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Re: exchanging OWL through RIF

From: Michael Kifer <kifer@cs.sunysb.edu>
Date: Fri, 03 Mar 2006 12:03:52 -0500
To: edbark@nist.gov
Cc: Jim Hendler <hendler@cs.umd.edu>, RIF WG <public-rif-wg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <13023.1141405432@kiferserv.kiferhome.com>

> Jim Hendler wrote:
> >> 1 - Consider an organization like the  Natl Cancer Inst which has a 
> >> big OWL ontology (i.e. has a number of full time people working on 
> >> curation, versioning, etc).  They or some other org decide they'd like 
> >> to use it on databases and datasets for datacleansing or other "rule 
> >> based" operation.
> >>    Recoding the whole into a new rules language would be prohibitively 
> >> expensive unless there is some sort of automagic translator of some or 
> >> all of the RDFS/OWL they use.
> > 
> > This, I think, is more like what Ed was proposing.  
> It is.  The particular example that leapt to mind (with Jim's prompt) is
> converting elements of a medical ontology for a rule-based diagnostic tool.
> Interestingly, for this particular example, Michael may be right.  It may be 
> possible to organize the rules model for the diagnostic tool in such a way as 
> to consist partly of SPARQL(-like) queries on the NCI ontology.
> But it all depends on the "style" of the rules engineer for the tool.
> - one rules engineer would know that he wants his tool to work with the NCI 
> ontology directly and treat the NCI ontology as an external information base 
> accessed by "attached procedures", or maybe by something we invent that is 
> somewhat smarter.
> - another rules engineer would convert those NCI ontology elements needed by 
> the diagnostic tool into a form that could be used directly by the rules 
> engine, around, beside and among other rules.  That is, s/he would use the OWL 
> ontology to *extend* the rulebase.
> IMHO, each of these styles is "better" in certain circumstances:
>     The first creates an intrinsic dependence, possibly on a specific 
> site/service, for the diagnostic tool.  At the same time, it preserves the 
> separation of concerns -- the ontology can grow and become more detailed and 
> more accurate and the diagnostic tool in the field may profit from that 
> without modification.
>     The second creates tool independence, so that the diagnostician doesn't 
> have to have wireless access to use it. It allows the tool's rulebase to be 
> enriched from multiple sources, initially, and whenever the engineer finds and 
> encodes them, with the consequence that the diagnostic tool can do better than 
> any of the participating ontologies.  OTOH, it requires regular update by the 
> rules engineer to incorporate these enhancements, and field upgrade to the 
> installed base, even when the source is just the latest version of the 
> ontology the engineer started with.

Ed, two points:

1. It is actually the first style (call-based) that allows the use of
   multiple sources. The second (translation-based) is not easily amenable
   to that. If you have a standard translation from OWL and you use it to
   dump different ontologies into a rule-based format then you get a mess
   and all kinds of bad interactions between different formulas.

2. There are no FOL rule engines as far as I know. They currently exist on
   paper only. It is not at all certain that there will be. So, what is your
   target user group?

Received on Friday, 3 March 2006 17:04:04 UTC

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