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

To: "'Ontology Summit 2013 discussion'" <ontology-summit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Matthew West" <dr.matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 28 Dec 2012 15:05:12 -0000
Message-id: <50ddb528.4a63b40a.36c7.5fc2@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Dear John,    (01)

> MW
> > 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.
> We have no disagreement about that point.  But I think the disagreement
> when I say that the number of upper levels is open ended.  The sales
> the engineering model, and the manufacturing model will require very
> upper ontologies.      (02)

MW: No they don't. I have developed an integrated "upper ontology" for all
of Shell's downstream business, which covered what you describe and more.    (03)

> They would also require very different detailed layers.    (04)

MW: More interesting (and important) is what they share.    (05)

> But they all use exactly the same terms (eg, product numbers and features)
> the mid layer.    (06)

MW: Well that does not happen by accident. When Shell first tried to develop
common data about the performance of its UK downstream business it found
more than 100 different coding systems for its products.    (07)

> > ...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.
> I agree that systems analysts have a lot to learn about ontology.  But
> academic philosophers and logicians are totally clueless about how to
design a
> working system.  Both kinds of skills are important, and very few people
> much, if any experience with both.    (08)

MW: And that is one of the biggest problems.
> We desperately need good tools that bridge the gap between the two.    (09)

MW: No, we need education. A fool with a tool is still a fool.    (010)

> The ontology tools are woefully inadequate for system design and
> and the tools for systems analysis don't provide any guidance about
> design and use.    (011)

MW: Nor should they. In my view it is important for tools to be ontological
commitment neutral.    (012)

> >> Throw out words that are confused and confusing.
> MW
> > All this still does not beget maturity.
> I agree.  But getting rid of philosophy jargon is the first step.
> The title of the following article summarizes the basic issue: "We don't
> more data scientists - just make big data easier to use."
> ways-to-use-big-data/
> 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?    (013)

MW: As I recall, that was the claim made for SQL..., and for COBOL as the
"end of programming". You are extremely unlikely to produce a good
ontological model without a good working knowledge of ontological principles
and problems.    (014)

Regards    (015)

Matthew West                            
Information  Junction
Tel: +44 1489 880185
Mobile: +44 750 3385279
Skype: dr.matthew.west
http://www.matthew-west.org.uk/    (016)

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