OntologySummit2010 (Pre-launch) Community Input and Planning Session - Thu 2009-11-05    (2316)

Conference Call Details    (231E)

Attendees:    (2321)

Abstract:    (23H7)

Increasingly, major national and international projects centered on ontology technology are being advanced by governments and by scientific and industrial organizations. This brings a growing need for ontology expertise and thus for new methods and institutions for the training of ontologists. The 2010 Ontology Summit will explore strategies to address this need in terms of curriculum, establishment of new career tracks, role of ontology support organizations and funding agencies, as well as training in the analysis and comparison of methodologies for designing, maintaining, implementing, testing and applying ontologies and associated tools and resources.    (23H8)

This is a a (pre-launch) communitywide brainstorming and planning session for those who are passionate about the subject and would like to influence and help drive the outcome by helping refine the ideas, organization and process, around our challenge of OntologySummit2010: "Creating the Ontologists of the Future."    (23H9)

See: our Ontology Summit 2010 Home page at: OntologySummit2010    (23HA)

Agenda & Proceedings:    (232A)

1. Introduction and ideas – SteveRay (co-chair)    (232B)

2. Some more ideas – BarrySmith (co-chair)    (232C)

3. Open floor for even more ideas (All) -- please refer to [ process above]    (232D)

Brainstorming of ideas that support the "Creating the Ontologists of the Future." theme    (23HB)

o Topics, Speakers, Invitees, Sponsors, Marketing, ... and more    (23HH)

4. Summary and wrap-up (SteveRay)    (23HI)

Proceedings:    (23HJ)

Please refer to the archives above    (23HK)

IM Chat Transcript captured during the session:    (23HL)

