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RE: [ontac-forum] Re: Semantic Layers (Was Interpretation of RDFreificat

To: "'ONTAC-WG General Discussion'" <ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "'Harry Halpin'" <hhalpin@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: semantic-web@xxxxxx, psp@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "'Peter F. Patel-Schneider'" <pfps@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, 'Frank Manola' <fmanola@xxxxxxx>, 'Adrian Walker' <adrianw@xxxxxxxx>
From: "Cory Casanave" <cbc@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2006 12:38:32 -0500
Message-id: <004301c65420$c3d264f0$f0f5c246@cbcpc>
I'm sorry, but this is not valid and not helpful in trying to get industry
convergence.    (01)

As for "process" and design competition, it happened.  While there may be
issues with the W3C process, there was and is amply opportunity to submit
alternatives.  Certainly someone with your standing could have presented an
alternative when RDF & OWL were in draft status.  You choose not to (as far
as I know), perhaps to focus on the CL standards in ISO.  It is interesting
that W3C has so much better marketing/adoption than ISO, but it does.  The
RDF & OWL processes became stabilized in the 2002-2004 timeframe.    (02)

As for "intent", saying that the people who put effort into this had no
design intent is disingenuous.  I have spoken with some of them, as I am
sure you have. They had rational for the approach with some substantial
thoughts about what would make it ubiquitous.  You may disagree with the
intent or the approach, that is another matter.    (03)

Perhaps we can make progress on to how the industry can move forward.
SemWeb is bringing the world at large to this table.  A substantial question
has to be addressed - are we going to evolve the SemWeb "stack" or attempt a
competitive replacement?  If a competitive replacement, what is the
community that is going to champion such a replacement?    (04)

My HOPE is that we can evolve the SemWeb stack - for example, that we could
add n-ary relations to RDF and that we could support additional logical
systems, such as CL.  Unlike some I don't see RDF as a "language" like you
suggest, that anyone would use - it is infrastructure.  The ability to have
a web based infrastructure is very compelling.  The idea that such an
infrastructure could support multiple logical formalisms is probably
necessary.  The fact it isn't a "language" in the human/syntactic sense, is
acceptable.    (05)

Don't get me wrong - my initial reaction to RDF & OWL was not positive, for
many of the reasons you suggest - it could and should be MUCH MUCH better.
But, I don't find it useless, there are useful things you can do with it -
the question is how to manage the evolution or revolution.    (06)

If a real competitor to the SemWeb stack is being proposed, a community
making that proposition should be formed and active - I don't see it.
Instead I see random attacks on SemWeb with some very interesting ideas, but
without the foundation to compete.  The foundation is not just thought or
even an implementation, but all the factors that influence an industry
adoption.    (07)

For a particular community, that community has to figure out what its
baseline is - this community needs to make that decision.      (08)

-Cory Casanave    (09)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: ontac-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontac-forum-
> bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of John F. Sowa
> Sent: Wednesday, March 29, 2006 7:05 PM
> To: Harry Halpin
> Cc: semantic-web@xxxxxx; psp@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx; ONTAC-WG General Discussion;
> Frank Manola; Adrian Walker; Peter F. Patel-Schneider
> Subject: [ontac-forum] Re: Semantic Layers (Was Interpretation of
> RDFreification)
> Harry,
> For "pragmatics", read "purpose", "relevance", and "intent".
> I certainly admit that current methods of NLP don't do a
> good job of deriving that kind of information from ordinary
> language.  On the other hand, they don't do a good job of
> deriving the syntax and semantics either.
> But what I meant about RDF and OWL is that the original
> *humans* didn't have a clear idea of what, why, and how
> anybody was going to use that stuff.  There was no design
> competition or evaluation of alternatives.  They just froze
> the spec's at an alpha-level stage without building and
> testing any prototypes.
>  > But as far as pragmatics as a distinct subject matter and
>  > discipline goes, I would go as far to say that there aren't
>  > even any good second-rate theories, much less first-rate
>  > theories. And without an even informal theory, one can't
>  > formalize (or even vacuously formalize), much less standardize
>  > in the domain independent way needed by the SemWeb and other KR.
> True.  But there are humans who have good taste.  Steve Jobs,
> for example, outperformed IBM, Microsoft, and Xerox management
> in recognizing the potential of what became the Macintosh.
> And then he outperformed all the market studies by Sony in
> developing the iPod.
> Designing a good language requires a lot of good taste and
> a very large amount of test studies, design competitions, etc.,
> to evaluate alternatives.  Anyone with good taste who looks
> at RDF and OWL tends to...  (You can fill in the dots with
> colorful metaphors.)  But even if those languages looked good,
> a lot of testing would be required to ensure that they served
> the purpose -- assuming that anyone had a clear idea of what
> their purpose was supposed to be, which I seriously doubt.
>  > That's a problem with KR in general, not just the SemWeb,
>  > and resolving that problem lies in the hands of SemWeb
>  > application deployment, which would vary from context to
>  > context. And that appears to be one of the problems that
>  > led to AI winter.
> If you're saying that nobody knows the requirements for a
> good KR system, I'm willing to agree.  That is why the idea
> of edicting an alpha-level design without any testing or
> design competition was ill conceived.  That's also why I
> designed the Flexible Modular Framework and made sure that
> it could support any or all KR languages (or even natural
> languages, for that matter) that anyone might desire.
> My major complaint about IBM's Future System of the 1970s,
> about every version of Microsoft Windows, and about the
> SemWeb is that they aren't flexible or modular.  The only
> one that has proved to be successful so far is Windows, but
> with enormous expense.  The current estimate for MS Vista
> is $40 billion, and it is many years behind schedule.
> Apple's OS X is built on top of a version of Unix, which is
> much more flexible and modular than Windows.  Therefore, they
> have already implemented most of the features that are planned
> for Vista at a fraction of the cost in time, money, and human
> effort.
> Moral:  I suggest that the SemWebbers either think more like
> Steve Jobs than Bill Gates or that they do more design
> competitions and evaluation of alternatives.
> John
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