after having read this entire exhaustive (and exhausting) thread I am not sure
about what we REALLY want to achieve. This uncertainty is mainly in the question
whether you want to focus on natural language (in particular English) or also on
lifecycle information representation, as we do. And will the focus be mainly on
activity models, like John seems to address?
starting a new undertaking like this it is a good practice in US businesses (at
least the ones I worked in) to formulate a Vision Statement. This is a clear
description of future scenario that will be positively influenced by our efforts
(try Google: define: vision statement
suggest that we come up with such a Vision Statement because I miss that in the
charter of ONTAC-WG (to me that is more of what we call a Mission
ISO 15926 specialist
On Behalf Of Gary Berg-Cross
Sent: Sunday, January 15, 2006
RE: framework approaches designed to support forinteroperable
discussion launched by "The world may fundamentally be
inexplicable" addresses some of the really underlying issues of
compatibility in support of
"interoperability" of applications that use "knowledge".
We have some of the grandfathers
of the ontological field participating in the discussion
and I am reminded of a saying that one grandparent alone
will spoil a grandchild
but two (or more) of them
will raise a healthy child because they will each check
that the others
asy tendencies that
might spoil the child. So I think a progressively
exposure of issues in good. Still I'm eager to move
Here is one question and one idea
I had while reading the exchange leading to
and in from John Sowa's framework discusion, perhaps as a way to
The question is, in the 4 part
approach to a framework item, 4 jumps out at me as something that needs
more discussion. What are the methodologies
for organizing the hubs and modules, relating them to one
The idea I
had comes from John's suggestion that we consider the lesson from Fred Brooks'
Mythical Man Month
documentation of mistakes in the original design
-- many of which could have been avoided with
a few extra
research and analysge is. I think that ontological methods as human
enterprises share problems with its sister efforts of knowledge
and system/SW engineering. As fallible knowers and groups of knowlers we
don't have/document/articulate/model the full
"requirements" up front to begin our task. Brooks pointed out some
have been discovered to head off problems down the
What can we
do in this regard? Perhaps it is to use the idea of
these critical issues to mitigate risk.
prototype we aren't going down a long road but have
issues we want to investigate with a testable product
Prototypes can be useful in refining "requirements" and may
significantly enhance our understanding of these issues.
An ontological prototype could be used,
for example, to validate portions
of the ontological "architecture" ftom top core through hubs
and super-hub to modules, which I loosely think of as yet another
extension of John's Conceptual
: Sat, 14 Jan 2006 11:50:49 -0500
From: "John F. Sowa"
Subject: Re: [ontac-forum] Re: The world may
There is no way to design an ontology for
one field, say
bioinformatics, that does not involve
with *every* other field of endeavor known to
BS> Is this work designed to support *all* possible
> (Pat?) Is it designed to support the work of, say,
Let's start with medicine. That
involves everything that
physicians of every specialty do, ranging from
practitioners, to surgery, to research, and all the
for every organ, body part, and disease.
That leads us to biology, with
emphasis on humans, but
also with research on primates, which are cheaper
humans, but still expensive to maintain. Rats and mice
much cheaper mammals, but some of the research can be
performed on even
cheaper animals, such as fruit flies,
the ever-popular C. Elegans, and even
lowly yeast cells.
The pathogens lead us to bacteria, viruses,
insects, and a wide range of worms and worm-like
Then the methods for treating them include almost
branch of chemistry for the development of pharmaceuticals.
there are also many kinds of mechanical, electrical,
medical appliances that involve many
more branches of physics and
A major use for the ontology is to systematize
records from physicians and hospitals around the world.
introduces IT issues of databases, networks, and
security concerns about
sensitive information. The same
computers and databases that hold
patient records also
process the patients' billing and scheduling,
with links to all the insurance plans, HMOs, Medicare,
their payment allowances for each procedure.
As for rocket science,
don't forget that NASA has to deal
with extreme conditions for the
astronauts' life support.
The requirements for supporting the astronauts
equipment impose critical constraints on the size,
structure, and maneuverability of the space
> The issue is, given your principles, whether
> could possibly be left in the central hub. It seems
I admit that we're getting close to the starting point of
axioms, but the principle of distinguishing "black box"
and "white box"
components can support some separability.
