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Ontologies at Ericsson Why and How. Lars Taxén, PhD Department of Science and Technology, Campus Norrköping, Linköping University [email protected], +46 73 0977864. Background Lars Taxén. M.Sc. KTH 1968 Ericsson 1968 - 2003 Development methods for hardware and software

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Ontologies at ericsson why and how

Ontologies at EricssonWhy and How

Lars Taxén, PhD

Department of Science and Technology,

Campus Norrköping, Linköping University

[email protected], +46 73 0977864


Background lars tax n
Background Lars Taxén

  • M.Sc. KTH 1968

  • Ericsson 1968 - 2003

    • Development methods for hardware and software

    • Global information system support for coordination

  • Doctoral studies Linköping University 1998 - 2003

    • “A Framework for the Coordination of Complex Systems’ Development”

  • Now researcher and consultant

“There is nothing so practical as a good theory.” (Kurt Lewin)


Outline
Outline

  • Definitions of ontology

  • Telecommunication systems

  • “Pragmatic” ontologies at Ericsson - why and how

  • “Formal” ontologies in the literature

  • Comparison

  • Discussion

  • Conclusions


Ontology in philosophy
Ontology in philosophy

“Ontology studies being or existence as well as the basic categories thereof—trying to find out what entities and what types of entities exist. Ontology has strong implications for the conceptions of reality.”


Definition
Definition

“Ontologies are content theories about the sorts of objects, properties of objects, and relations between objects that are possible in a specified domainof knowledge. ”

Chandrasekaran et al. (1999) “What Are Ontologies, and Why Do We Need Them?”

IEEE Intelligent Systems, Jan/Feb 1999


Two types of ontologies
Two types of ontologies

  • “Pragmatic” ontologies

    • “Context models” at Ericsson

    • Used to coordinate complex development projects

    • Social action theories (Activity Theory, Structuration Theory, Actor Network Theory, etc.)

  • “Formal” ontologies

    • Origin in the AI community

    • Currently “hot topic” in the Semantic Web

    • First-order logic



The telecom network

Network Access

Points

LAN

Wide-band

Backbone

Service

Providers

LAN

The telecom network

Exchange

Exchange

Router


Developing a node

Issues

Development lead-times

Coordination and dependencies

Progress follow-up

Culture - disciplines

Geographical distribution

Commitments and responsibilities

Competence

Quality

Drivers

Market push

Shorter time to market

More competitors

Less margins

Shorter product life cycles

Technological complexity

Standardization

Change

Developing a node


Development of 3g mobile systems
Development of 3G mobile systems

  • Development centers

  • S-domain (Stockholm)

  • A-domain (Aachen)

  • L-domain (Linköping)

  • C-domain (Stockholm)


Coordination
Coordination

  • “The management of dependencies btw activities”

    • Malone & Crowston, 1994

  • Communal meaning about how to coordinate

    • requirements

    • engineering change orders

    • products

    • documents describing products

    • test cases

    • integrations

    • baselines

    • milestones

    • deliveries

    • ...

  • Information system support



From waterfall to integration centric development

Plan

Integrate

Analysis

Design

Verification

“Big Bang”

Plan

Integrate

Integrate

Increment

From waterfall to integration centric development


Method development
Method development

1996

S-domain

Incremental

Development

Method Package


Context model s domain 1996
Context model S-domain 1996

Assignment

Specification

AD plan

System

Issue

Constr.

plan

Project

AD

package

Project

Increment

Proj

MS def

Incr

MS def

MCI

Incr. Task

Specification

Increment

Specification

Function

Anatomy

Customer

New

Feature

Set of

req’s

Test

Object

Test

Case

Function

Incr dep.

matrix

Interface

Characte-

ristics

Design

Base

Baseline

Design

Item

AXE

System

Specification

MCI

Document

Project

Document

Product

Document

Implementation

New categories

System

Issue


Information system support
Information system support

1996

1997

S-domain

Incremental

Development

Method Package

Information system (IS)

introduced


Context model s domain 1997
Context model S-domain 1997

System

Issue

Project

Project MS

Customer

Customer

Feature

AD Task

AD MS

Set of

Req’s

AD

Package

IS

Tech. Feature

Inc Spec

Feature

Increment

Increment

Task Spec

Inc. MS

IP

Increment

Responsible

Functional

Anatomy

Impact

Individual

FF

Resource

Function

Teaml

Design

Base

Design

Item

LDC

Sub projectl

Product

Document

Project

New categories

...

ANT

CNT

CAA

FS

FD

TS

...



