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RE: PROV-ISSUE-4: Defining Agent using FOAF's definition

From: Myers, Jim <MYERSJ4@rpi.edu>
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2011 16:05:14 -0400
Message-ID: <B7376F3FB29F7E42A510EB5026D99EF205349DB9@troy-be-ex2.win.rpi.edu>
To: <public-prov-wg@w3.org>
Martin,
I would agree that trying to define intensity of agency is a black hole,
beyond perhaps something that mirrors the dc:creator/dc:contributor type
of split, i.e. if the group feels that controls vs. participates is a
useful if still vague distinction, then OK.

I do think that research groups, organizations, corporations, etc. are
valid things though, as would be workflow engines/schedulers and
software agents working on someone's behalf.

 Jim

> -----Original Message-----
> From: public-prov-wg-request@w3.org [mailto:public-prov-wg-
> request@w3.org] On Behalf Of martin
> Sent: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 3:53 PM
> To: public-prov-wg@w3.org
> Subject: Re: PROV-ISSUE-4: Defining Agent using FOAF's definition
> 
> Dear All,
> 
> I fear the definition of "agent" as a role, in particular tied to
causality, will lead us
> to philosophical pitfalls.
> There is no objective notion of causality, beyond the controlled
environment of
> logical machinery, and even in this environment it is not
straightforward. Social
> causality is known to be subjective and view-dependent. In physics,
there is no
> more a notion of strict causality.
> 
> If we want to make the model simple, we should not speculate about the
> intensity of "agency", but state if a human being or a social human
group is
> directly present, involved in or legally responsible for a process.
Then the modes
> of presence, involvement or "agency" can be defined by subproperties.
> Therefore, in ISO21127, we preferred the term "Actor" over "Agent".
> 
> A possible construct would be to define an "Agent" as an n-ary
relationship (an
> RDF class) between the actual persons and the process in question.
Such models
> however introduce an ugly indirection, which satisfies more
philosophical views
> than practical needs. Ultimately, this is however the need if "Agent"
is seen as a
> process-dependent role, because otherwise the real persons behind
cannot be
> identified, and this is what we need for provenance, much more than
details of
> their ways of acting. This problem was discussed between the working
groups of
> CIDOC CRM and ABC Harmony
>
(http://tc.eserver.org/authors/Doerr,_Martin,_Jane_Hunter_and_Carl_Lagoz
e)
> 
> In the course of finding very generic classes, one is easily lost in
philosophical
> problems. It is not only important to create as few concepts as
possible, but also
> concepts of things and facts that can easily be veryfied and
identified. Presence
> of people or legal responsibility is normally well-defined in the
processes we are
> interested in.
> 
> The European library practice registers "authors" in the sense of
"Actor"
> presented above, whereas the American tradition used to register
"authors"
> relative to the creation of a book. Recently, the American practice
was found
> highly problematic for information integration, and slowly the
European is
> internationally adopted. We should not make the same mistakes.
> 
> We should not be misled by the physicality of a human body that a
social group,
> such as a research team, may constitute one Actor or Agent, but not
easily be
> identified as a "Thing".
> 
> 
> Best,
> 
> Martin
> 
> On 6/21/2011 9:34 PM, Myers, Jim wrote:
> > Stephan,
> >
> > I can see the argument that an agent could be seen as a view, but it
> > doesn't sound as compelling to me as student or employee as views -
> > those view would have additional properties (student ID, major,
> > salary, etc.) and such views have some longevity. In contrast, I'm
not
> > sure what new properties me as an agent would have and it seems more
like
> I'd be creating the agent-view-of-me just for PIL (single use to have
something
> to control a process). If we have me, and a student view of me, do we
also want
> a student-agent-view of me to take a test? I raise this example in
part to show
> that if agency is a role, one could still have views such as
student-view-of-me
> that could play that role.
> >
