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RE: owl:sameAs - Is it used in a right way?

From: Rich Cooper <rich@englishlogickernel.com>
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2013 11:07:18 -0700
To: "'David Booth'" <david@dbooth.org>, "'Pat Hayes'" <phayes@ihmc.us>
Cc: "'Alan Ruttenberg'" <alanruttenberg@gmail.com>, "'Jeremy J Carroll'" <jjc@syapse.com>, 'Umutcan ŞİMŞEK' <s.umutcan@gmail.com>, "'Kingsley Idehen'" <kidehen@openlinksw.com>, <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>
Message-ID: <1B629CF32B89436EB1FBB538C65F8941@Gateway>
Dear David,

I agree with you that the interpretations are not
singular.  I have had a lot of experience in how
systems engineers (degreed, smart people) write
specifications, and then how software engineers
(also degreed smart people) interpret the
specifications. At Hughes, projects typically
involved about eight systems engineers talking to
customer representatives in DoD, and about thirty
software engineers reading the written
specifications and designing the software to
implement them.  

Dr. Randy Jensen studied numerous projects
throughout Hughes, which was the sixth largest
employer in California at the time ('80s).  He
concluded that the differences among individual
engineers were responsible for the vast range of
interpretations which worked their way into the
software, and the system was eventually fielded
with those various interpretations still somewhat
intact.  One of his conclusions was that adding
another engineer to a project would make it later,
not earlier, in delivery.  

The problem is simply this: every person who
interprets the spec comes away with an
interpretation all his own.  Very little of the
systems engineer's "intent" made much sense to the
individual software engineers, who projected their
own intents onto the specification.  That
subjectivity is the explanation why
interpretations vary so much.  

Its not the author's intent that is important for
construal; it's the reader's intent that is most
represented in each interpretation.  


Rich Cooper
Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com
9 4 9 \ 5 2 5 - 5 7 1 2

-----Original Message-----
From: David Booth [mailto:david@dbooth.org] 
Sent: Monday, March 25, 2013 12:18 PM
To: Pat Hayes
Cc: Alan Ruttenberg; Jeremy J Carroll; Umutcan
ŞİMŞEK; Kingsley Idehen;
Subject: Re: owl:sameAs - Is it used in a right

Hi Pat,

On 03/25/2013 01:28 AM, Pat Hayes wrote:
> On Mar 24, 2013, at 10:41 PM, David Booth wrote:
[ . . . ]
 >> Given n interpretations and n graphs, it is
perfectly valid to use
>> the RDF Semantics to determine the truth-values
of each of those n
>> graphs relative to those n interpretations,
without in any way
>> violating the spec.
> Well, yes, the spec does not actually say
anything about what anyone
> *does*. So there is no law against doing this,
so to speak.

Thank you!

> But
> calling it "valid" is a stretch. The RDF
semantic specification is
> intended to define a model theory, to be used to
specify a semantics
> in the way conventionally used throughout formal
logic, and as
> described in many textbooks. What you are
suggesting here is not
> using the specification in this way, as a model
theory, so it is a
> mis-use of the specification. For example, using
your ideas, none of
> the inference rules provided in the 2004
specification would be
> valid.
> Clearly, however, you are immune to

Well, there's the pot calling the kettle black!

> so I think I will
> give up at this point. If you wish to misuse the
specifications in
> pursuit (a vain pursuit, I will add) of some
half-baked fantasy of
> your own, I guess there is nothing I or anyone
else can do to stop
> you.

Fantasy?  [Musing: "There exists a fantasy world
in which each URI 
denotes the same resource in *every* RDF graph,
and although multiple 
interpretations are permitted, which would map the
same URI to different 
resources, discussing more than one interpretation
at a time is strictly 
forbidden . . . ."]

It would be absurd to claim that determining the
truth-values of both 
I1(G1) and I2(G2), where I1 and I2 are different
interpretations and G1 
and G2 are different graphs, somehow constitutes a
"misuse" of the RDF 
Semantics spec.

Look, *you* may not like using the RDF Semantics
spec this way.  But I 
think you are selling your work short by
discouraging others from doing 
so.  The spec is an excellent piece of work and
there is significant 
value in taking a birds-eye view of it and
recognizing that it can be 
used in more real-life ways than you initially

The fact that the RDF Semantics spec was written
in the style of model 
theory is all fine and dandy.  I think it works
pretty well.  But it is 
**completely irrelevant** to the spec's purpose.
The spec could just as 
well have been written in any other sufficiently
precise style -- 
denotational semantics, operational semantics,
whatever -- and still 
serve the exact same purpose: to define a standard
way of determining 
the truth-value of any RDF graph, given any

To claim that the model theoretic style in which
the RDF Semantics spec 
was written has any bearing whatsoever on the
spec's purpose or its 
"appropriate use" would be a serious
misrepresentation of its role as a 
W3C standard.

David Booth
Received on Tuesday, 26 March 2013 18:07:52 UTC

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