[Top] [All Lists]

[ontac-forum] Re: Future directions for ontologies and terminologies

To: ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: David Eddy <deddy@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 23:35:38 -0500
Message-id: <r02010500-1043-E4C8AFA279B611DAB60A000A95AEB2DA@[]>
John Sowa -    (01)

BEFORE reading the 5 additional waiting digests in my in-box, I'm going
to come out of lurk mode & throw my two cents on the table--at the
extremem opposite end of the table from John Sowa I think--as to what I
think could be a valuable contribution from this group...    (02)

> CC> A valuable task for this group would be to collect and
>  > validate user driven requirements as well as the scenario
>  > of applying an upper ontology to those solutions.  This
>  > will help nail down the set of problems we are addressing
>    (03)

Maybe the phrase "rip & replace is NOT an option..." is old news, but
the first time I heard it at Mitre gig in McLean in September 2004
<http://www.topquadrant.com/conferences/sept8_2004/stgov04.htm> from
Mike Daconta, it really grabbed my attention.    (04)

For a variety of reasons I'll claim that I look at the world thru the
very foggy & scratched glasses--very much the opposite of "rose
colored"--of a maintenance programmer.  Pick your legacy language...
COBOL, Fortran, PL/S, Algol, Java, Ruby, PHP,...    (05)

I've had a wonderful time in my career BUILDING systems... guess what?
The green fields are all built up now.  While it may be feasible to put
$13 billion into the rats hole of Boston's "Big Dig" (thank you very
much taxpayers of America), such massive reconstruction efforts are NOT
likely to happen to the software infrastructure we've built over the
past 50+ years.    (06)

The challenge going forward is getting those crusty old legacy
systems--that WORK--to talk with other systems.    (07)

And that's where taxonomy, ontology & semantics comes in... not 1 in
100,000 of the systems that our daily lives depend on has been either
conceived, designed, built, and certainly not maintained with a
nanosecond of thought towards the organizational principles in formal
ontologies.    (08)

Said another way... if you can distill ANY semantics from MSTR-MENSA-FL
with RDF, predicate calculus, KIF, or any other formal logic process,
I'm all ears.    (09)

I recently discovered this interesting article by Dr George (Mr WordNet)
<http://www.kurzweilai.net/meme/frame.html?main=/articles/art0186.html>    (010)

... take a simple 13 word sentence & it provides some 3.6 Trillion
combinations.  As he points out... no wonder "machine translation" has
had such a hard time living up to it's dreams.    (011)

And as far as I can tell the WordNet effort primarily only deals in real
words.    (012)

News flash... inside software applications "real words" are few & far
between.    (013)

What I want out of this ontological discourse is something that helps
systems analysts & programmers to more quickly UNDERSTAND what the
systems under their care are actually talking about.    (014)

Bluntly... I've heard this fundamental challenge/conundrum throw up in
the SOA (service oriented architecture) commercial space...     (015)

The business problem: I'm in an insurance company that has several
thousand applications (a universe of undefined extent comprised of
custom built applications, heavily customized packages & box-stock
packages...)    (016)

[FYI... there was a recent blurb in WashingtonTechnology...    (017)

"EA helps mind the money
By Drew Robb
11/07/05; Vol. 20, No. 22 Intelligence is an imperfect science. Just ask
CIA or the 9/11 Commission. Or EDS Corp., the contractor tasked with
wrangling thousands of legacy systems into the Navy-Marine Corps
Intranet. When EDS started the job, the Navy thought it had about 5,000
applications to integrate. EDS found more than 100,000."]    (018)

If I'm in Silo A & know what "policy number" represents, how do I know
that over in Silo B, I need to be looking for "contract ID"?    (019)

[This is an extremely simplified example... this basic problem caught my
attention 25 years ago at an insurance company that had discovered some
70 names for the core "policy number" concept... I doubt if that number
has gotten smaller in the past 25 years.]    (020)

Sorry to be so long winded... but I vote with Denise Bedford...
"metadata is NOT hierarchical."  And the corollary... software systems
are NOT inherently organized.    (021)

How will ontologies help with legacy systems maintenance?    (022)

_____________________    (023)

- David Eddy
Babson Park, MA
781-455-0949    (024)

Message Archives: http://colab.cim3.net/forum/ontac-forum/
To Post: mailto:ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shared Files: http://colab.cim3.net/file/work/SICoP/ontac/
Community Wiki: 
http://colab.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?SICoP/OntologyTaxonomyCoordinatingWG    (025)
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>