I am a bit confused about what the most recent proposed agenda is. Let me take this message by Pat as an opportunity to further clarify my position.
On Mar 10, 2006, at 6:27 PM, Cassidy, Patrick J. wrote:
Bill, Adam, Doug, Matthew, other UOS panelists:
A review of the purpose of the meeting generally, and of the Wednesday morning session in particular is appended below.
See specific comments.
Peter Yim has suggested that we have another telecon to discuss the agenda. Can any of the UOS-conveners find an hour or two to talk to today, starting either 2 PM or 3 M New York time?
This is passed, I understand.
The Wednesday morning meeting schedule suggested by Adam seems predicated on the schedule suggested for Tuesday, and the suggested Tuesday session does not take into consideration the scheduled intermission from 10:30 to 12 for people to attend the plenary session of the Interoperability Week. Steve will have to attend that session - perhaps the rest of us can chose to continue the UO discussions, but that was not part of the original schedule. Steve Ray will have to decide whether there will be any problem allowing the UOS Tuesday meeting to continue in parallel with the plenary session.
This may be a good idea, since apparently the plenary session has only a political relevance. Personally, I would prefer to attend the plenary session (I am just curious), but I am fully available to participate to a parallel meeting.
There are eight invited panelists and any decisions by the panelists needs to be taken as a group. At this point, it does not appear that a majority of the eight panelists will agree that the "three formal upper ontologies" should have some priority in Tuesday's meeting. If five of the panelists agree to Adam's Tuesday agenda, I would support those changes.
Well, concerning the other five UO besides OpenCyc, SUMO and DOLCE, let me clarify that:
1. DOLCE is rather different from BFO, and developed totally independently of it. Indeed, in our final WonderWeb Deliverable http://wonderweb.semanticweb.org/deliverables/documents/D18.pdf
, we present BFO as *ONE* of the modules of the WonderWeb library of foundational ontologies, and we attempt a comparison with DOLCE, wich turned out to be difficult at that time since the BFO formalization work was still in progress. Since then, I know that BFO has evolved, but I am not aware of a stable formalized version. Despite this, there are certainly strong similarities between the two ontologies, and the two research groups have been pretty much in touch.
2. D&S is a specialization of DOLCE especially developed to account for "socially constructed" entities. It adds to DOLCE some high-level entities such as "Descriptions", and a number of middle-level entities useful for a wide range of applications. In addition, while working on D&S Aldo has introduced the notion of "Ontology Design Patterns", which a compact renderings of a set of interrelated notions useful for a certain class of applications.
3. In terms of our agenda:
- I don't think it makes sense to talk of BFO in the same slot devoted to DOLCE, and certainly I do not feel confortable to do that.
- Aldo Gangemi is available to talk (remotely) about D&S (and to express his position in general) on Tuesday and Wednesday at 13:30. These are the only available slots. I really hope there will be an opportunity for him to talk at least once. If this option doesn't work, I am also available to talk briefly on D&S (and more generally on the constructive approach), but I am I would need some extra time for this.
But the main purpose of the Tuesday meeting is to determine whether there is any merit in trying to find relations among the existing upper ontologies, and to the extent that Adam's suggestion prejudges that issue, it is not in keeping with the intended purpose of that part of the conference.
I agree. The real novelty and the main message emerging from this meeting should be importance of establishing suitable relationships among existing upper ontologies.
Any of the panelists can present their case that OpenCyc, SUMO, and DOLCE are the main upper ontologies that contend for adoption by others - and some others may agree. The organizing committee believed that each of the panelists, and some of the key participants, would have important contributions to make in any project undertaken to interrelate existing upper ontologies. Doug Lenat mentioned that he has "decades of actual experiences doing this that we can share with you", and I don't disagree. But insofar as the main focus of Tuesday is to discover whether there is any merit in interrelating the existing upper ontologies, it does not seem to me likely that any presentations on Tuesday that are not specifically directed at that question will advance a resolution of the question.
For Wednesday, the panelists may decide that they prefer to give a general presentation of each system
Yes, although maybe some preliminary short presentation should be useful for the Tuesday's work as well. Moreover, I understand that Wednesday's presentations should be very compact and oriented to the general public, so, concerning DOLCE, for instane, I would focus on presenting the motivations behind its main choices, rather than the ontology itself.
On Tuesday afternoon, I would think that the work on the public statement must come after the discussion of the merits of interrelating existing upper ontologies, as the conclusion of that discussion should be reflected in the statement.