 (The chat transcript below has been lightly edited to help improve on clarity of the conversation.)    (23HM)
 VNC2: Welcome to the OntologySummit2010 (Pre-launch) Community Input and Planning Session - Thu 2009-11-05    (23HN)
 * Topic: Refining the ideas around the challenge of OntologySummit2010: Creating the Ontologists of the Future    (23J3)
 * Co-chair: Dr. SteveRay & Professor BarrySmith    (23J4)
 * Agenda: This is a (pre-launch) communitywide brainstorming and planning session for OntologySummit2010.    (23J5)
 Please refer to details on the session page at: 
 http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?ConferenceCall_2009_11_05    (23J6)
 anonymous morphed into BettinaSchimanski    (23J7)
 anonymous morphed into KurtConrad    (23J8)
 anonymous morphed into ArturoSanchez    (23J9)
 anonymous1 morphed into AntonyGalton    (23JA)
 anonymous morphed into JeffAbbott    (23JB)
 anonymous1 morphed into BarrySmith    (23JC)
 anonymous morphed into FabianNeuhaus    (23JD)
 anonymous morphed into RexBrooks    (23JE)
 TerryLongstreth: @barry: is this an extension of computer application 
 development? What are the pre-reqs?    (23JF)
 PeterYim: @Barry - can one get properly "trained" on OWL 2.0, say, in 
 *one day* ?    (23JG)
 PeterYim: or "ontology mapping" or even "logic for ontologists" ... you 
 would probably need a whole bunch of prerequisites to make the "one day" 
 plan    (23JH)
 ToddSchneider: Barry, why is university accreditation needed? Are there 
 other organizations that could do this?    (23JI)
 FrankChum: @Todd, to guarantee a certain standard?    (23JJ)
 ToddSchneider: How about the Open Group? They provide administrative 
 services.    (23JK)
 SteveRay: I'm thinking that assembling a curriculum comes first, then 
 certification comes afterwards.    (23JL)
 ToddSchneider: Barry, how were these costs arrived at?    (23JM)
 ToddSchneider: Steve, I agree: The curriculum could be compressed to the 
 certification. I talked with Barry about this approach.    (23JN)
 SteveRay: @Todd: What do you mean, "compressed to the certification"?    (23JO)
 BettinaSchimanski: How would this certification compare to other 
 certifications that already exist, like from Semsphere (http://www.semsphere.com/)?    (23JP)
 BettinaSchimanski: I would like to clarify - 
 I did not mention Semsphere for any marketing reasons as I am not 
 affiliated in any way with this company. I just mentioned it as an 
 example of another company that also has provided certification 
 possibilities.    (23JQ)
 ToddSchneider: Steve, I'm assuming a curriculum would be more 
 comprehensive and a certification would be a subset of it.    (23JR)
 ToddSchneider: The notion to be addressed is interoperability in the 
 broader sense.    (23JS)
 ArturoSanchez: Ontology creation and ontology use are tighly coupled ...    (23JT)
 PeterYim: do we *really* need "ontologists"? 
 ... is it a profession, or a role tagged onto some exisiting professionals 
 ... what is an Ontologists anyway? How many types of "ontologists" are there? 
 ... maybe what we need are knowledge-engineers-plus, 
      or software-engineers-plus, 
	  or systemn-architects-plus
     (where, "plus" meaning those people with some additional training)    (23JU)
 PeterYim: Marketing questions - 
 ** who needs "ontologists"? 
 ** how big is the "market" for (various types of) ontologists? ... now, and in 1,3,5 years? 
 ** how are we expecting "ontologists" to be showing up as? 
 *** bring them in-house, as part of the software team? 
 *** go to a university, and support their professors and research students to get the work done? 
 *** hire an independent consultant? 
 *** go to an established "professional services" firm that has the expertise to offer? 
 ** assuming you were the hiring manager ... how much are you willing to pay for the expertise?    (23JV)
 DougHolmes: So, in what significant way is an "ontologist" different 
 from a knowledge engineer? There are courses of instruction that exist 
 in that area that might be leveraged...    (23JW)
 anonymous morphed into PavithraKenjige    (23JX)
 PeterYim: ArturoSanchez expressed interest to support in an 
 environmental scan on the issue at hand    (23JY)
 PeterYim: we can do an online survey (like we did in OntologySummit2007) 
 ... join AntonyGalton et al. in their IAOA effort?    (23JZ)
 ToddSchneider: Ontology development paradigms are more aligned with 
 systems engineering.    (23K0)
 BettinaSchimanski: I agree that designing and building ontologies does 
 not solely rely on Computer Scientists. They are the ones to implement 
