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Re: vocabulary simplification: two proposals to vote on [deadline, Oct 26 midnight, GMT]

From: Luc Moreau <L.Moreau@ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2011 20:41:09 +0000
To: Jim McCusker <mccusj@rpi.edu>
CC: Paolo Ncl <paolo.missier@newcastle.ac.uk>, Provenance Working Group WG <public-prov-wg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <EMEW3|9dfbde2a77df4999f97b2748812d6693n9PLfZ08L.Moreau|ecs.soton.ac.uk|2D9109BA-34D8-42E1-A1F9-62BD0F6AD814@ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Yes, but the OED definition of activity does not imply agency.

Professor Luc Moreau
Electronics and Computer Science
University of Southampton 
Southampton SO17 1BJ
United Kingdom

On 26 Oct 2011, at 20:24, "Jim McCusker" <mccusj@rpi.edu> wrote:

> My point is that a process execution might not have an agent. Not that
> the agent is unknown, but that there is no controlling entity that
> caused the process to occur. Reza mentioned the idea of natural forces
> as agents. Maybe that's fine. I'm just not sure that that will be
> understandable to people who aren't familiar with control systems
> theory (like myself).
> 
> Jim
> 
> On Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 3:03 PM, Luc Moreau <L.Moreau@ecs.soton.ac.uk> wrote:
>> I don't see what your objection is given the OED definition.
>> 
>> This said I think you have your own view of what constitutes agency.
>> 
>> In prov-dm, an agent is an entity capable of activity(see text).
>> A definition agreed at F2f1.
>> 
>> So, really, what's the issue?
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> Professor Luc Moreau
>> Electronics and Computer Science
>> University of Southampton
>> Southampton SO17 1BJ
>> United Kingdom
>> 
>> On 26 Oct 2011, at 17:44, "Jim McCusker" <mccusj@rpi.edu> wrote:
>> 
>>> No, there isn't. Stellar formation doesn't happen because of specific
>>> agency, it just happens as an effect of gravity and having the right
>>> mass in the right place at the right time. Things happen all the time
>>> that have no agency - weather is a perfect example.
>>> 
>>> Jim
>>> 
>>> On Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 11:27 AM, Luc Moreau <L.Moreau@ecs.soton.ac.uk> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>> Hi Jim,
>>>> 
>>>> That's what my OED says:
>>>> 
>>>> A condition in which things are happening or being done.
>>>> 
>>>> Is there a notion of agency when we say "things are happening"?
>>>> 
>>>> Luc
>>>> 
>>>> On 10/26/2011 03:56 PM, Jim McCusker wrote:
>>>>> 
>>>>> Then not Event. But I think a key goal of our work is to find terms
>>>>> that align best with the intended usage. This makes it much easier for
>>>>> people who are coming to the model for the first time. It's perfect
>>>>> that we've started with concepts, but these concepts are being
>>>>> grounded in terminology, and that should align with the chosen,
>>>>> default language.
>>>>> 
>>>>> If someone can give me a counterexample where an act or activity
>>>>> doesn't have an implied actor, I'll withdraw my negative vote.
>>>>> 
>>>>> Jim
>>>>> 
>>>>> On Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 10:40 AM, Paolo Ncl
>>>>> <paolo.missier@newcastle.ac.uk>  wrote:
>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Hi,
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> I think we are in fact reading a bit too much into this. The intent was
>>>>>> to simplify and harmonize the key terms used in the model.  an agent may
>>>>>> play a part in the activity, and we do have a way to express that, but that
>>>>>> doesn't have to be (does that mean we cater to eastern cultures as well? :-)
>>>>>> )
>>>>>> But I strongly advise against using the term "event" to refer to
>>>>>> activities that have a time duration. Events already have a clear role to
>>>>>> play in the model, and have no duration.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Thanks, Paolo
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Sent from my iPad
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> On 26 Oct 2011, at 15:05, Jim McCusker<mccusj@rpi.edu>  wrote:
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> On Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 7:33 AM, Luc Moreau<L.Moreau@ecs.soton.ac.uk>
>>>>>>>  wrote:
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> JimMcC indicated that activity implied a notion of agency. I am not
>>>>>>>> familiar
>>>>>>>> with this
>>>>>>>> interpretation. Where does it come from? He suggests 'event', but this
>>>>>>>> term
>>>>>>>> is already in
>>>>>>>> the document (and will be the subject of a future clarification
>>>>>>>> proposal).
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> Activity (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/activity) is
>>>>>>> defined as a quality or state of being active. If you look at the
>>>>>>> examples at MW, all of them have some sort of agent or actor. There is
>>>>>>> one natural process example, which is that a volcano is active. Even
>>>>>>> in that case, the volcano is being considered an actor (which is fine
>>>>>>> in discourse, but isn't technically correct). The root word, "act",
>>>>>>> when used, requires an actor. An act can happen with an unknown actor,
>>>>>>> but there is always an entity that is behind an act.
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> Using this word to describe all events (including natural events),
>>>>>>> especially formally in a standard, gives the model a pre-scientific
>>>>>>> bais (the idea that a prime mover is needed, because all events are
>>>>>>> acts). Note that this is actually a western bais too, as many eastern
>>>>>>> traditions do not require a prime mover.
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> Maybe I'm reading far too much into this, but if we're looking to
>>>>>>> simplify, I would far prefer Event or Process (but with a clear
>>>>>>> explanation that it is a occurrent, not a specification of an
>>>>>>> occurrent) to Activity.
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> Jim
>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>> Jim McCusker
>>>>>>> Programmer Analyst
>>>>>>> Krauthammer Lab, Pathology Informatics
>>>>>>> Yale School of Medicine
>>>>>>> james.mccusker@yale.edu | (203) 785-6330
>>>>>>> http://krauthammerlab.med.yale.edu
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> PhD Student
>>>>>>> Tetherless World Constellation
>>>>>>> Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
>>>>>>> mccusj@cs.rpi.edu
>>>>>>> http://tw.rpi.edu
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> --
>>>> Professor Luc Moreau
>>>> Electronics and Computer Science   tel:   +44 23 8059 4487
>>>> University of Southampton          fax:   +44 23 8059 2865
>>>> Southampton SO17 1BJ               email: l.moreau@ecs.soton.ac.uk
>>>> United Kingdom                     http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~lavm
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> --
>>> Jim McCusker
>>> Programmer Analyst
>>> Krauthammer Lab, Pathology Informatics
>>> Yale School of Medicine
>>> james.mccusker@yale.edu | (203) 785-6330
>>> http://krauthammerlab.med.yale.edu
>>> 
>>> PhD Student
>>> Tetherless World Constellation
>>> Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
>>> mccusj@cs.rpi.edu
>>> http://tw.rpi.edu
>>> 
>> 
>> 
> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> Jim McCusker
> Programmer Analyst
> Krauthammer Lab, Pathology Informatics
> Yale School of Medicine
> james.mccusker@yale.edu | (203) 785-6330
> http://krauthammerlab.med.yale.edu
> 
> PhD Student
> Tetherless World Constellation
> Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
> mccusj@cs.rpi.edu
> http://tw.rpi.edu
Received on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 20:42:17 GMT

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