RE: Call for vote on SUO Scope and Purpose
"The standards developed will include the specification of the storage,
management, and development of the ontology by distributed electronic means"
Note the plural on standards.
Asset Information Management
Shell Services International
H3229, Shell Centre, London, SE1 7NA, UK.
Tel: +44 207 934 4490 Fax: 7929
> -----Original Message-----
> From: apease [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: 27 July 2000 19:10
> To: West, Matthew MR SSI-GPEA-UK; WBurkett@pdit.com;
> 'Schoening, James R
> CECOM DCSC4I'
> Cc: SUO (E-mail)
> Subject: RE: Call for vote on SUO Scope and Purpose
> Thanks for the clarification about standard evolution.
> What you suggest
> makes sense. Would you be willing to draft a paragraph explaining a
> process for SUO evolution which could be merged into a future
> version of
> the Scope and Purpose?
> At 10:40 AM 7/27/2000 +0200, West, Matthew MR SSI-GPEA-UK wrote:
> >Dear Colleagues,
> >Bill requested
> > >>(5) The SUO should have some provisions for the evolution
> of the SUO over
> >Adam responded
> > >That seems to be more an issue for the standardization
> process than for the
> >standard itself.
> >I can assure you that if you leave this to the
> standardisation process you
> >will have a torrid time. Imagine that you have developed a
> standard upper
> >level ontology, and you find there is a mistake or an
> omission. If you rely
> >on the standardisation process, this can take up to 5 years
> to include or
> >Both Bill and I are part of the ISO TC184/SC4 - Industrial
> Data - community,
> >and we have both suffered from precisely these problems.
> >One approach we are beginning to adopt is somewhat
> consistent with what
> >Robert Kent was suggesting. This is the use of a Register.
> Here you have an
> >ontology (or schema) for an ontology, which includes those
> things necessary
> >to manage additions and change (maintaining a history of
> what the ontology
> >was historically, and supporting a change and approval process).
> >Two standards in ISO TC184/SC4 are being developed following
> this approach.
> >The first is ISO 15926 - integration of life-cycle data for
> Process Plant
> >(including oil and gas) facilities. (Note: don't be fooled
> by the title, as
> >someone once remarked "You can even use this to model
> Wellington Zoo")
> >The second is ISO18876 - Integration of Industrial Data for
> Exchange Access
> >and Sharing (IIDEAS). This aims, rather than supporting a
> single ontology
> >(or schema) to provide facilities to integrate and support multiple
> >ontologies/schemas, with the objective of being able to
> migrate information
> >according to one ontology/schema to another where it is relevant.
> > Matthew
> >Matthew West
> >Asset Information Management
> >Shell Services International
> >H3229, Shell Centre, London, SE1 7NA, UK.
> >Tel: +44 207 934 4490 Fax: 7929
> >E-mail: Matthew.R.West@is.shell.com
> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: apease [mailto:email@example.com]
> >Sent: 27 July 2000 01:49
> >To: WBurkett@pdit.com; 'Schoening, James R CECOM DCSC4I'
> >Cc: SUO (E-mail)
> >Subject: RE: Call for vote on SUO Scope and Purpose
> > I'm puzzled by some of your comments. Comments below:
> >At 05:34 PM 7/26/2000 -0700, WBurkett@pdit.com wrote:
> >I have reviewed the scope and purpose described below, and
> following these
> >discussions as closely as my background knowledge allows.
> From these, I
> >believe that I must vote "No with comments". This is not
> because I disagree
> >with the intent of the work, but because I believe there are
> many very
> >important things that are omitted from the scope/purpose
> statement. Before
> >I get to those, it appears de riguer to provide an explanation of my
> >background to provide a background context and perspective
> for my comments.
> >Background: I am systems engineer by education and practice
> and have largely
> >worked in the automation systems divisions for large manufacturing
> >organizations (either directly or as a consultant); my
> particular area of
> >focus as been on integration and application
> interoperability. As part of
> >this work, I've been developing data models and participating in the
> >development of international data exchange standards for
> (almost) the past
> >20 years. I have also been pursuing university research on
> the question
> >"what makes a data model good?", which has lead me into many
> >non-engineering fields such as philosophy, linguistics, and
> even sociology.
> >(Directions that have been reaffirmed by the discussions on
> this list.)
