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Re: OWL "Sydney Syntax", structured english

From: Adrian Walker <adriandwalker@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2006 16:31:00 -0500
Message-ID: <1e89d6a40611301331m7ac077ear84db24b8b6952a1a@mail.gmail.com>
To: "John McClure" <jmcclure@hypergrove.com>, public-owl-dev@w3.org
Hi John --

You wrote...

 *Surely you don't mean to imply that I am not creating
> material aligned with TimBL's vision!*
>


 Far be it from me to imply such (:-)

*I am building (the second version of) an OWL ontology for legal documents;
> and I am annotating XHTML markup of public statutes and other legal
> material using a variant of RDF/A based on an ECMA syntax....  all vanilla
> but with a dash of nutmeg. See Legal-RDF.org for more information if you
> want.*
>

If you are building it by hand, more power to you.

If you are trying to extract it completely automatically using a
dictionary-based grammar of English, I fear that you have set yourself a
near-impossible task.


*Your approach sounds not vanilla at all if, indeed, you make the claim that
> there is "no vocabulary or grammar construction" -- I think that building
> ontologies is hard work! which, I am hearing you suggest, is an unnecessary
> task on the road towards fruition of the "vision". A little hyperbole
> perhaps?*
>

 There's more to be explored here, but writing the ontological knowledge as
rules in executable English means that you can run them immediately [1] .
On the other hand building an ontology in more technical notations that lack
well understood inference engines sometimes leads to the situation: Now
What?  [2]

*Anyway I suspect we'd agree that within document prose are definitions of
> classes and properties. *
>


Agreed

*For instance, our Constitution defines a concept called "Citizen"....
> should we ontologists be defining that concept within our
> ontologies, referencing our own definition in any annotations of the
> Constitution, or should our ontologies be referencing the concept as defined
> in that document? I think that the proper answer is the latter if,
> indeed, TimBL's Trust layer is ever to be more than a marketing idea.*
>

Yes, that's one aspect of trust.  I'd say that another aspect is that  a
reasoning system should be able to explain, in nontechnical English, how it
figures out  its answers.  Consider, for example, the consequences of  a
wrong "is transitive"  statement over the whole semantic web!


*Thanks,*
> *John*
>

                                   Cheers,  -- Adrian

[1]   www.reengineeringllc.com/demo_agents/SemanticResolution1.agent

[2]   www.reengineeringllc.com/demo_agents/OwlResearchOnt.agent


Internet Business Logic (R)
Executable open vocabulary English
Online at www.reengineeringllc.com
                                Shared use is free
Adrian Walker
Reengineering
Phone: USA 860 830 2085