 them. The content, however, must come from SMEs, and not just from 
 biologists as was just mentioned.    (23K1)
 PeterYim: I got a proposal (from someone who has been watching how we 
 were doing the past summits) suggesting that we should have "proposals" 
 prepared as part of the summit deliverables ... that would take us one 
 more step, beyond just releasing a communique.    (23K2)
 RexBrooks: What kind of proposal did this person mean, Peter?    (23K3)
 PeterYim: @Rex - that person was referring to grant proposals    (23K4)
 RexBrooks: Thanks for the clarification. Would this be proposals in 
 response to RFPs, or unsolicited in terms of target area?    (23K5)
 AmandaVizedom: @Peter: I like the proposal to prepare proposals very 
 much. I'd like to suggest that this, too, be modular in that we will 
 have an easier time working through proposals if those focusing on 
 overall architecture are separate from those focusing on content 
 segments, audience, requirements, etc.    (23K6)
 ToddSchneider: Ontology Works and Top Quadrant already provide training 
 services, among others. Could we get them to cooperate?    (23K7)
 SteveRay: @Todd: I was just talking to Ralph Hodgson of TopQuadrant 
 about this yesterday, and he did have some suggestions, so I'd say yes, 
 I believe they would participate.    (23K8)
 FrankChum: Semantic Arts also provide a 5-day ontology design training 
 course    (23K9)
 BettinaSchimanski: @Todd: I know Top Quadrant has been very open with 
 training at conferences so I would think, if invited, they might be 
 interested. I am unfamiliar with Ontology Works.    (23KA)
 AmandaVizedom: If we want to produce a truly usable and meaningful 
 certification, we need to make sure we are addressing, in both content 
 and presentation, the broad range of very different practices that come 
 under the heading of Ontology.    (23KB)
 BettinaSchimanski: @Frank: I am also aware of this Semantic Arts course 
 and have good things to say about it.    (23KC)
 FrankChum: @Bettina: The course has been taught by DaveMcComb and his 
 staff. I took it a few years ago. It was really good.    (23KD)
 AmandaVizedom: ... I don't mean the bad stuff, obviously. I do mean that 
 we need to consider that some ontologists are focused on creating a 
 single-viewed best possible model of some part of the world, in 
 abstraction from any particular user community or context. Some are 
 explicitly focused on creating a model of the world as conceptualized by 
 members of some community of practice. Some work within a domain and 
 some work across domains.    (23KE)
 FrankChum: We may need to certify the trainers first!    (23KF)
 ArturoSanchez: yes    (23KG)
 AmandaVizedom: It is absolutely critical that new ontologists have some 
 understanding of what practices they are part of, and be able to distill and 
 understand methodological guidances in that context.    (23KH)
 ArturoSanchez: So, that is another thread of discussion. What does ONTOLOG think    (23KI)
 ArturoSanchez: a good certificate program should look like ...    (23KJ)
 ArturoSanchez: Wow, good ear!    (23KK)
 LeoObrst: I was going to mention the IAOA too, as a potential certifier 
 of the certification programs, to provide trustworthiness.    (23KL)
 SteveRay: @Leo - that might be a better legal entity to do the 
 certification of the certifiers than Ontolog.    (23KM)
 ArturoSanchez: Legal issues aside, ONTOLOG--as part of this upcoming summit--    (23KN)
 FrankChum: There is a class of people out there building database/xml 
 schemas and convert them into ontologies and then call themselves 
 ontologists    (23KO)
 BettinaSchimanski: @Frank: That is another possibility for a module 
 topic. I do not have a background with database work but often when I 
 work with others who have, they want to know what benefits ontologies 
 offer that databases cannot provide. It is not often a straightforward 
 discussion.    (23KP)
 FrankChum: @Bettina: Yep. Explaining ontology concept to database people 
 can turn into lengthy discussions.    (23KQ)
 BettinaSchimanski: Great, I'm glad to hear Deb is already aware of the 
 summit and will be a part of it. I'm sure therefore that Jim knows about 
 it as well. I also agree that more than a Computer Science presence 
 needs to be there. Any suggestions?    (23KR)
 DougHolmes: There is a joint initiative between MIT and the University 
 of Southampton in England called The Web Science Research Initiative 
 (WSRI) that probably ought to be part of this summit...    (23KS)
 ArturoSanchez: propose a formal curriculum that would define what an 
