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Re: Options we have with respect to the draft charters (i.e., RE: [fwd] Draft charters for work on Semantics for WS)

From: Bijan Parsia <bparsia@isr.umd.edu>
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2005 18:03:46 -0500
Message-Id: <00c23f4507301ffc9f12fcb19b6dfe76@isr.umd.edu>
Cc: public-sws-ig@w3.org
To: drew.mcdermott@yale.edu

On Nov 21, 2005, at 10:52 AM, Drew McDermott wrote:
>> [jeff@inf.ed.ac.uk]
>>
>> BTW, why is it said that "the current WSDL standard operates at the
>> syntactic level"?  What is any more semantic about the things that
>> are labelled "semantic"?
>
> By old and well established usage, "semantic" means "complex,
> expressive, insightful, ours," contrasted with "syntactic," which
> means "simple, weak, error-prone, theirs."

My fav example is "semantic description" vs. "syntactic description".

> It would be nice to avoid this term completely, but then we'd have to
> change the name "Semantic Web."

Call it the SWeb where "S" stands for "super".

Aside from this linguistic reflections, it is the case that WSDL 
descriptions are by design, intent, and happenstance rather thin. Even 
in the realm of the evil syntaticalist roaders, you see that (hence the 
panoply of WS-* specs and, of course, BPEL and WS-CDL). So, core WSDL 
does *not* describe many interesting aspects of a service. What is 
somewhat distinctive about various semantic web approaches is that 1) 
the use of preconditions and effects (conditional or otherwise) derived 
from planning and 2) logic based formalisms for categorization of 
services. Service taxonomies are present in things like UDDI, but tend 
not to be based on descriptions but on tagging (i.e., you always must 
asset what category you are in, perhaps with inheritance of 
supercategories).

I do think that grounding stuff on formal models can be useful (and, if 
you look at, e.g., XQuery (which has a formal semantics) or WSDL (which 
has a Z specification...much to the consternation of a chunk of the 
group :)), you'll see that there is some movement in this direction).

Extant semantic web languages are also interesting because they are 
differently expressive than what, I believe, a lot of folks are used 
to. Sometimes this can provide insight (e.g., 
<http://www.mindswap.org/2005/services-policies/>).

Cheers,
Bijan.
Received on Monday, 21 November 2005 23:04:05 GMT

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