> > I guess I should also ask if agents are IVPs of other things - would
> > they still be a special type or are they just things too, as other
> > IVPs currently are? If they are not special types, I think this
would
> > become a model where things can control processes and a
suggested/best
> practice might be to create an IVP in cases where there's a need to
distinguish
> some characteristics of a thing-as-agent that are different than the
thing itself. Is
> that the intent?
> 
> >
> > Jim
> >
> > *From:*Stephan Zednik [mailto:zednis@rpi.edu]
> > *Sent:* Tuesday, June 21, 2011 1:59 PM
> > *To:* Satya Sahoo
> > *Cc:* Myers, Jim; Graham Klyne; Luc Moreau; public-prov-wg@w3.org
> > *Subject:* Re: PROV-ISSUE-4: Defining Agent using FOAF's definition
> >
> > Hi all,
> >
> > I add my agreement to the statement that it is important to have a
way to
> describe the provenance of an agent.
> >
> > Now for some random thoughts:
> >
> > I would like to amend Satya's last definition of agent to:
> >
> > "Athing that is actively causally involved in a process execution is
an Agent"
> >
> > What is interesting about this definition is that it ties the
> > agent-ness of a thing to the duration of the process execution. I
> > think you could say the same about the prior definition that omitted
'actively'.
> My interest in adding 'actively' is to differentiate things that
participate by their
> own power to inert factors that influence the process results.
> >
> > Back to the definition of agent.
> >
> > Perhaps agent status is an IVP of a thing?
> >
> > For a quick analogy; I think a thing is an agent like a student is a
> > person. I would not argue that an agent is a role or non-thing
concept
> > anymore than I would argue that a student is a role or a non-person
concept.
> Or to put it a better way, I think it would be just as odd to argue
that an agent is
> a role a thing takes as it would be to argue that a student is a role
a person takes.
> >
> > --Stephan
> >
> > On Jun 21, 2011, at 9:21 AM, Satya Sahoo wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> > Hi Jim,
> >
> >  > However agents are modeled, I think it is important to have a way
> > to describe their provenance
> >
> > I agree. For example, the manufacturer or place and date of
> > manufacture of a sensor (acting as an agent in a sensor network) are
relevant
> provenance information.
> >
> > Best,
> >
> > Satya
> >
> > On Tue, Jun 21, 2011 at 11:14 AM, Myers, Jim <MYERSJ4@rpi.edu
> <mailto:MYERSJ4@rpi.edu>> wrote:
> >
> > We debated quite a bit for OPM and ended up making agent a separate
> > 'class' because agents appeared to blend being a thing and acting
like
> > a process, along with the challenge that artifacts were immutable
and
> > agents were not. Given mutable things, and potential interest/use
cases where
> the provenance of agents is of interest, making people and
organizations
> PIL:things that have an agent role in a process seems like a
possible/useful
> approach.
> >
> > However agents are modeled, I think it is important to have a way to
describe
> their provenance...
> >
> > Jim
> >
> >  > -----Original Message-----
> >  > From: public-prov-wg-request@w3.org
> > <mailto:public-prov-wg-request@w3.org> [mailto:public-prov-wg-
> > <mailto:public-prov-wg->  > request@w3.org <mailto:request@w3.org>]
On
> > Behalf Of Graham Klyne  > Sent: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 2:56 AM  >
To:
> Zednik, Stephan T.
> >  > Cc: Luc Moreau; public-prov-wg@w3.org
> > <mailto:public-prov-wg@w3.org>  > Subject: Re: PROV-ISSUE-4:
Defining
> > Agent using FOAF's definition
> >
> >  >
> >  > Stephan Zednik wrote:
> >  > > A thing assumes the role of agent when actively participating
in
> > a > process  > execution?
> >  >
> >  > *If* the concept of an agent is needed, then I think this
approach is useful.
> >  > I.e. it's similar to the view discussion, more easily captured in
relations.
> >  >
> >  > But I think someone (Jim?) made a comment that the whole notion
of
> > an agent  > may not be needed if some of the other concepts can be
loosened
> up a little.
> >  >
> >  > #g
> >  > --
> >  >
> >  > Stephan Zednik wrote:
> >  > > Hi all,
> >  > >
> >  > > To answer Luc's question I originally intended to say that I
> > thought  > > an agent can be defined independently of process
