SUO: on SUO and other projects
Jim's call to participate in the BIKE project (message reported
below) has raised some criticism. I'm trying to understand if this is
just a communication problem or something that goes deeper. I suggest
we discuss this issue since it is likely we will face it again in the
The main reason, for what I can see, is that we have no policy about
getting involved in other projects. To avoid possible confusions, let
me state clearly that such a policy would apply to the SUO WG (and
related subgroups) and not to single members.
Here are a few questions I'd like the list to consider:
1) Should the SUO WG have a policy regarding involvement (and to
which degree) into other projects?
2) Is it advisable (if possible at all) for the SUO WG to be
officially part of other projects?
2) Beside the fact that each of us can work on any project she likes,
should the SUO WG endorse projects or applications?
3) What are the requisites a project should satisfy in order to be
considered by the SUO WG?
4) Beside the fact that each of us can ask if there are people
interested in a project she likes, can the chair (as such) ask the
SUO to get involved in a project without a preliminary discussion on
the project itself?
Since the SUO is an open project, it seems natural to me to set some
minimal restrictions before an *official* call for volunteers is sent
to the SUO list. (By official I mean a call made by the chair as
In my view, we should require that a proposed project satisfies at
least the followings
- the project must be totally open
- the project must be of clear general interest
- the project must have a clear relevance for the SUO initiative
These requirements (or something like these) guarantee that the SUO
stays out of project/applications that do not complain with the
spirit of the group itself. For example, a project on legal or
medical issues would likely satisfy these minimal restrictions. A
partially secret project paid by the China or US or Iran Army (or any
other one-sided organization) probably would not.
From this perspective, I consider Jim's message as an accident that
might help SUO to understand how to relate with outside projects.
Finally, Jim, let me give you a piece of (friendly) advice.
The chair (any chair) of a group based on voluntary work should be
careful in proposing a project when there is a strong connection (in
this case identity) between his employer and the organization that
founds the proposed project. Any suspect of a conflict of interests
weakens the SUO activity and might jeopardize it in the long run.
If this is the reason (or part of it) for the criticisms to your
message, I think they are justified.
I hope you will clarify your position in this regard.
To: email@example.com, SUO-STATUS@ieee.org
Subject: SUO-STAT Program wants to work with SUO documents
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2004 17:03:50 -0500
I have stated many times we need more real users to use our
starter documents and provide feedback and improvements. We need them
to develop domain and system ontologies, to develop actual systems and
tools. We need them to propose new concepts and axioms, plus identify
flaws that really matter to their systems. This will all provide
valuable feedback to improve these documents.
We now have at least one program to do this. The Battle
Information & Knowledge Exchange (BIKE) Program is a 4-year R&D program
at my employer (US Army) that needs a common upper ontology and wants
to start working with one or more or our starter documents. Mr. Kenneth
Beam is the manager of the program and Ms. Lisa Tran will be working the
ontology aspect of it. Ken is out on paternity leave, but Lisa has
joined the SUO list and will introduce herself shortly.
BIKE now needs expert input on the attributes of each of our
documents, from all perspectives. Perhaps other potential users will
also value this analysis.
a. Develop an evaluation form with specific questions, but also
allow free-form input. Below is a strawman list of questions. Please
send any edits/additions/deletions, then let's use our consensus process
to finalize the list.
b. Keep the questions generic to any user, since BIKE wants a
potentially broadly acceptable upper ontology anyway.
c. Anyone may provide input, even if not a member of SUO or
subscribed to this list. Candidate ontologies should not be limited to
just SUO starter documents.
d. To keep the inputs manageable and easy to review, permit only
one evaluation form per person per ontology; however, allow submission
of updated forms. Allow rebuttals.
e. Post all evaluation forms and rebuttals to the SUO web site in
an orderly fashion. Since this will require daily web work, Oanh Trinh
of the BIKE program is willing to help.
To get started, please send edits to the below list of evaluation
Chair, IEEE P1600.1 Standard Upper Ontology Working Group
Strawman Evaluation Questions for Common Upper Ontologies
1. Maturity: (How ready is it to use now? What capabilities have already
been demonstrated? Time and resources needed to start using? Potential
2. Robustness: (Heavy weight vs. light weight ontology features?
Potential for improving robustness? How well will it handle known
requirements, such as those listed in SUO Scope and Purpose.)
3. Potential for broad acceptance: (How well will it support maximum
number of domains?)
4. Language Flexibility: (What ontology language is it in? How stable is
language?If desired, could it be written in a different ontology
5. Ownership/Cost/Changes: (Who owns it? Any proprietary restrictions on
use? Any charges for utilization? How will it get changed and who
controls the changes? Is it being developed by a Standards Developing
6. Domain Friendly (How easy to develop domain ontologies based on upper
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