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Re: [ontology-summit] Criteria for evaluating ontologies at different le

To: ontology-summit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2012 12:32:46 -0500
Message-id: <50DB34BE.20309@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Dear Matthew,    (01)

>> My recommendation for the analysis is to adopt, extend, and refine
>> the methods that systems analysts have been using for decades.
>> Whenever possible, use terminology that they already know.    (02)

> Interestingly, it was just the inadequacies of these tools that got me
> into (philosophical) ontology.    (03)

I agree that current system development tools need more ontology.
The philosophers and the implementers have complementary strengths,
but very very few people have both kinds of strengths.    (04)

> I would have the core sales model as part of the upper ontology,
> I would have the types of things that you might sell as the mid layer,
> and say the parts of a pump as a detailed layer.    (05)

We have no disagreement about that point.  But I think the disagreement
starts when I say that the number of upper levels is open ended.  The
sales model, the engineering model, and the manufacturing model will
require very different upper ontologies.  They would also require very
different detailed layers.  But they all use exactly the same terms
(eg, product numbers and features) at the mid layer.    (06)

>> ... specifying a large application.  That is the level of detail
>> that systems analysts have been working on for the past half century.
>> That is a mature community that has a great deal more experience about
>> how to design a system than most people who claim to be ontologists.    (07)

> No ... the systems analysts have [nothing to develop ontology].
> Indeed most of the gross errors I have seen in systems small or large
> are ontological errors, arising from ignorance  of the systems
> (philosophical) ontological issues.    (08)

I agree that systems analysts have a lot to learn about ontology.  But
most academic philosophers and logicians are totally clueless about how
to design a working system.  Both kinds of skills are important, and
very few people have much, if any experience with both.    (09)

We desperately need good tools that bridge the gap between the two.
The ontology tools are woefully inadequate for system design and
development, and the tools for systems analysis don't provide any
guidance about ontology design and use.    (010)

But I believe that the systems analysis tools are more mature than
the ontology tools.  It is possible for a systems analyst who knows
ontology to do a good job of system design with the current tools.
But somebody who knows the currently available ontology tools needs
much, much more to do a good job of system design.    (011)

>> Throw out words that are confused and confusing.    (012)

> All this still does not beget maturity.    (013)

I agree.  But getting rid of philosophy jargon is the first step.
The title of the following article summarizes the basic issue: "We donít 
need more data scientists ó just make big data easier to use."    (014)

http://gigaom.com/2012/12/22/we-dont-need-more-data-scientists-just-simpler-ways-to-use-big-data/    (015)

A quotation from that article with just one suggested change:
> What if domain experts could directly encode their ideas and
> representations of their domains into the system, bypassing the
> data scientists [ontologists] as middleman and translator?    (016)

We need tools that combine the best aspects of current system
analysis tools and current ontology tools.  We also need machine
learning and help methods that can guide the developers without
requiring a professional ontologist and logician as translator.    (017)

John    (018)

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