> > execution and I  > > agreed that an agent should be a node whose
> > relationship to a process  > > execution should be defined by a
> control/participation/influence(?) edge.
> >  > >
> >  > > As I thought about it a bit more I began to wonder if agent was
> > better  > > described as a role (active participant) a thing takes
in
> > the context  > > of some specific action (in this case a process
> > execution). An agent  > > is definitely a thing, but is that thing
> > always an agent? Or is it an  > > agent within the context/scope of
the act it
> has participated in?
> >  > >
> >  > > A thing assumes the role of agent when actively participating
in
> > a  > > process execution?
> >  > >
> >  > > I think I am leaning towards making 'agent' status of a thing
>
> > > dependent upon active participation in a process execution.
> >  > >
> >  > > --Stephan
> >  > >
> >  > > On Jun 20, 2011, at 11:28 PM, Luc Moreau
> > <L.Moreau@ecs.soton.ac.uk <mailto:L.Moreau@ecs.soton.ac.uk>  > >
> <mailto:L.Moreau@ecs.soton.ac.uk <mailto:L.Moreau@ecs.soton.ac.uk>>>
> wrote:
> >  > >
> >  > >> Hi,
> >  > >>
> >  > >> Reiterating a previous comment I made, can an Agent be defined
> > > >> independently of process execution?
> >  > >>
> >  > >> We can use the definitions of Control/Participation to define
an
> > > >> agent's involvement in process execution.
> >  > >>
> >  > >> If we see agents/things/process executions as nodes and  > >>
> > Control/Generation/... as edges of a graph, it would be nice if
nodes
> > > >> could be defined independently of edges.
> >  > >>
> >  > >> Luc
> >  > >>
> >  > >>
> >  > >> On 21/06/11 02:33, Satya Sahoo wrote:
> >  > >>> Hi Paul and Stephan,
> >  > >>> In both your definitions, what criteria distinguishes an
"agent"
> >  > >>> from a "process" - in terms of "do stuff"/"active role or
> > produces a  > >>> specified effect"?
> >  > >>>
> >  > >>> Reviewing the candidate definitions of Agents, I see that
> > Jun's,  > >>> Khalid's and my definitions use an explicit reference
to
> > a process  > >>> (execution).
> >  > >>>
> >  > >>> What do you think?
> >  > >>>
> >  > >>> Thanks.
> >  > >>>
> >  > >>> Best,
> >  > >>> Satya
> >  > >>>
> >  > >>> On Mon, Jun 20, 2011 at 4:48 PM, Stephan Zednik <  > >>>
> > <mailto:zednis@rpi.edu <mailto:zednis@rpi.edu>>zednis@rpi.edu
> > <mailto:zednis@rpi.edu> <mailto:zednis@rpi.edu
<mailto:zednis@rpi.edu>>>
> wrote:
> >  > >>>
> >  > >>> I like this definition from the New Oxford American
Dictionary
> > > >>> because it ties in nicely with provenance  > >>>  > >>> "A
> > person on thing that takes an active role or produces a  > >>>
> > specified effect."
> >  > >>>
> >  > >>> --Stephan
> >  > >>>
> >  > >>> On Jun 20, 2011, at 2:08 PM, Paul Groth wrote:
> >  > >>>
> >  > >>> > Hi All,
> >  > >>> >
> >  > >>> > What would people think of just adopting FOAF's definition
of
> > > >>> Agent for now:
> >  > >>> >
> >  > >>> > The Agent class is the class of agents; things that do
stuff.
> > A  > >>> well known sub-class is Person, representing people. Other
> > kinds  > >>> of agents include Organization and Group.
> >  > >>> >
> >  > >>> >
> >  > >>> > thanks,
> >  > >>> > Paul
> >  > >>> >
> >  > >>> >
> >  > >>>
> >  > >>>
> >  > >>>
> >  >
> >
> 
> 
> --
> 
> --------------------------------------------------------------
>   Dr. Martin Doerr              |  Vox:+30(2810)391625        |
>   Research Director             |  Fax:+30(2810)391638        |
>                                 |  Email: martin@ics.forth.gr |
>                                                               |
>                 Center for Cultural Informatics               |
>                 Information Systems Laboratory                |
>                  Institute of Computer Science                |
>     Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH)   |
>                                                               |
>   Vassilika Vouton,P.O.Box1385,GR71110 Heraklion,Crete,Greece |
>                                                               |
>           Web-site: http://www.ics.forth.gr/isl               |
> --------------------------------------------------------------
> 
Received on Tuesday, 21 June 2011 20:06:33 GMT

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