First project
First project

1996

1997

1998

1999

S-domain

Incremental

Development

Method Package

1st sharp project

prototype

1st sharp project up and running

Information system (IS)

in pilot projects


Context model s domain 1999

Needs, Impacts

Includes

Consists_Of

Context model S-domain 1999

Test Case

PROJ. ITEMS

Req Issuer

TEST ITEM

Project MS

MILESTONE

TestedBy

Parent_Child

Input Req

Increment MS

REQUIREMENT

Project

AllocatedTo

Detailed Req

DESIGN ITEM

Includes

DELIVERY

IP

System Issue

AD Package

Consists_Of

TECH INCR SPEC

Function

Package

Use Case

INCREMENT

Baseline

PRODUCT

Design Base

Change Request

DOCUMENT

Role

CR Comment

PROJECT

DOCUMENT

CCB Meeting

PRODUCT

DOCUMENT

CCB Decision

Requirement

Coordinator

Designer

Configuration

Manager

Project

Manager


Expansion
Expansion

A-domain

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

S-domain

Incremental

Development

Method Package

1st sharp project

prototype

1st sharp project up and running

L-domain

Information system (IS)

in pilot projects

Two more domains created


Context model a domain 2001
Context model A-domain 2001

ARS, CRS, MRS

High-level RS

Feature Groups

DependsOn

Feature Group

DescribedIn*

Features

toAnatomy

Has

(s)WPG

prio

Holds

Feature

DescribedIn

RS_IP

IP_FF

FF_WP

RS

IP

FF

WP

DependsOn

Tagged(H)RS Item

RS_SIP

IncludedIn

SIP_IP

Impacts

SIP

Detailed RS

LSV

Product


Expansion1
Expansion

A-domain

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

S-domain

Incremental

Development

Method Package

1st sharp project

prototype

1st sharp project up and running

L-domain

Information system (IS)

in pilot projects

Two more domains created

Two more IS applications


Context model s domain 2001

Depends_on

!

Context model S-domain 2001

TEST_ITEM

Tested_by

Requirement Issuer

has

ANATOMY_ITEM

INTEGRATION_ITEM

Included_In

LSV

Work Package

Directed_To

(fulfillment-status)

AD-package

Feature Increment

Impacts

(man-hours)

DESIGN_ITEM

REQUIREMENT

PRODUCT

PROGRESS_CONTROL_ITEM

PROD_DOC

Baseline

MILESTONE

CHANGE_PROPOSAL_ITEM

CR

TR


Centralization
Centralization

A-domain

?

2003

2004

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

S-domain

X

Incremental

Development

Method Package

1st sharp project

prototype

1st sharp project up and running

C-domain

X

L-domain

Information system (IS)

in pilot projects

Two more domains created

Ericsson common domain serving the other domains

One common Ericsson domain



Context model evolution
Context model evolution

A-domain

?

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

S-domain

X

C-domain

X

L-domain



A detail in the context model
A detail in the context model

To be defined...

  • Entities

  • Relations

  • Names, icons

  • Types of requirements

  • Life cycle of requirements

  • Attributes on requirements

  • Attributes on relations

  • Cardinalities on relations

  • Revision stepping rules

  • Actor roles

  • Access rights for roles

  • ...


Constructing communal meaning the key issue
Constructing communal meaning the key issue

We also had major discussion about the attributes for each and every object, what do they really mean and how are they to be used. That was also something that caused quite a lot of time.

(Project Manager 3G)


Construction process
Construction process

Individual meaning

Communal meaning

Meaningful artifacts

Req. mgr

Proj. mgr

IS vendor

Architect


A comparison between context models at ericsson and ontologies in the literature

A comparison- between context models at Ericsson and ontologies in the literature


Properties of ontologies from the literature

Example adapted after Edgington et al. (2004) “Adopting Ontology to Facilitate Knowledge Sharing”,

Chandrasekaran et al. (1999) “What Are Ontologies, and Why Do We Need Them?”

Properties of ontologies from the literature

  • There are objects in the world

  • Objects have properties or attributes that can take values

  • Objects can exist in various relations with each other

  • Objects can have parts

  • Properties and relations can change over time

  • There are events that occur at different time instants

  • There are processes in which objects participate and that occur over time

  • The world and its objects can be in different states

  • Events can cause other events or states as effects


Properties of context models at ericsson
Properties of context models at Ericsson Ontology to Facilitate Knowledge Sharing”,

  • There are objects in the world

  • Objects have properties or attributes that can take values

  • Objects can exist in various relations with each other

  • Objects can have parts

  • Properties and relations can change over time

  • There are events that occur at different time instants

  • There are processes in which objects participate and that occur over time

  • The world and its objects can be in different states

  • Events can cause other events or states as effects


Formal ontologies related to the semantic web

“Formal” Ontologies Ontology to Facilitate Knowledge Sharing”, - related to the Semantic Web


Formally defined
Formally defined Ontology to Facilitate Knowledge Sharing”,

“...The only languages [to describe the entities involved and the relationships between them] that are likely to fit the bill are mathematical, and the prime contenders are understandable in terms of first-order logic.”


