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Fwd: SWSL declarative semantics

From: Bijan Parsia <bparsia@isr.umd.edu>
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2003 21:47:48 -0500
To: public-sw-meaning@w3.org
Message-Id: <17878798-1BCD-11D8-82E3-0003936A0B26@isr.umd.edu>

Hi folks,

I got permission from Michael Kifer to forward this to this list. It 
seems to fit in with some of our discussions. Hmm. at first glance, I 
thought it might support a "comments count" view, or my own point about 
the gensym fallacy fallacy, but i see that it might be more against 
axiomatic approaches.

Bijan Parsia.

Begin forwarded message:

> From: kifer@cs.stonybrook.edu (Michael Kifer)
> Date: Thu Nov 20, 2003  6:01:24 PM US/Eastern
> To: swsl-committee@daml.org (Semantic Web Services Language Committee)
> Subject: SWSL declarative semantics
> As promised, here is are a few thoughts on the nature of the 
> declarative
> semantics that we need for SWSL. This is a summary of a discussion 
> that we
> had with Karl at ODBASE-03 in Sicily 2wks ago.
> Currently, the General Requirements section states that SWSL should 
> have
>     "declarative semantics, in the typical sense used in knowledge
>     representation where the meaning may be expressed in a
>     logical framework that establishes overall principles of what
>     conclusions are sancitoned from a set of premises".
> We felt that in the SW environment, it is inadequate to have semantics
> that simply sanctions conclusions. The problem is that a 
> model-theoretic
> semantics by itself doesn't guarantee that all users have shared
> understanding of the language constructs and thus use the language
> correctly, especially if the logic language at hand is not sufficiently
> high level and its semantics is given though a complex set of axioms.
> So, we believe that there is a need for an informal conceptual model 
> (not
> unlike conceptual modeling in databases) that closely corresponds to 
> the
> human perception of objects, classification, processes, etc. (e.g.,
> UML-like). The language should then have constructs to represent the
> concepts of that model directly and the formal model-theoretic 
> semantics of
> these concepts should be natural. By "natural" we mean that a 
> reasonable
> technically competent person should agree that the formalization seems 
> to
> adequately reflect the informal semantics behind the conceptual model.
> In other words, we need to make sure that there is a path from informal
> human model of a particular task at hand down to the bowls of the
> formalism that underlies the reasoning engine. Human knowledge 
> engineers
> are not going to verify their programs using formal semantics, and in 
> most
> cases they won't even fully understand it. By providing a transition 
> path
> from the informal to the formal we can gain some confidence that the 
> users'
> informal use of the language is reasonably correct.
> This approach applies to Semantic Web in general, not just SWS.
> The above should probably be an objective rather than a requirement.
> 	--michael
Received on Thursday, 20 November 2003 21:47:55 UTC

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