Ralph, I am appreciative that
you made a communication into this discussion. (see
My position is that a National
Project to establish the knowledge sciences would allow all who might
lead us into something more functional and useful, to lead. My position is that the nation suffers because of
the control of the standard’s process narrow business interests and
because of the legacy where many of the academic issues are confused. John Sowa’s position is similar in many respects,
as is yours, Ralph. We all make compromises
that we would rather not. You once told me that
you would have preferred to work with Topic Maps but that you had to
work with RDF in order to get the work with the web services working
Certainly Top Quadrant would be one
of the leaders. You and your group has been an
excellent leader even in the less than optimal development environment
that we have been dealing with for over a decade.
Why not work to change the
conditions under which we work? Is this
possible, and still bring forward those systems that are deployed or
which are close to being deployed. Is there an
agreement that things could be much better in terms of developing the
best systems for e-government.
The knowledge sharing foundation concept would provide a
proving ground for concepts, and would establish transparency on what
does not work, and what has not been able to demonstrate results that
are consistent with expectations. I originally
proposed a Manhattan Type Project related to knowledge management and
knowledge representation in 1993.
Four additional comments about
your thoughtful communication:
One: Regarding our freedom and the
concept of a Democracy
communication  contained the following:
statement “An ontology can be
merely a set of well defined concepts, without logic. ”
may be a true statement, but it is irrelevant
the other hand -- which is the hand holding the money that funds
projects like ONTAC -- formal ontology can be applied to the task of
*legislating* how various computer programs are specified to handle the
much narrower, much more specialized, and very much more precise
categories that are implemented in computer systems that are required
The rest of John’s communication
 demonstrates good synthesis over what is possible
given the situation with funding and with the types of very poor peer
review that has been demonstrated over the past decade.
( see case study)
By poor peer review, I specifically
mean specific individuals who have disallowed diversity, taken a narrow
viewpoint, assumed an king like role of authority (example: Hendler at
Univ of MD), and (also specifically) slowed down the progress on Topic
Map type systems. (Again for those who do not
follow this history between the RDF/Tim Berners-Lee’s Layer cake model
verses a Topic Map model; the difference has to do with the role of
human’s in making interpretations.)
My response  is out of great personal frustration, awareness of
many others who are in the same state as I am in.
Two: On the modified Tim Berners-Lee’s Layer Cake Model of
the Semantic Web architecture
In your note you make reference
to a recent TBL’s talk
Tim Berners-Lee's talk at
And I find something that is
barely comprehensible. There is almost no
organization to what I find at this URL. What
is there can be understood only if you are part of an in-crowd, in my
opinion. And, there is no mention of Topic Maps
or any other standard other than the one his group (the W3C) is pushing. There is no description of problems that are faced
by the community that is working on the new technologies.
Ralph, you mentioned that the layer
cake was modified. How? I
do not see any changes to this misfortunate diagram (criticized by John
Sowa on many occasions).
Three: On reasoning engines
One of the
most forward-looking aspects of our current work is in pluggable
architecture for reasoning engines. The goal is to be able to use
different types of reasoning over a given knowledgebase combining, for
example, probabilistic (Bayesian) reasoning with rule-based reasoning.
this morning from a colleague: “Similar situation here.
We are all in the same boat. There are
many signs that the tyranny is beginning to end, despite lots of
Given that this is an area that
I feel that the W3C makes profound mistakes in, and the Topic Maps
conventions do not, I would like to know why you feel that there is
Four: On my position
Many people know me, and my
positions. In the meeting at GSA, and other
places, we have seen the continual influence and dominate control by
individuals who admit that their interests are in making money through
consulting. We have seen the language at the
GSA meetings become about “lines of business” as opposed to “processes”.
This “lines of business” language
occurs in a larger context, as John pointed on in private
correspondence. This context is the failures of
our government to stop War Profiteering.
In Virginia, my state issued
drivers license has my identification as a “customer” rather than as a
“citizen”. For me this simple use of language
tells it all.