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Re: [ontology-summit] Track on Cyc?

To: ontology-summit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2012 00:00:53 -0500
Message-id: <4F222F85.9040303@xxxxxxxxxxx>
In reviewing the discussions about Big Systems, I noticed that the
world's biggest formal ontology, which has been used in conjunction
with very large commercial applications hasn't been discussed.    (01)

That is Cyc.  It was founded in 1984 as part of MCC and spun off
as an independent company, CycCorp, in 1994.  They had 28 years
of continuous development.  After the first 25 years, they had
devoted 1000 person years (a full person millennium!) to the
development.  They also have a long list of publications that
are available for download:  http://cyc.com/cyc/technology/pubs    (02)

If we really want to know what a large ontology system can do and
how it can be used in conjunction with mainstream IT, I suggest
that we devote an entire track of the Ontology Summit to Cyc.    (03)

Among the many participants in Ontolog Forum, Doug Foxvog and
Amanda Vizedom were employed at Cyc.  They could present talks
about their experience at Cyc, what lessons they learned from it,
and how their work at Cyc compares to projects that they have
worked on since them.    (04)

I would expect them to give a balanced treatment of the strengths
and weaknesses of Cyc.  Many of us have had many criticisms
about various aspects of Cyc, but any AI company that can
stay in business for 28 years is a major achievement.  We
should try to learn as much as we can from their experience.    (05)

Another person who used Cyc extensively back in the 1990s is
Bill Anderson.  He and his group worked on DoD projects that used
Cyc to develop ontologies and applications.  As a result of that
experience, they started their own company, Ontology Works,
which has more recently been renamed High Fleet.    (06)

I would like to hear a talk by Bill about his experiences with
Cyc and how that led him and his colleagues to found their
own company.  It would be very interesting to hear a comparison
of the applications and methodologies used with Cyc and the
experience they have had at Ontology Works and High Fleet.    (07)

I would expect these talks to cover both positive and negative
aspects of Cyc.  But it would also be good to invite somebody
who is currently working at Cyc to present their views.  As
an example, one of the biggest applications of Cyc is at
the Cleveland Clinic:    (08)

http://www.cyc.com/technology/whitepapers_dir/Harnessing_Cyc_to_Answer_Clincal_Researchers_ad_hoc_Queries.pdf    (09)

I also spoke briefly to somebody from the Cleveland Clinic, who
said that there was a large "disconnect" between the methods
used for Cyc and the mainstream IT methods that their programmers
were familiar with.  That is a very serious issue that has
plagued many AI projects, and I'd like to hear about the issues
from both ends:  the Cyc personnel and some knowledgeable IT
developer at the Cleveland Clinic.    (010)

This is the kind of track that would be highly informative
for people with a background in either or both mainstream IT
and AI technology.  And it's hard to find any ontology project
that is bigger than Cyc.    (011)

John    (012)

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