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[ontac-forum] Re: Problems of ontology

To: ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: David Eddy <deddy@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 17 May 2006 12:18:10 -0400
Message-id: <r02010500-1046-BBF0A2B0E5C011DA860B000A95AEB2DA@[]>
Ed, Pat, John, Leo & Chris -    (01)

>  4. The view of science as a unified body of theory is totally
>      unrealistic.  Even physics, the hardest of the hard sciences,
>      is a hodge-podge of thousands of mutually inconsistent models
>      for each area of application.  As Bundy said, there is no such
>      thing as a unified model of everything.
>    (02)

That's the best description of the enterprise collection of legacy
systems--what we're tying to inter-operate on, right?--that I've seen in
a long time.    (03)

While there may in fact (in the class-room) be something called
"computer science," such purity is very hard to find in legacy systems
land.    (04)

Whereas any single system may have begun its useful life in a wondrous
state of hierarchical order, by the time it's joined the enterprise
portfolio, it's far more likely to be a mess.    (05)

Most certainly the collection of many/multiple systems becomes less &
less ordered with time.  I wonder if there is any correlation between
how valuable a system is and how chaotic it is.    (06)

Is somebody going to offer up their collection of Algol programs as a
baseline?  ...or have they all been reverse engineered & retired?    (07)

> PC> I would argue that every system that successfully interoperates
 > at any level shares some upper ontology, whether explicitly or
 > implicitly.
> If you delete the word "upper", I would agree.  The point Bundy was
> making is that interoperability on shared data or results is always
> on a problem or task-oriented basis.  That is also the point that
> Lenat learned after the 21+ years of working on Cyc:  the axioms
> at the upper level are not widely used, the middle-level axioms are
> more important, and for any particular application, the microtheories
> (i.e., the lowest-level axioms) are the most important.
>    (08)

That description of increasing importance as one moves DOWN the scale is
most appropriate.    (09)

The closer you are to the sharp edge where the work is DONE means the
less likely one is to be reading something that was built/written with
any attention to some uber sense of universal organization & hierarchy.    (010)

I've asked for the "science" behind human network communications & the
best I've found is to use "20% decay" with each hand-off, essentially
the kindergarten game of "telephone."    (011)

- David    (012)

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