 ontologist is ...    (23KT)
 BettinaSchimanski: @Doug: On that same note, Rensselaer Polytechnic 
 Institute has two key Semantic Technologists (JimHendler and DebMcGuinness) 
 who have developed a curriculum that should perhaps also be 
 considered for inclusion in ths summit.    (23KU)
 DougHolmes: @Bettina I think it be very good to have Jim as part of this Summit    (23KV)
 PeterYim: @Bettina - I did speak to DebMcGuinness last week, and has 
 her support for this upcoming Summit    (23KW)
 ArturoSanchez: @Bettina: DeborahMcGuinness is an habitue of the summit 
 ... it would be great to have JamesHendler as well ...    (23KX)
 FrankChum: @Bettina: Yes, but both of them are computer scientist and 
 sometimes they are not the ideal people to do ontology modeling.    (23KY)
 ArturoSanchez: @FrankChum: "sometimes they are not the ideal people to 
 do ontology modeling." **this puzzles me ... can you elaborate?    (23KZ)
 AmandaVizedom: @Barry - Suggestion: replace current module 13 (UCore) with a 
 module that surveys the landscape of existing, in-use ontologies: where 
 they come from, what there characteristics (logically, in use, etc.) 
 are, what they can and should be used for, how to find and assess more.    (23L0)
 PavithraKenjige: Steve : I beleive to build Ontology one needs to 
 understand, logic of relationships of things, how they can be described 
 ( properties) in ones domain. I am not sure where exactly the phsycology 
 fits in! However, people with phycology communicate with people well, 
 not necessarily things..    (23L1)
 DougHolmes: Thanks Ken; I have a very hard time distinguishing what we 
 seem to be talking about from knowledge engineering...    (23L2)
 BettinaSchimanski: When I (a Computer Scientist) have designed 
 ontologies, I have often partnered with a Technical Librarian. That is 
 what made it successful in my opinion.    (23L3)
 LeoObrst: I periodically teach a series of 3 courses through our MITRE 
 Institute, each 8 hrs long: 1) Introduction to semantics, ontologies, 
 knowledge representation, and Semantic Web technologies; 2) a more 
 foundational course, Introduction to Logic and Logic Programming (this 
 really should be taught first, in my opinion); and 3) an advanced course 
 on Ontology Engineering and Applications of Ontologies. These are 
 currently scheduled independently, but I am considering teaching them in 
 sequence in one week. I've found these are too short at 8 hrs each, and 
 yet that is all people can allocate time for, at least here, i.e., 
 maximally 24 hrs over 3 days.    (23L4)
 AmandaVizedom: Indeed, RPI is another frequent producer of nascent 
 ontologists, as is UMD. RPI seems to be coming out of CS. There are many 
 strong ontologists working today who came originally from Philosophy, 
 Linguistics, Information Sciences, and so forth. To be usable by folks 
 who want to hire ontologists, the certificate may incorporate elements 
 that originated in all of these and more, but the focus must be not on 
 theoretical background for its own sake, but on the actual knowledge and 
 skill needed to do good work as a working ontologist.    (23L5)
 PeterYim: @Amanda - I talked to TimFinin (UMD) at ISWC last week, and he 
 is very supportive too!    (23L6)
 DougHolmes: I personally think that even a small step away from computer 
 science leads immediately and inevitably to philosophy and there is no 
 bottom to that swamp...    (23L7)
 FrankChum: @Auturo: As Bettina mentioned, with Librarian, also social 
 scientist, domain knowledge engineers.    (23L8)
 BettinaSchimanski: Maybe it helps too that my background is in 
 Artificial Intelligence / Cognitive Science.    (23L9)
 BettinaSchimanski: I think those fields might need to be included as 
 well.    (23LA)
 FrankChum: Philosopher too.    (23LB)
 ArturoSanchez: @FrankChum: strongly agree ... the ontology is the 
 collaborative product of modelers and--so-called--domain experts ...    (23LC)
 AmandaVizedom: @Doug: That's only true of bad philosophy. (half-joking, 
 bc I'm not sure exactly what you mean, but serious in saying that while 
 some critical elements come from philosophy, including conceptual 
 analysis, applied ontology (as opposed to the philosophical subfield of 
 ontology) is distinct from that ancestral home in part because it does 
 *not* include unconstrained swamp-diving, except when done badly.    (23LD)
 DougHolmes: @Amanda no slight intended to philosophers or Philosophy; it 
 just takes a very long time to resolve anything in that realm    (23LE)
