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[ontac-forum] GEM as General Ontology (orthogonal to all functional/doma

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From: "Roy Roebuck" <Roy.Roebuck@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2006 14:25:59 -0500
Message-id: <58F5E4953826B042BC074A9C41E996861A5691@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>



This is a later version of a portion of what was previously posted to Cory C’s semantic core group on Yahoo. 


By the way, I enjoyed the Ontology Summit Workshop yesterday, and find that the following GEM approach can probably be used to support item 8 of the Upper Ontology Summit Joint Communique (15 March, 2006) by providing a “principled means of articulating the relationships (including differences)” among the various upper ontologies presented at the summit and those to be introduced later.  As described in previous ONTAC forum threads, it is my perception that the ontology I’m describing below could serve as an orthogonal “backplane” or “common-ground” for the upper, middle, and lower/detail ontologies representing the various “world views” documented/architected as ontologies.  I know my “approach” is not “formal” enough for some in the Ontolog community, but it can be with a bit of work on the part of these communities.  I’m not trained to achieve the “formalism”, so any help is appreciated.  


Note that my approach is available under the “Creative Commons” ShareAlike, Attributed, NonCommercial License, as are some of the other “public ontologies” presented at the Summit, such as is, I believe, OpenCyc.  There is also a commercial version, also as is the case with Cyc.  My approach is currently licensed for share-alike, attributed, non-commercial use under the above Creative Commons License to the U.S. Federal Executive Branch as a result of using my approach in the previous Federal Continuity Communications Enterprise Architecture (CCEA) project.  My approach also provides what has been sought by the larger Federal EA community – an “operational enterprise architecture” with the capability of providing “virtual” or “composite” applications from our architecture/ontology/knowledge repository.






From my 30+ years experience as a manager and management analyst with government and then as a government contractor, I have discerned that everyone in and around an endeavor needs to be able to ask and answer a whole series of basic questions:  what, how, where, why, who, when, with what, how many, etc.  This “world model” was used to build up a collection of basic, and highly abstract, question and answer sets that eventually jelled into the following subject types, representing the basic categories of “subjects” of interest to managing any endeavor.


1.       Location subjects (i.e., where physically, conceptually, and virtually are parts relevant in the cause-effect (or sequence, value-chain, flow), categorization, containment, change, variance, equivalence, and descriptive relations to the endeavor)

2.       Organization subjects (i.e., who is responsible for the endeavor or parts within and around it)

3.       Organization unit subjects (i.e., who performs the work of the endeavor or parts within and around it)

4.       Function (i.e., what work is performed by the endeavor or parts within and around it)

5.       Process (i.e., the actions taken by an organization unit to perform some function within a flow (i.e., sequence, customer-value-chain) of functions intended to produce a specific resource as output, using specific resources as input, constrained by other resources, and enabled by others, as in the IDEF0 ICOM model)

6.       Resource (i.e., parts accounted for, i.e., controlled, by the endeavor)

7.       Requirement (i.e.,  the quantity, qualities, and schedule of input, constraint, and enabling resources required by the endeavor’s organization unit and parent organization at a location to perform a function’s process, to produce the endeavor’s functional output-resource on schedule, on budget, and to the specified quality)


All the above led me to develop the following endeavor management metaschema (with significantly more detail within the four enterprise subcategories below):


  1. Enterprise (i.e., a purposeful enterprise)
    1. Catalogs (of Types and Instances of world parts) (documented at OMG MDA Layer 2)

                                                               i.      Location

                                                             ii.      Organization

                                                            iii.      Organization Unit

                                                           iv.      Function (with a common strategic/operation/tactical management metaschema and methodology documented here at the OMG MDA Layer 1)

                                                             v.      Process

                                                           vi.      Resource

                                                          vii.      Requirement

    1. Relation Types categorizing all specific relations between all subjects-types and specific subjects (documented at the OMG MDA Layer 3)  

                                                               i.      Categorization

                                                             ii.      Containment

                                                            iii.      Sequence (with a 4d view of time/space flow represented here, and further elaborated the “flow roles” below)

                                                           iv.      Change

                                                             v.      Variance

                                                           vi.      Equivalence

                                                          vii.      Description

    1. Flow (Sequence) Roles

                                                               i.      Customer

                                                             ii.      Performer

                                                            iii.      Supplier

                                                           iv.      Authority

                                                             v.      Subordinate

                                                           vi.      Outsource

                                                          vii.      Public

    1. Rules (Axioms) (bi-directional relations implied) (Logic still under development)

                                                               i.      Location contains Organization

                                                             ii.      Organization forms Organization Unit

                                                            iii.      Organization Unit performs Function

                                                           iv.      Function applies Process

                                                             v.      Process Consumes Resources as Input

                                                           vi.      Process Produces Resources as Output

                                                          vii.      Process Is Constrained by Resources

                                                        viii.      Process Is Enabled by Resources

                                                           ix.      Resources Fulfill Requirements

                                                             x.      Requirements Are Endeavors

                                                           xi.      Mission Capabilities contain resources required on time, at quantity, with qualities, for processes, to support functions, which are assigned to organization units as functional missions, or are assumed/taken by organizations as enterprise missions, across some location/area


This then forms my idea of what is meant by a “semantic core”, or as I described it in the various ONTAC fora as a “general ontology” that describes how “the  world works”, and as I previously called it – a “general enterprise management (GEM) ontology” and a “GEM architecture”.  (I consider an “architecture”, which identifies the “parts of a thing and their relationships”, to be the information structure, or metaschema, of an ontolog,y which I consider to be a newer form of a process model.) 


I believe that this particular model of a “semantic core” will succeed in implementation and operation because it can be shown to encompass all other ontologies and architectures because it begins with the premise that there is only “one thing”, meaning there is no need for “integration” of this semantic core with others because it “includes” them (although their authors may not realize or accept this as the case).






CommIT Enterprises, Inc.

Enterprise Architecture for Enterprise Management, Security, and Knowledge

Roy Roebuck III
Senior Enterprise Architect

2231 Crystal Drive, Ste 501
Arlingon, VA



+1 (703)-598-2351
+1 (703) 486-5540
+1 (703) 486-5506


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