> >Perspective: This background has lead me to a perspective on
> the issue of
> >application system integration/interoperability that
> includes the following
> >* I equate "ontology" with "schema".
> >* I believe that "meaning" and "knowledge" only exist in the
> human mind.
> >Every externalization of this "stuff" is merely a
> representation that has no
> >inherent meaning. (A corollary to this is that I believe that that
> >anthropomorphizing of computer systems is a self-defeating
> mistake because
> >by confusing the roles of machine and human it interferes with clear
> >understanding of what computer systems can and can't do. Terms like
> >"Inference engines" and "knowledge representation" refer to
> clever data
> >processing to my mind (and my apologies to those whom this
> statement might
> >offend :-) .)
> >* I believe that whatever-it-is that happens in a human mind that is
> >"meaning" is a real-world phenomena that should be part of
> the world view
> >that backs the SUO we develop. (Thus, "possible worlds" do
> exist in the
> >real world as mental phenomena.) Said another way, I think
> it is a big
> >mistake to omit the human mental element from our account of
> "meaning" in
> >the SUO because that is the only place in the universe where
> >really means anything. (Because if human minds didn't
> exist, the question
> >of whether or not there is any "meaning" out there in the world is
> >completely moot.)
> >* Any physical manifestion of meaning - i.e., physical
> >intended to recreate the a selected phenomenon in my mind
> within the mind of
> >another person perceiving the representation - is at best an
> imperfect and
> >imprecise mechanism.
> >Given this background and perspective, my comments on the
> scope and purpose
> >are as follows:
> >(1) I believe that the objective of 1000-2500 terms is far
> too large to be
> >practical. In my experience, I've found that the practical
> upper limit on
> >the number of independent object/entity types in a schema is
> ~300 types.
> >Models larger than this simply cannot be comprehensively
> understood by a
> >single person. (One may argue that it's possible to
> understand larger
> >models with the aid of a meta-level organizing structure -
> and I agree - but
> >then *this* structure becomes the upper level ontology.)
> (And there is the
> >further question of criteria for selecting and discriminating between
> >ontological elements.)
> >Folks in the HPKB project including Cycorp, Teknowledge and
> Stanford used
> >the Cyc upper model of 3000 terms successfully in several
> tests. I take
> >this as an existence proof that refutes your assertion, or
> more gently,
> >maybe it just refutes the need for an individual to
> comprehend the entirety
> >of a model for that model to be useful.
> >(2) I think the SUO should be specified in a formal language
> to facilitate
> >data processing. I don't think terms and definitions are enough for
> >practical applications.
> >Specification in a formal language is precisely what is
> intended "..An
> >ontology is a set of terms and formal definitions..." I've
> proposed KIF or
> >some derivative thereof which is a formal language.
> >(3) One of the most important pieces missing from the
> Scope/Purpose is any
> >recognition of the need for practical guidance for *using*
> the ontology.
> >It's nice to say "If system developer use the SUO for the
> basis of their
> >ontology, then there will be some degree of
> interoperability", but without
> >some practical guidance on how this can be made to true, it
> is just hot air.
> >*How* should the SOU be used?
> >I think it's sufficient to say *what* the SUO might be used
> for. To specify
> >how it might be used in any application would take textbook
> articles or
> >tutorials. We might refer people to Russel and Norvig's AI
> text which has a
> >good section on use of ontologies. What more do you believe
> is needed?
> >(4) As I stated above, I think it is a big mistake to
> divorce the SUO from
> >human minds. Do so would be similar to assumed objectivity
> of physical
> >sciences (i.e., independence of natural phenomena from
> observer) that was
> >discredited by, for example, Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle (the
> >observer affects the thing observed). Our goal in the
> specification of the
> >meaning of the components of the SUO must include the
> recognition that a
> >precise definition that means the same thing to all people
> at all times is
> >impossible and seek instead to simply try and maximize it.
> >I agree with this. Do you feel we need a disclaimer in the
> SUO to this
> >effect or something more?
> >(5) The SUO should have some provisions for the evolution of
> the SUO over
> >That seems to be more an issue for the standardization
> process than for the
> >standard itself.
> >(6) Although I recognize that we don't really have any other
> choice, I am
> >leery about using English to define/specify the ontology.
> The english
> >language has its own ontology, but is there anything that
> makes English a
> >better specification language than, say, Italian, other than
> its ubiquity?
> >Is the bootstrap nature of the definitions going to be a
> problem? I don't
> >know ...
