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Re: [ontolog-forum] Generalization, specialization, and interoperability

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2014 21:48:15 -0400
Message-id: <541CDCDF.5000800@xxxxxxxxxxx>
David and Ed,    (01)

The criteria I mentioned only work for two systems A and B whose
ontologies have *both* been defined as specializations of a common
generalization C.    (02)

> On the face of it, these [Acme and Enterprise] are both compatible    (03)

The criteria I stated do not include a condition called "face of it".
Following is a copy from my previous note:    (04)

> a) If two theories A and B are inconsistent in their details,
>    they can interoperate on shared data that is specified by
>    a common generalization C.
> b) To use data specified in C, neither A nor B may assume any
>    properties of that data not specified in C.  But they can use
>    the details in conditionals that begin "If x has property P ..."    (05)

If the designers of Acme and Enterprise had both adopted some common
standard C, then they could interoperate under these conditions.
But if they hadn't, then there are two options:    (06)

    1. Give up.    (07)

    2. Analyze the spec's for Acme and Enterprise to determine whether
       there exists a common generalization for some subset of the data.    (08)

> For the ontology containing only these predicates, we have no easy
> way to know what satisfying these axioms might be.    (09)

I agree.    (010)

For practical examples, note that many standards have evolved over
the years to support electronic funds transfer (EFT).  But those
standards specify almost nothing about the accounts from which
and to which the funds are being transferred.    (011)

Over the years, banks have merged with or swallowed other banks many,
many times.  They all have accounts with similar sounding names:
checking, savings, etc.  But the banks never, ever merge accounts --
for reasons along the lines that David and Ed have summarized.
Instead, they have two options:    (012)

  1. Give up -- i.e., continue to run the old software from both banks
     indefinitely.    (013)

  2. Shut down some or all the old accounts, open similar sounding
     accounts that are processed by different software, and transfer
     the funds from the old accounts to the new accounts.    (014)

To relate this example to my criteria above, the EFT ontology is
the very underspecified common theory on which interoperability
is possible.    (015)

John    (016)

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