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KR-2002 Panel/Debate. Are Upper-Level Ontologies worth the effort? Chris Welty, IBM Research. What is Ontology? [Smith & Welty, 2001]. A discipline of Philosophy Meta-physics dates back to Artistotle Ontology dates back to 17th century The science of what is One universe - one ontology

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kr 2002 panel debate

KR-2002 Panel/Debate

Are Upper-Level Ontologies worth the effort?

Chris Welty, IBM Research

what is ontology smith welty 2001
What is Ontology?[Smith & Welty, 2001]
  • A discipline of Philosophy
    • Meta-physics dates back to Artistotle
    • Ontology dates back to 17th century
    • The science of what is
    • One universe - one ontology
  • Borrowed by AI community
    • McCarthy (1980) calls for “a list of things that exist”
  • Evolution of meaning
    • Now refers to domain modeling, conceptual modeling, knowledge engineering, etc.
what is an ontology welty uschold gruninger lehmann mcguinness 1999

a set of general

logical

axioms

a collection of taxonomies

a catalog

a glossary

a set of text files

a collection of frames

a thesaurus

complexity

without automated reasoning

with automated reasoning

What is an Ontology?[Welty, Uschold, Gruninger, Lehmann & McGuinness, 1999]
what is an upper level ontology
What is an Upper Level Ontology?
  • The most general classifications of entities
  • Domain independent
  • High reusability, utility
  • “Common reference” ontology
  • The most basic building blocks (foundation) of ontologies, e.g.
    • Properties: Event/object, abstract/concrete, …
    • Relations: Isa, part, instance, …
examples of upper level ontologies
Examples of Upper Level Ontologies
  • Wordnet Upper Level [Miller, Fellbaum]
  • Cyc Upper Level [Lehmann, Klein]
  • IEEE SUO […]
  • OntoClean Top Level [Guarino, et al]
  • GOL [Smith, et al]
what an upper level ontology is not
What an Upper Level Ontology is not
  • Necessarily large
  • Necessarily part of any system that uses it
  • Necessarily goal-independent
  • Necessarily language dependent
  • Easy
panelists
Pro

Nicola Guarino

CNR, Italy

Brandon Bennett

U. Leeds, UK

Con

Alan Rector

U. Manchester, UK

Jim Hendler

U. Maryland, USA

Panelists
panelist introduction nicola guarino
Panelist IntroductionNicola Guarino
  • Background
    • Ontology, Formal Ontology
  • Recent Work
    • OntoClean, restructuring WordNet
  • Goal
    • Bring together CS, Philosophy, and Linguistics
  • Ontology
    • Account of intended meaning of terms
panelist introduction brandon bennett
Panelist IntroductionBrandon Bennett
  • Background
    • Spatial and temporal reasoning
  • Recent Work
    • Axiomatic systems for space/time, vagueness [VUG]
  • Goal
    • A unifying foundational ontology
  • Ontology
    • Rigorous definition of concepts
panelist introduction alan rector
Panelist IntroductionAlan Rector
  • Background
    • Medical terminologies, description logics
  • Recent Work
    • GALEN, part/whole reasoning, drug info
  • Goal
    • Integration of clinical systems with decision support, indexing of evidence
  • Ontology
    • Implementation of the formal representation of concepts needed for a collection of information resources
panelist introduction jim hendler
Panelist IntroductionJim Hendler
  • Background
    • Scaleable KR Systems, Interoperability, Agents
  • Recent Work
    • DAML, DAML+OIL, W3C webont chair
  • Goal
    • A semantic web
  • Ontology
    • A web of nested terminologies
points against
Points Against
  • No “The”
  • Agreement impossible
    • On the scale of the web, ridiculous
  • Standardizing syntax OK, but not semantics
  • Cognitive systems differ, even within people
    • Different cog system, different “ontology”
  • Consequences of decisions hard to predict, but important
  • Middle level easier, more important
    • Upper level development often gets bogged down
    • Takes time away from more critical parts of a system
  • No way to evaluate quality
  • Easy to teach someone middle-level concepts
    • Upper level often too opaque to explain
  • Some domains require different levels of complexity depending on the needs
points for
Points for
  • Standardizing upper level is no different than standardizing syntax, its just the next step
  • to establish consensus, there must be some common ground
  • We don’t know how to argue
    • Need tools to support argumentation
    • We must understand when we disagree
other points
Other points
  • What is upper level?
    • Abstract, or simple?
  • Where is the evidence to support upper level notions?
  • Time: easy or hard?
  • How relevant is philosophical ontology?
  • What is the value of legislation?
  • Role of logic, category theory
  • How do we learn how to communicate
  • Upper ontology similar to language creation?