (hope?) was to avoid selling out
to VCs and to build the technology on the basis of contracts.  That has
been very slow.  We are now negotiating a new business model.    (04)

> "For every Squid s, there exist exactly 10 Tentacles t,
> such that s has-part t."
> It may be only me, but I don't think you have to become familiar
> with anything new to understand this formulation.    (05)

Before you can translate that sentence to FOL (or any other logic),
you need some way to represent plurals, such as "10 tentacles".
And more questions arise with sentences like "Five cats ate six fish."
A lot has been published on those issues, and I'd rather ignore them
at the moment.    (06)

> It looks to me, though, that CG and OWL *both* want to attach quantifiers
> directly to classes, instead of to free variables...    (07)

The basic EGs and CGs have a simple mapping to predicate calculus.
But even the simplest plurals raise thorny questions, which get
even thornier when you try to answer them in a general way:    (08)

    Bob and Sue ate an apple.  (Same apple?  One apple each?)
    Bob and Sue danced all night.  (One long dance?  Many dances?
    Together?  Separately?  With different partners?  Who cares?)    (09)

It is possible to restate such sentences to make the correct
interpretation clear.  But speakers rarely clarify details
that aren't relevant to their main interests.    (010)

> For every Squid, there are exactly 10 Tentacles: t, such that
> t is a part of the Squid.
> (which uses a back reference (anaphor) instead of a variable,
> a trick I learned from Attempto)    (011)

Yes, but you learned it from your mommy long before that.
The Attempto examples may have focused your attention on it.    (012)

> The big question is what formal language you want generated
> from these human-friendly languages.    (013)

Any sentence in English may be translated to logic in different
ways for different purposes in different contexts.  There are
several ways of handling CNLs:    (014)

  1. Attempto strategy:  Formally defined grammar with a formally
     specified translation.  Any error generates an error message.    (015)

  2. STE strategy:  A grammar for a simplified syntax with an
     approved vocabulary, but no formal semantics.    (016)

  3. Formal, but helpful.  Formally defined grammar with a formally
     specified translation.  If error, don't give up.  Make a guess
     at the most likely interpretation.  In every case, translate
     the result back to an NL "echo".  Ask the human to approve it
     or revise the input.    (017)

I recommend strategy 3.    (018)

John    (019)

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