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Re: Cross-ontologies reasoning

From: Graham Klyne <GK@ninebynine.org>
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 2003 11:00:51 +0000
Message-Id: <>
To: Bijan Parsia <bparsia@isr.umd.edu>, "Ugo Corda" <UCorda@SeeBeyond.com>
Cc: <public-sws-ig@w3.org>

At 18:21 20/12/03 -0500, Bijan Parsia wrote:
>Interesting, code sharing exactly occurred to me as a relevant thing to 

I don't know if this is a useful perspective, but I've noticed that code 
sharing seems to be much easier when programming in Haskell compared with 
(say) Java or C.  I find I can generally pick up third-party functions and 
just use them, more easily than with more conventional programming languages.

I can imagine two possible contributors to this effect:

(a) ultimately, many Haskell expressions are just values, so in some 
respects they're closer to data than to code.  There isn't a procedural 
aspect to get in the way (e.g. no need to coordinate passage through the 
"von Neumann bottleneck"? cf. [1])

(b) the type system (being highly polymorphic, having much in common with 
ML and friends) permits, even encourages, typing details that are not 
relevant to some function to be left unspecified.

I'm not sure if this has anything to say about ontology sharing.  Maybe 
that reducing assumptions made by any given ontology makes it easier to 
share?  (Hmmm... that sounds almost obvious.)


[1] J. Backus, Can programming be liberated from the von Neumann style? A 
functional style and its algebra of programs, Communications of the ACM 21 
(August 1978) pages 613-641.

At 18:21 20/12/03 -0500, Bijan Parsia wrote:

>On Dec 20, 2003, at 2:34 PM, Ugo Corda wrote:
>>But let's look at something much simpler and down to earth: the goal of 
>>code sharing. It has been discussed for so many years within the computer 
>>community, and in theory it makes so much sense. But the reality has been 
>>very disappointing so far. Ontology sharing has some of the 
>>characteristics of code sharing, and I would like to understand what 
>>would make ontology sharing much more successful than code sharing.
>Interesting, code sharing exactly occurred to me as a relevant thing to 
>But is it really analogous? Ontologies (at least, in OWL) are much more 
>like data than they are like code. And code reuse is harder (especially 
>with the sorts of relatively intractably analyzable languages in common 
>So whew! It reduces to the the data integration problem.
>Oh wait....shoot :)
>Less sillily, I *think* it'll be hard for languages like OWL to do much 
>worse than XML
>Take that as comfort or despair inducing, as your nature dictates :)
>Bijan Parsia.

Graham Klyne
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Received on Wednesday, 24 December 2003 09:57:13 UTC

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