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Re: [ontology-summit] Summit Engineering Tracks, function

To: "'Ontology Summit 2011 discussion'" <ontology-summit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: 'Matthew West' <matthew.west@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: henson graves <henson.graves@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 21 Jan 2012 05:22:11 -0600
Message-id: <SNT106-DS16C422E9862E3BF9C1B176E4840@xxxxxxx>
To be provocative, as an engineer I have come to find the concept of
function unsuitable for engineering discourse. I generally prefer to have it
replaced with "role" or "capability". When we are talking about purpose,
e.g., his purpose is to be a target or to attack targets, role works better.
Function is often used in engineering in requirements to describe what some
system is supposed to do. However, in recent years the distinction between
what a system is designed to do and what it can do gets blurred. So now
requirements development often starts with what capability one wants. Also
much engineering analysis concerns can a system perform a capability whether
it was designed for that or not. Capability also has the advantage in
requirements development that it is often easier to decompose it into
activities and implementations which can perform the activities. Of course
these implementations can be viewed as operations (functions) in a precise
sense.    (01)

Perhaps some ontologist would like to respond to this on Feb 2. I can give
more info if needed    (02)

- Henson    (03)

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