If we organize the ontology in
hubs, we should consider
clusters of hubs -- say superhubs -- for
> ONTAC-WG has, I think, no specialists in
> rocket science, magnetic resonance imaging
(etc.) in its
> target audience. Let us therefore simply forget
> mechanics, etc., and concentrate on those domains
> (all of us, I take it) are specialists in...
can be a specialist in every possible area, but we must
not only consider
today's specialties, but also specialties
that may arise in the next 20 to
40 years. Just look at the
new developments in the past 10 years as a
result of research
on DNA and the human genome project. We can be
the developments in the next 10 to 20 years will be just
revolutionary, if not more so.
I strongly urge anyone who hasn't
read Fred Brooks' _Mythical
Man Month_ to read Brooks' accounts of how
mistakes in the
original design for OS/360 -- many of which could have
avoided with a few extra months of research and analysis --
the software to be delayed by years and resulted in
problems that plagued
IBM, their customers, and even their
competitors for many
> Let's leave the relativity theorists, etc., to
> things, and then forget about them.
have to think about it, since we can use a GPS device
as a "black box" --
but we have to support interoperability
with the suppliers who make those
boxes, which they consider
"white boxes". So our ontologies will have
some overlap, not
only on the boxes themselves, but on the methods for
as well as ordering, shipping, billing, accounts receivable,
> There are always other things one can do in life. But
> one does not take this fact as an argument that one
> nothing at all.
Of course not. Other
people will do all these things that we
don't want to be bothered
with. All we have to do is to ensure
that our ontologies will
interoperate smoothly with their
ontologies. That implies we must
have a framework that can
accommodate *every* ontology and be able to
> No one is allowed to talk about bones, or
cities, until someone
> else has worked out the ontology of
quantum mechanics! All the
> hubs must be built before any single
one of them can be built!
No. Our job is to design the
framework. The task of filling
the framework with content will be
done by the specialists
in every discipline.
the mid-world phenomena and speech patterns while
those constraints should not be difficult:
BS> Good. So let's
concentrate on those and forget the rest,
> initially, can't
A starting point is good. But we should also survey the
so that we know where we're going.
the Cyc ontology and Whitehead's ontology accommodate
view of dogs as processes without requiring anyone to modify
speech patterns or feeding habits when playing with their pets.
I fail to see the relevance of this. The argument seems to be
that, because four-dimensionalists can talk to the rest of us in
understandable ways, it follows that we should all of us change
our view of reality to be consistent with
No. It merely means that we must accommodate
views of reality within the framework.
the <<QM is not consistent with General Relativity>>
> this means, a priori, that the core is
Not necessarily. They both agree that a 3-dimensional
space and a
one-dimensional time exist. Locally, they are flat, but
they may be curved. They also agree that there are processes
fairly stable things that may be long-lived.
That is sufficient
to begin a fairly detailed taxonomy that is
consistent with Newtonian,
Einsteinian, and quantum mechanical
views, and it would probably be
consistent with any unified merger.
The core can include types for Time,
Space, Object, Process, etc.,
but it should be highly *underspecified* --
i.e., very few axioms.
For most ordinary discourse and data processing,
just get in the way. If you want to get a
at the pharmacy, you don't need Newton's F=ma or
and you don't need to worry about 3D or 4D
space-time. You might
call your pills "objects", but nobody except
call them continuants or
Summary: The primary task for ONTAC WG is to design a
for interoperable systems that may be specialized for
application domains. I would recommend the following
1. A core ontology that is mostly a neutral taxonomy
few detailed axioms, and those axioms
should not make any
commitments that would
conflict with any reasonable scientific
engineering principles or techniques.
2. Multiple hub
ontologies, which include more detailed taxonomies
for special domains together with prepackaged axioms for
common methods of talking and reasoning in
3. An open-ended number of problem-oriented
modules, some of which
may be bundled in the
packages that are used in one or more hubs,
any of which could be used independently in connection
the ontologies of any hub.
Methodologies for organizing the hubs and modules,
them to one another, registering them in
a metadata registry,
and providing tools for
assembling, verifying, and testing
With this approach, a hub could include as many predefined
prepackaged definitions and axioms as anyone working in any
application domain might desire. However, it would also
methods for relating hubs and modules and for sprouting
new hubs for new
application domains as they are needed.
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/