-----Original Message-----
> *From:* public-owl-dev-request@w3.org [mailto:
> public-owl-dev-request@w3.org]*On Behalf Of *Adrian Walker
> *Sent:* Thursday, November 30, 2006 11:41 AM
> *To:* John McClure; public-owl-dev@w3.org
> *Subject:* Re: OWL "Sydney Syntax", structured english
>
> John --
>
> Thanks for your note, and congratulations on the design of the
> hypergrove.com web site.
>
> It seems to me that there are two, partially overlapping Semantic Web
> visions.
>
> The first concerns the kind of work you are doing, which I believe is
> mainly about bringing order and accessibility to text documents.
>
> The second concerns what I take to be Timbl's other vision -- a web-wide
> database of RDF triples.  So the data is structured (as triples), rather
> than textual.
>
> I guess there is some commercial success in parsing text documents to
> extract (meta)data.  However, automatically parsing English knowledge and
> converting it to logic for reasoning seems to be a much harder task, at
> least at the industrial strength level.
>
> Our  Internet Business Logic work, with its lightweight approach to
> English knowledge input, is mainly directed to reasoning over structured RDF
> and other data, although there are  some examples such as [1] that reason
> about documents.
>
> So, the aspect of RDF that we mainly care about is that it allows you in
> principle to freely mix and match structured data from different sources on
> the web.  There's actually more to it than that, though [2].
>
> The example [3] is the closest we have got to document exchange so far.
> As you may see, the ontological aspects are in executable English rules**,
> rather than in OWL.
>
> There are also some small OWL-related examples, such as [4].
>
> Perhaps one place where our respective approaches begin to overlap is
> this.  Wwe do a form of information retrieval to try to tie an English
> question that  a  user has typed in to the concepts that are currently
> loaded into the system.
>
> Best regards,  -- Adrian
>
> **  As previously mentioned, the rules are open vocabulary, open syntax.
>
> [1]  www.reengineeringllc.com/demo_agents/RDFQueryLangComparison1.agent
>
> [2]  www.semantic-conference.com/program/sessions/S2.html
>
> [3]  www.reengineeringllc.com/demo_agents/SemanticResolution1.agent
>
> [4]  www.reengineeringllc.com/demo_agents/{OwlTest1<http://www.reengineeringllc.com/demo_agents/%7BOwlTest1>OwlResearchOnt  FeaReferenceModelOntology2}
>
>
>
> Internet Business Logic (R)
> Executable open vocabulary English
> Online at www.reengineeringllc.com
>                                 Shared use is free
> Adrian Walker
> Reengineering
> Phone: USA 860 830 2085
>
>
>
>
> On 11/30/06, John McClure <jmcclure@hypergrove.com> wrote:
> >
> >  *Adrian,*
> > **
> > *I am curious about this fascinating approach -- may I ask *
> > **
> > *(1) if there is no ontology (your words: "no vocabulary or grammar
> > construction"), why do you care about the RDF which depends completely
> > on class and property definitions?  If your response is that
> > "the approach creates classes and properties as a consequence of the text
> > analysis" then is the resultant ontology ever stored? or re-used? or shared?
> > *
> > **
> > *(2) is "document exchange" out-of-scope (inapplicable) for this
> > approach, since there appears to be no contractual reference ontology
> > between publisher and consumer?*
> > **
> > *Thanks much for your reply,*
> > *John*
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > *From:* public-owl-dev-request@w3.org [mailto:public-owl-dev-request@w3.org
> > ]*On Behalf Of *Adrian Walker
> > *Sent:* Thursday, November 30, 2006 9:00 AM
> > *To:* Pat Hayes; public-owl-dev@w3.org
> > *Subject:* Re: OWL "Sydney Syntax", structured english
> >
> > Pat --
> >
> > You wrote...
> >
> > There have been several proposals for English-like
> > syntaxes for logic, see for example John Sowa's 'structured English'.
> > Again, one can make these look quite convincing by a deft choice of
> > basic vocabulary, but they always become incomprehensible when one
> > uses a slightly divergent one. The problem is that when it reads
> > *almost* like English, any non-English constructions - nouns in place
> > of verbs, the wrong preposition, etc., - become very intrusive and
> > awkward. Some object-oriented programing notations claim similar
> > transparency, and there have been proposals for English-y syntaxes
> > for KRep notations, such as various frame-based systems which allow
> > things like (Every Person who owns a donkey beats the donkey of
> > self). I confess to not having citations ready for this, but such
> > systems were developed at U. Texas, for example.
> >
> > Yes, there are many proposals to try to model enough of ordinary English
> > usage to make writing and running knowledge easier than with formal
> > notations.  The underlying idea in all of these is to parse with a grammar,
> > translate automatically to some form of logic, and to execute that.  There
> > are brave folks who also attempt the reverse translation, from logic to
> > English.
> >
> > As has been pointed out many times, this approach does not seem work
> > outside of natural language research projects.   If it did work, it would
> > surely by now be a huge commercial success. It appears to encounter several
> > roadblocks, including the ones you mention.  The fact that English is a
> > moving target  does not help.
> >
> > There is a different approach.   The approach is lightweight,  and seeks
> > to go around the deep NL research problems involved, rather than tackling
> > them head on.  Roughly speaking, the approach is to assign an open
> > vocabulary, open syntax string to each predicate symbol in the underlying
> > logic.  If a predicate is n-ary, the corresponding string has n place
> > holders (or variables) such as "some-person" or "that-time".    There's more
> > to it than that, but that's the basic idea.
> >
> > This allows one to label predicates with strings such as
> >
> >     so far as is known at this-time there is no evidence to suggest that
> > this-person is a terrorist
> >
> > (Actually the approach starts with the string, and invents an arbitrary
> > corresponding predicate say,  p33(x,y), for computation)
> >
> > This  lightweight approach means that there is no dictionary or grammar
> > construction -- at least in the usual 'structured English' sense.   It also
> > means that one can use jargon, government acronyms, 'google' as a verb, and
> > so on.  Of course, this violates all sorts of expectations about how one
> > should compute using English syntax and  semantics.   And it's of zero
> > interest to NL researchers, rightly so.
> >
> > But, if one is willing to accept the trade off involved, it actually
> > seems to be useful!
> >
> > As you may know, this is the approach taken for the author- and
> > user-interface of the Internet Business Logic system [1].  The system is
> > online, and shared us is free, so folks can check for themselves that they
> > can write this kind of English to a browser, and then run it.
> >
> > BTW, my PHD thesis subject was Chomsky grammars, and like many other
> > folks I have banged my head dutifully against the 'structured English'
> > wall.  Great research topic.  Very hard to make it work at industrial
> > strength.
> >
> > With apologies to Kendal,     -- Adrian
> >
> > [1] Internet Business Logic (R)
> > Executable open vocabulary English
> > Online at www.reengineeringllc.com
> >                                 Shared use is free
> > Adrian Walker
> > Reengineering
> > Phone: USA 860 830 2085
> >
> >
>
Received on Thursday, 30 November 2006 21:31:17 GMT

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