> >The SUO Scope and Purpose does not in any way state that
> English will be
> >used to define the ontology.
> >Summary: On the whole I applaud the objectives of this group
> and following
> >the discussions with great interest (and some degree of
> understanding ;-) I
> >hope that the ground rules and objectives can be solidified
> to a degree that
> >the outcome will be of practical use in system integration and
> >I'm excited about the group too and hoping that many of your
> concerns rest
> >on some misunderstandings which hopefully I've been able to clarify.
> >Bill Burkett
> >William C. Burkett 562-495-6500x13
> >Product Data Integration Technologies, Inc. 562-495-6509
> >100 W. Broadway Suite 540 firstname.lastname@example.org
> >Long Beach, CA, 90802 USA http://www.pdit.com
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: Schoening, James R CECOM DCSC4I
> > > [mailto:James.Schoening@mail1.monmouth.army.mil]
> > > Sent: Tuesday, July 11, 2000 7:53 PM
> > > To: 'email@example.com'
> > > Subject: Call for vote on SUO Scope and Purpose
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > SUO Participants,
> > >
> > > I would now like to call for a vote on the below
> Scope and Purpose.
> > > The objectives of this vote are to:
> > >
> > > a. Cause a greater number of participants to review
> and understand
> > > the Scope and Purpose.
> > >
> > > b. Solicit suggested changes and improvements.
> > >
> > > c. See if we have enough consensus and interest to proceed.
> > >
> > > To vote, send an email to me (not this list), by
> July 26, 2000, with
> > > one of the following votes:
> > >
> > > YES (with or without comments)
> > > NO (must have comments stating why you are voting NO)
> > > ABSTAIN (with or without comments)
> > >
> > > IEEE does not define rules for voting within a
> Study Group, but
> > > hopefully we'll be able to deal with most comments and
> reach maximum
> > > consensus without strict voting rules.
> > >
> > > Please cast your vote.
> > >
> > > Jim Schoening
> > > Chair, IEEE SUO Study Group
> > > http://ltsc.ieee.org/suo
> > >
> > >
> > > Scope of Proposed Project:
> > > (The Scope describes what is being done, including the technical
> > > of the project.)
> > > This standard will specify the syntax and semantics of a
> > > upper level ontology. An ontology is a set of terms and formal
> > > This will be limited to the upper level, which provides
> definition for
> > > general-purpose terms and provides a structure for
> compliant lower level
> > > domain ontologies. It is estimated to contain between
> 1000 and 2500 terms
> > > plus roughly ten definitional statements for each term.
> It is intended to
> > > provide the foundation for ontologies of much larger size and more
> > > scope.
> > >
> > > Purpose of Proposed Project:
> > > (The Purpose describes why the standard needs to be
> developed and who will
> > > benefit.)
> > > * The standard will be suitable for automated logical
> inference to
> > > support knowledge-based reasoning applications.
> > > * This standard will enable the development of a
> large (20,000+)
> > > general-purpose standard ontology of common concepts to
> be developed,
> > > will provide the basis for middle-level domain ontologies
> and lower-level
> > > application ontologies.
> > > * The ontology will be suitable for "compilation" to
> more restricted
> > > forms such as XML or database schema. This will enable
> database developers
> > > to define new data elements in terms of a common
> ontology, and thereby
> > > some degree of interoperability with other compliant systems.
> > > * Owners of existing systems will be able to map existing data
> > > elements just once to a common ontology, and thereby gain
> a degree of
> > > interoperability with other representations that are
> > > compliant with the SUO.
> > >
> > > * Domain-specific ontologies which are compliant with
> the SUO will be
> > > able to interoperate (to some degree) by virtue of the
> shared common terms
> > > and definitions.
> > > * Applications of the ontology will include:
> > > * E-commerce applications from different domains
> > > which need to
> > > interoperate at both the data and semantic levels.
> > > * Educational applications in which students learn
> > > concepts and
> > > relationships directly from, or expressed in terms of, a
> > > common ontology.
> > > This will also enable a standard record of learning to be kept.
> > > * Natural language understanding tasks in which a
> > > knowledge based
> > > reasoning system uses the ontology to disambiguate among likely
> > > interpretations of natural language statements.
> > >
> > >
> >Adam Pease
> >(650) 424-0500 x571
> Adam Pease
> (650) 424-0500 x571