 BettinaSchimanski: @All: I enjoyed this discussion and look forward to 
 further ones. Unfortunately I need to leave now for another meeting. 
 Have a good day!    (23LF)
 SteveRay: @Bettina - thanks for your participation.    (23LG)
 MikeBennett: There are also a bunch of people at Brunel who are working 
 in the ontology area. Might be worth talking to them?    (23LH)
 PeterYim: @MikeBennett and all - can you, or anyone here, identify who 
 these people are ... and/or talk to them on behalf of this community    (23LI)
 MikeBennett: @Peter: will do. The person to talk to at Brunel is Sergio 
 de Cesare, I'll drop him a mail and copy you.    (23LJ)
 PeterYim: @MikeBennett - great! thanks    (23LK)
 JeffAbbott: Peter and group, I just wanted to put down my input in 
 text, in case I don't get may audio working. We come from a Human 
 Systems Integration (HSI)perspective. We have the first HSI 
 certification program in the USA online at UCSD in San Diego, that is 
 supported by UCSD and SPAWAR. We always do an Analysis of Alternative 
 (AOA), see what's out there before we proceed as part of our process. We 
 are currently developing a HSI for the System Engineer course. Peter, I 
 just got back from the W3C and attended the HCLS Healthcare group (where 
 I also talked with Mark Musen) and the Healthcare group certainly uses 
 ontologies and deals with the integration of ontologies, which could be 
 a course by itself.    (23LL)
 JeffAbbott: Yes, System Engineering. We are doing the HSI to SE 
 (because it's in one of our domains) and would like to do Ontology to 
 SE.    (23LM)
 PavithraKenjige: Jeff, I agree with that. I learnt it when I was 
 studying software systems engineering..    (23LN)
 BettinaSchimanski: @Steve and Barry - thank you for your presentations 
 and proposals.    (23LO)
 http://videolectures.net/Top/Computer_Science/Semantic_Web/Ontologies/    (23LP)
 JeffAbbott: Pavithra and group, you have to develop curriculum to the 
 audience and it's logic and level of ability and need.    (23LQ)
 LeoObrst: @Todd: I taught an elective course on my topic 1 to UVA's 
 Accelerated Masters program in Systems Engineering.    (23LR)
 PeterYim: @Antony and All - please document the salient points you just 
 talked about on this chat board, if you please (that will help 
 tremendously when I start boiling the input down to a work plan, and to 
 manage follow-up activities)    (23LS)
 AntonyGalton: Just to put on written record what I was saying. The IAOA 
 include educational matters as an important part of its activities. One 
 thing we want to do is to compile a database of what is already out 
 there, i.e., existing courses or modules with ontological content, much 
 along the lines of what Arturo suggested, and I have already started 
 work on this - but so far I mainly only have material from the UK. 
 Another idea is to create a library of resources that teachers can draw 
 on when designing courses, e.g., research papers, tutorial material, 
 example ontologies in various formats, editing tools, etc. A third idea 
 is to put together a set of recommendations for a set of "standard" 
 curricula. This could relate to the idea that was mentioned about IAOA 
 being a possible certification or accreditation body for ontological 
 courses. Finally, I drew attention to the workshop we are planning to 
 hold at FOIS 2010 on ontology education - we will need to look at how we 
 can coordinate this with the activities of this summit. I'll be 
 distributing a call for contributions for this workshop soon.    (23LT)
 FrankChum: @Doug: BarrySmith was (or still is) a philosopher'    (23LU)
 JeffAbbott: You need a ontology basis to go between domains and get a 
 System of Systems view.    (23LV)
 MikeBennett: @Doug: I disagree profoundly. Ontology should be 
 multi-disciplinary (think santa Fe type of approach). It has 
 philosopical underpinnings if it's done right. IT/comp sci does not, if 
 it's done wrong    (23LW)
 ArturoSanchez: @AntonyGalton: great ideas! I'll look into the FOIS 
 workshop you mentioned ...    (23LX)
 AmandaVizedom: @Arturo, @Frank: Yes, this is a critical point of 
 difference between contemporary applied ontologists due and both some 
 theoretical ontology (in philosophy) and some historical projects: By 
 far the majority of projects are collaborative in many ways, including 
 between ontological specialists and subject matter experts. Many people 
 who have theoretical training turn out to be unable to do applied 
 ontology in such contexts. Also, a dismaying number of both 
 supposedly-trained ontologists and customers are unaware of the 
