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Re: [ontac-forum] Our prayers have been answered.

To: ONTAC-WG General Discussion <ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Arun Majumdar <arun@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 03 Dec 2005 04:17:15 -0500
Message-id: <4391629B.9080904@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Hi,    (01)

My main concern is the buy-in from industry.  Mostly, they will 
determine what gets used.  There are any ISO standards that are rotting 
on standards shelves and never get used.  We want to ensure as wide a 
buy-in as possible by industry else we will fall into the same dark, 
bottomless abyss.    (02)

There is a good lesson from the history of Encyclopedia and Dictionary 
Research as well the failed attempts to legislate what is *correct* 
English, and, back 100 years ago, it was the *Queens* (or *Kings*) 
English.  Humorously (and I perhaps recall the exact wording of the 
quote incorrectly) Winston Churchill said: "The greatest divide between 
our two great nations is the English Language", after which, President 
Kennedy, presented Churchill with honorary American citizenship.    (03)

The progress in abstract, mathematical methods and in the fruitful 
breeding of disciplines like semiotics and mathematics may be useful in 
assessing Azamat's work as a *System* ... maybe he got some things right 
or maybe a lot of things wrong --- but how can we extract what is 
useful?  I find most ontologies inadequate to the immediate problems at 
hand --- there's always some concept or other that's not there or that 
you have to fit in somehow.  Given a selection of a few ontologies, by 
what objetive criteria, outside the realm of the human golden-standard, 
can we determine which ontology is best for the needs and which should 
be used as the ground reference?  Which would provide the most flexible 
and longest future growth path?    (04)

I like the end note Barry suggested in Monadic types and relations --- 
that I can see being quite universally applicable.    (05)

-Arun    (06)

Barry Smith wrote:    (07)

>Quoting "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>:
>>Barry, Rick, Gary, et al.,
>>I browsed through Azmat A's 1717-page tome,
>>(but I spared the trees by not printing it out):
>>    http://www.encyclopedic-intelligence.com/
>>And I agree with the implication of Barry's ironic
>>comment that our prayers have not been answered.
>>I also sympathize with Gary's point:
>>GBC> These types of encyclopedic ontology efforts
>> > that pop up suggest we need to be concerned about
>> > ontology consumer protection.  Perhaps, as develop
>> > better criteria to judge these candidates we can
>> > launch an effort, say at  NIST to develop some
>> > standards by which we judge these candidates.
>NCOR has an evaluation committee which is charged precisely with doing 
>that. See the NCOR wiki at http://ontologist.org. Also the NCBO 
>(http://ncbo.us) has a parallel effort for biomedical ontologies.
>>The system Matthew West has been proposing is one of
>>the few that has been tested on some large applications
>>but so far, people who have developed other ontologies
>>aren't showing any enthusiasm for adopting its upper
>>ontology in place of their own.
>>I would like to recall the issues I raised in my paper
>>on the Challenge of Knowledge Soup:
>>    http://www.jfsowa.com/pubs/challenge.pdf
>>After 21 years of effort by Cyc and other groups,
>>the claim that a large ontology is necessary or
>>sufficient for successful applications is very
>>much in doubt.
>>So we have to ask some serious questions:
>>  1. Aside from axioms, which could be added to
>>     Azmat's ontology if anyone wanted to do so,
>>     what features make any of the current proposals
>>     better or worse than Azmat's upper level plus
>>     some suitable axioms?
>The documentation of some of the alternatives DOES NOT USE CAPITAL 
>>  2. Is a one-size-fits-all upper ontology essential
>>     or even desirable to support interoperability?
>A small one is desirable (and I think unavoidable), capturing for 
>instance the distinction between monadic types and relations.
>>  3. If there is a need for a single upper ontology,
>>     by what criteria could we judge which, if any,
>>     of the current proposals are worthy candidates?
>This is one of the questions the NCOR evaluation committee will be 
>addressing. E.g. by comparing different ontologies in use, and 
>examining results. The idea is to do this scientifically, and by a 
>neutral body with no axe to grind. Hence I, for example, am not part of 
>these evaluation efforts.
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>    (08)

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