Adam's proposed Wednesday morning session is not related to the original purpose of that session. The organizers felt that there should be one session focused on promoting a dialogue between the upper ontology custodians and potential users, with potential funders listening in to determine whether there is enough merit in the upper ontology efforts to warrant additional investment.
In deciding what to do on Wednesday, please read the summary below.
Purpose of the meeting:
The set of meetings was organized to serve several purposes, centering around the question of whether the custodians of existing upper-level ontologies, after proper discussion, decided whether they would want to make an effort to find relations among their upper ontologies in some manner, so as to permit some form of cross-usability of the knowledge expressed in the different paradigms of the different upper ontologies. The public session on Wednesday afternoon is an opportunity for the panelists to tell the world the result of these discussions and how they believe the upper ontologies will make important contributions to information technology. The meetings are predominantly by and for the eight invited panelists, and the other key participants were invited because it was expected that they would be able to help make suggestions to the panelists. The emphasis is on the discussions among the panelists looking toward the future of upper ontology technology. This meeting was arranged partly as a sequel to the series of Ontology Forum telecons at which (most of) the panelists had an opportunity to present their approaches to ontology development to the public. Those meeting proceedings are still available online. The focus of this meeting was to enable discussions among the custodians of public upper-level ontologies. This was not viewed as just a forum for presenting existing work, though that could be part of it.
The second paragraph from the invitation note sent by Steve Ray on February 15th to panelists and key participants was:
The two broad goals proposed by the organizing committee are: to find methods to interrelate existing upper ontologies so as to permit users of each to reuse knowledge expressed in the others; and to increase public awareness of the maturity and capabilities of ontology technology for automating information analysis and exploitation. Correspondingly, the discussions leading up to the meeting and the meeting itself will deal with both technical and public-relations issues. The goal of improving the public perception of the current state and potential for ontology technologies will be as significant as the technical questions to
I agree very much with Steve Ray's words.
The result could be to inform the public how, going forward, the upper ontologies will relate to each other (if at all) and how they could be used to advantage in applications. The public-relations aspect would provide an opportunity for the upper ontology custodians to increase use of their systems by explaining to a broad audience why they are needed. It might also help to make a case for increased funding of research in upper ontologies.
As Brand said, the public meeting Wednesday afternoon and semi-public meeting Wednesday morning are by and for the panelists, with the rest of us as a supporting cast.
The purposes that the Wednesday morning meeting was intended to serve are:
(1) to let potential users of the upper ontologies (other than the custodians themselves) understand how they can benefit from the upper ontologies
(2) if by the end of the Tuesday meetings the panelists have concluded that a project to interrelate (at least some of) the upper ontologies (e.g. by finding a common subset ontology) is desirable, they will have an opportunity to outline such a project and its benefits to agencies that might fund such research. A representative of NSF will be at that meeting.
If the panelists decide that no funded efforts at relating the upper ontologies are warranted, then that session might be devoted exclusively to presentations by the panelists if they so decide. This question of whether the panelists see any benefit in interrelating their ontologies could not be answered by the organizers, and the Tuesday session is intended to provide the answer. The general intent of the meeting was decided over a month ago, but the details have been slow to emerge, as the views of the panelists and key participants are becoming known.
Clear. I insist that interrelating the upper ontologies (and devoloping the appropriate methodology) is the main (and maybe the only) things which deserves joint fundings.
...Well, another thing that deserves joint funds is EVALUATION of upper ontologies. I will say more on this in a later message.
To answer one of Bill's questions about the Wednesday morning meeting: no reporters were specifically informed of that meeting and none are expected to attend. If one does show up, I don't know if we have a way to eject him/her - Steve will have to answer that, if that is of concern to the panelists.
To get additional perspective on the proposed organization Wednesday morning's session (which can be changed as the panelists see fit), you may recall that Brand Niemann, the chair of the federal SICoP, and chair of the Wednesday Morning session, has been working for years to find the means to achieve semantic interoperability ***throughout the federal government***. As part of this effort, it is necessary for him to make potential users within the federal government aware both of existing technology and of emerging technologies that can help to achieve that purpose. To the extent that vendors of semantic technologies may adopt an upper ontology as part of their own systems, it would be useful to get their views on how they might use a UO. If, however, the panelists would prefer to use all of that Wednesday Morning time to present their systems, with little or no time for feedback from potential users, they may decide collectively to do so. However, potential funders may be more interested in learning whether there is any potential practical uses of those ontologies rather than learning about he details of each ontology individually. It is a call for the panelists to make.
This makes sense.
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