 substantial research that has taken place in the last 20 years -- 
 especially the last 10 -- around these collaborations and the 
 consequences of moving the input/formalization closer to, or further 
 away from, the SMEs.    (23LY)
 PeterYim: ToddSchneider suggested that BarrySmith might come up with an 
 ontology on the domain of "education and training of ontologists"    (23LZ)
 ToddSchneider: So Barry, are you suggesting a department of ontology 
 would focus on research in the domain of ontology?    (23M0)
 DougHolmes: @Mike I think that a multi-disciplinary perspective is good 
 - probably essential, but I also think there is an essential engineering 
 perspective that has to be grounded in a particular product. That is, as 
 far as I can see, a computer science product...    (23M1)
 MikeBennett: @Doug, it is certainly engineering and should be grounded 
 in well established engineering methodology. This is what I don't tend 
 to see when IT folks who call themselves engineers, get hold of a new 
 toy or a new language to learn. Results can be variable!    (23M2)
 AmandaVizedom: @Doug: None taken! Just piping up because sometimes 
 people focus on the more abstracted or least empirically connected 
 schools, within certain subareas of philosophy, thinking that's all 
 there is. There are, however, a substantial number of us out here with 
 Ph.D.s in philosophy *and* many years of experience as working, applied 
 ontologists in non-academic environments. We do, however, tend to come 
 from more pragmatic schools of thought, and often from different 
 sub-areas within philosophy.    (23M3)
 DougHolmes: @Mike can't argue with that    (23M4)
 MikeBennett: @Doug and Amanda, I think we have a core module here    (23M5)
 FrankChum: @Amanda: Philosophers can be working ontologists too.    (23M6)
 DougHolmes: @Frank as long as its ontology with a "small o"    (23M7)
 AmandaVizedom: @Doug, @ Mike, and others: I agree that the engineering 
 aspect is critical. In fact, I might argue that the certificate client 
 organizations want is very importantly an *applied* ontology 
 certificate. I have seen too many people hire folks with theoretical 
 training only, and no engineering understanding or intuitions. This 
 causes project failure *and* gives the field a bad reputation.    (23M8)
 MikeBennett: @Amanda agree wholeheartdly. Maybe we should be talking to 
 engineering insstitutions    (23M9)
 DougHolmes: IEEE    (23MA)
 ArturoSanchez: @MichaelGruninger: good summary ... which sums up the 
 threads that can be defined for the summit ...    (23MB)
 PeterYim: we need "champions!"    (23MC)
 ArturoSanchez: "we don't need another hero" "Tina Turner"    (23MD)
 RexBrooks: I didn't want to inject a tangent, but I wish I had some 
 ontology students to help with doing ontologies for use in IT standards.    (23ME)
 JeffAbbott: Peter, I will send you my information and will be in 
 contact. thx    (23MF)
 PeterYim: @Jeff - yes ... thanks    (23MG)
 ArturoSanchez: Thanks y'all Nice weather here in NE Florida    (23MH)
 PeterYim: Great session ... I'll try to get the chat-transcript and 
 audio recording posted (onto the session page) within the next working 
 day ... please check back!    (23MI)
 TerryLongstreth: @Peter: Could you put together a list of things people 
 could help on?    (23MJ)
 PeterYim: @Terry ... I guess that would be what the "organizing 
 committee" will need to get to next - before the OntologySummit2010 
 Launch Event on 10-Dec-2009    (23MK)
 LeoObrst: I agree with Fabian, that we need to distinguish between 
 university (Masters level) curricula, and a professional curricula. I 
 personally think that they are the same. I would advocate a commmon 
 curriculum, which could be taught in 3 ways: 1)a university academic MS 
 degree in ontology engineering, which could be prelude to a PhD program; 
 2) a university terminal professional MS degree in ontology engineering; 
 3) a non-university professional accreditation course. In all cases, 
 there should be recognition via a certification: the first 2 via a 
 university degree, the 3rd via the course provider backed by 
 accreditation itself via a professional organization such as the 
 International Association for Ontology and its Applications.    (23ML)
 PeterYim: session adjourned 12:03pm PST    (23MM)
 PeterYim: Bye everyone ... closing chat session now! =ppy    (23MN)
 - end of in-session chat-transcript -    (23MO)

Audio Recording of this Session    (23HS)

For the record ...    (23I2)

How To Join (while the session is in progress)    (23I3)