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Re: [ontac-forum] Rule Interchange Format group

To: ONTAC-WG General Discussion <ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Chris Menzel <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 2005 21:21:27 -0600
Message-id: <20051217032127.GR57447@xxxxxxxx>
On Fri, Dec 16, 2005 at 09:30:34PM -0500, Patrick Durusau wrote:
> Snipping past most of your post to reach your comments on Rule 
> Interchange Format group:
> <snip>
> >You have provided no rigorous demonstration of the limitations, so
> >what you are saying is idle chatter until you provide one.  And as
> >I've already noted, W3C itself recognizes the expressive limitations
> >of OWL.  This has led to the development of RuleML and SWRL, and is
> >also a driver behind the newly formed Rule Interchange Format group
> >(http://www.w3.org/2005/rules).
> >
> What I find curious about the Rule Interchange Format activity at the 
> W3C is that the posted use cases look like topic map use cases, for 
> which there already exists an ISO standard, ISO 13250. While the charter 
> is obviously a summary document, one would expect acknowledgement of 
> prior work in an area with some explanation of why it was unsuitable 
> before undertaking a duplication of prior work.    (01)

Well, for one thing, this is a W3C effort and so the product is being
designed to work well out of the box with OWL.  Granted, however that is
more a matter of form than substance.  I think the major issue here is
that the framework for the RIF will in the long run (maybe the short
run) have to possess (or be extensible so as to possess) the power of
full first-order logic (plus some set theory, no doubt) -- see Section 3
of the charter.  I am no expert on Topic Maps, but I don't believe they
have that sort of expressive power.  Their semantical framework (as seen
in Barta's Tau model, for example) is also quite different from that of
standard first-order logic (not bad, just different ;-), and its
connection to FOL is unclear -- I've seen assertions to the effect that
Topic Maps are similar in expressive power to description logics, which
means its expressiveness does not exceed that of OWL DL, and hence that
they are expressively quite weak, and certainly underpowered for a RIF.
Again, that is in no wise a criticism.  Different tools are suitable for
different jobs.  This one probably isn't for Topic Maps.  Point taken,
though, that this deserves discussion.    (02)

> My impression from reading the charter document is that the results of 
> the activity have to be backwards compatible with RDF/OWL.    (03)

Surely not in the sense that anything written in the rule language can
be expressed in RDF/OWL.  One of the motivations is to provide a
framework for having expressive power beyond OWL when you need it.    (04)

Chris Menzel    (05)

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