Conceptions of knowledge
Conceptions of knowledge Ontology to Facilitate Knowledge Sharing”,

“… knowledge is a collection of facts about a domain.”

“…encoding knowledge in terms of the concepts and relations.”

“Ontological analysis clarifies the structure of knowledge”


Meaning
Meaning Ontology to Facilitate Knowledge Sharing”,

“Ontologies will provide the necessary meaning to web content therefore enabling software agents to understand and retrieve information in relevant contexts.”


Separation of ontology and knowledge
Separation of ontology and knowledge Ontology to Facilitate Knowledge Sharing”,

“An ontology provides a set of concepts and terms for describing some domain, while a knowledge base uses those terms to represent what is true about some real or hypothetical world.”


Stability
Stability Ontology to Facilitate Knowledge Sharing”,

“Ontology, ... is supposed to reflect ... the well established knowledge of a given area... It should be stable and throughout used.


Commonality
Commonality Ontology to Facilitate Knowledge Sharing”,

“Communication between distinct groups using different vocabularies creates the need to create common vocabularies, which optimally suit all involved”


Machine processing
Machine processing Ontology to Facilitate Knowledge Sharing”,

“We have presented an automated approach to unifying heterogeneous information models based on machine-processable metadata specifications.”


Discussion

Discussion Ontology to Facilitate Knowledge Sharing”,


Basic tenets formal ontologies
Basic tenets “formal” ontologies Ontology to Facilitate Knowledge Sharing”,

  • Knowledge

    • A collection of facts that are true

    • Can be managed

    • Is discovered

    • Ontologies separate from knowledge

  • Ontologies

    • Give meaning

    • Describe some part of the “real” world

    • External to the worlds they describe

    • Stable

    • Formally defined

    • Can be machine processed

    • Validated according to compliance with facts, truth


Basic tenets pragmatic ontologies
Basic tenets “pragmatic” ontologies Ontology to Facilitate Knowledge Sharing”,

  • Knowledge

    • Intrinsic to humans, knowledge is what a knower knows

    • Constructed in action

    • Not a commodity

    • Ontologies are inseparable from knowledge

  • Ontologies

    • Instruments for constructing communal meaning

    • Domain specific

    • Provide a communal language in the domain

    • In constant evolution

    • Informally described - easy to interpret for humans

    • Machine processing not a prerequisite

    • Validated for usefulness in the domain


Formal versus pragmatic ontologies

Commodity Ontology to Facilitate Knowledge Sharing”,

Inherent

Description

Stable

Formal

Truth

Uniform

External

Inherently human

Constructed

Action

Evolution

Significant

Usability

Multitude

Internal

“Formal” versus “pragmatic” ontologies

“Formal”

“Pragmatic”

Knowledge

Meaning

Usage

Change

Model

Validation

Commonality

Existence

On the surface formal and pragmatic ontologies look the same

Fundamentally different conceptions of knowledge


Issues
Issues Ontology to Facilitate Knowledge Sharing”,

  • Ontology for ontologies

    • Knowledge for description or action?

    • Is knowledge equal to facts?

    • Can knowledge be managed?

    • Are ontologies external to the world it describes?

  • Meaning

    • Do ontologies encode meaning?

  • Unification

    • Is it possible to define “one size fits all” ontology?

  • Validation

    • Usefulness or truth?

  • Development

    • Stable or dynamic world?


Activity domain theory
Activity Domain Theory Ontology to Facilitate Knowledge Sharing”,

  • Focus on communal meaning

  • Activity Modalities

    • Spatialization

    • Temporalization

    • Technologization

    • Stabilization

    • Contextualization

    • Transition

    • Pragmatic communication

  • Ontology is one modality - spatialization

    • Other modalities need to be considered in ontology construction


Further reading
Further reading Ontology to Facilitate Knowledge Sharing”,

  • Taxén L (2003) A Framework for the Coordination of Complex Systems’ Development. Dissertation No. 800. Linköping University, Dep. of Computer &Information Science, 2003. Retrieved from http://www.ep.liu.se/diss/science_technology/08/00/index.html (Nov 2004)

  • Taxén L (2004): Articulating Coordination of Human Activity - the Activity Domain Theory. In Proceedings of the 2nd International workshop on Action in Language, Organisations and Information Systems (ALOIS-2004), Linköping University. Retrieved from http://www.vits.org/konferenser/alois2004/proceedings.asp (Dec 2005).

  • Taxén L (2005) Categorizing Objective Meaning in Activity Systems, in Whymark G, Hasan H (Eds.), Activity as the Focus of Information Systems Research, Eveleigh, Australia: Knowledge Creation Press, pp. 169-192

  • Taxén L (2005) An Integrated Approach for the Coordination of Distributed Software Development Projects, Information and Software Technology, (in press).


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