W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org > June 2001

Re: log:forSome/#rdfms-identity-anon-resources

From: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 02:44:47 -0500
Message-ID: <3B36EBEF.763427CA@w3.org>
To: pat hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
CC: Brian McBride <bwm@hplb.hpl.hp.com>, w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org
pat hayes wrote:
[...]
> The RDF distinction between anonymous nodes and named nodes is
> logically invisible, as far as I can see.

I have been convinced otherwise. I'm still not certain,
but let's see if I can reproduce the argument
and its ability to convince...

> All nodes have an identity,
> so giving one of them a URI doesnt really change anything about it or
> what it means. All nodes could be non-anonymous and nothing would
> change in the meanings of any RDF. Anonymity seems to be a kind of
> syntactic sweetener which works by removing some bitterness rather
> than by adding sugar.

I think anonymous nodes have non-trivial expressive power.

In sum: skolemization is *not* a two-way street:
while a proof of a skolemized formula is generally
accepted as a proof of the formula with existential
quantifiers, it doesn't work the other way around.
You lose information when you replace an
existentially quanitified variable/term with
a URI.

In detail: let's suppose you're buying a book.
You transmit, to the bookseller, a description
of the book you want to buy; roughly,
"it's by Barnsley and it's called
Fractals Everywhere. I want it in
hardback, tomorrow."

Formally, in n-triples:

---8<---
_:g0 <http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/title> "Fractals Everywhere" .
_:g0 <http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/creator> "Barnsley" .
_:g0 <http://booksellers.example/vocab#binding>
<http://booksellers.example/vocab#hardback> .
_:g0     <http://booksellers.example/vocab#shipping>
<http://booksellers.example/vocab#nextDay> .
---8<---

In KIF, by my understanding of anonymous nodes:

---8<---
(exists (?x0 )
 (and 
  (PropertyValue http\:\/\/purl\.org\/dc\/elements\/1\.1\/title
     ?x0
     "Fractals Everywhere")
  (PropertyValue http\:\/\/purl\.org\/dc\/elements\/1\.1\/creator
     ?x0
     "Barnsley")
  (PropertyValue http\:\/\/booksellers\.example\/vocab\#binding
     ?x0
     http\:\/\/booksellers\.example\/vocab\#hardback)
  (PropertyValue http\:\/\/booksellers\.example\/vocab\#shipping
     ?x0
     http\:\/\/booksellers\.example\/vocab\#nextDay)
) )
---8<---

Now if I use something like Sergey's algorithm[1,2]
to compute a URI for this anonymous term, I get
something like:

---8<---
<http://skolem.example#432oj34oij2o3ijo23j>    
<http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/title> "Fractals Everywhere" .
<http://skolem.example#432oj34oij2o3ijo23j>    
<http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/creator> "Barnsley" .
<http://skolem.example#432oj34oij2o3ijo23j>    
<http://booksellers.example/vocab#binding>
<http://booksellers.example/vocab#hardback> .
<http://skolem.example#432oj34oij2o3ijo23j>    
<http://booksellers.example/vocab#shipping>
<http://booksellers.example/vocab#nextDay> .
---8<---

i.e. in KIF:

---8<---
 (and 
  (PropertyValue http\:\/\/purl\.org\/dc\/elements\/1\.1\/title
     http\:\/\/skolem\.example\#432oj34oij2o3ijo23j
     "Fractals Everywhere")
  (PropertyValue http\:\/\/purl\.org\/dc\/elements\/1\.1\/creator
     http\:\/\/skolem\.example\#432oj34oij2o3ijo23j
     "Barnsley")
  (PropertyValue http\:\/\/booksellers\.example\/vocab\#binding
     http\:\/\/skolem\.example\#432oj34oij2o3ijo23j
     http\:\/\/booksellers\.example\/vocab\#hardback)
  (PropertyValue http\:\/\/booksellers\.example\/vocab\#shipping
     http\:\/\/skolem\.example\#432oj34oij2o3ijo23j
     http\:\/\/booksellers\.example\/vocab\#nextDay)
)
---8<---

Now suppose the bookseller's inventory database shows:

---8<---
<http://booksRus.example/inv2001-06-25#item342323>
<http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/title> "Fractals Everywhere" .
<http://booksRus.example/inv2001-06-25#item342323>
<http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/creator> "Barnsley" .
<http://booksRus.example/inv2001-06-25#item342323>
<http://booksellers.example/vocab#binding>
<http://booksellers.example/vocab#hardback> .
<http://booksRus.example/inv2001-06-25#item342323>    
<http://booksellers.example/vocab#shipping>
<http://booksellers.example/vocab#nextDay> .
---8<---

i.e.

---8<---
(and 
  (PropertyValue http\:\/\/purl\.org\/dc\/elements\/1\.1\/title
     http\:\/\/booksRus\.example\/inv2001\-06\-25\#item342323
     "Fractals Everywhere")
  (PropertyValue http\:\/\/purl\.org\/dc\/elements\/1\.1\/creator
     http\:\/\/booksRus\.example\/inv2001\-06\-25\#item342323
     "Barnsley")
  (PropertyValue http\:\/\/booksellers\.example\/vocab\#binding
     http\:\/\/booksRus\.example\/inv2001\-06\-25\#item342323
     http\:\/\/booksellers\.example\/vocab\#hardback)
  (PropertyValue http\:\/\/booksellers\.example\/vocab\#shipping
     http\:\/\/booksRus\.example\/inv2001\-06\-25\#item342323
     http\:\/\/booksellers\.example\/vocab\#nextDay)
)
---8<---


This information from the inventory database clearly
provides a match (i.e. a proof, or the interesting
bits of one, anyway) for the
description of the book stated as a formula involving
an existentially quantified variable, ?x0.

But it doesn't match/prove the formula where _:g0
is replaced by the skolem constant
<http://skolem.example#432oj34oij2o3ijo23j> .

So an RDF document with anonymous nodes is *not*
interchangeable with a skolemized version of that document.
Q.E.D.


I think this is the important part of Pat's message
that I disagree with is:

> RDF is supposed to 
> consist of assertions, not equations, and they are pretty simple 
> assertions of the logical form (V s o) . Those s's and o's are 
> logical names = logical constants, ie they denote things, one thing 
> each in a given interpretation. Now, logical names are *just* like 
> existentially quantified variables where the quantifers are at the 
> top level (the only level there is in RDF), ie not inside any 
> universal quantifiers.

The s's and o's would be just logical constants if we
left out anonymous/existentially-quantified terms.
But RDF does have such terms, as demonstrated above.
And the semantics of such terms is non-trivially
different from the semantics of constants:
an existentially quantified formula is satisfied
by an interpretation if there's *some* thing
you can bind the existential term to that makes
it work out. Skolemizing the formula reduces
the number of interpretations that satisify the
formula. It's one of those things that usually
works "without loss of generality," but doesn't,
in the case of RDF; i.e. in the case when constant
symbols that are shared between documents.




p.s. This message is really about an existing issue
http://www.w3.org/2000/03/rdf-tracking/#rdfms-identity-anon-resources

The fact that there are graphs involving anonymous nodes
that are not expressible in RDF/XML is, I agree, another
issue; one that, I'm afraid, belongs in the
postpone-to-next-version pile.

[1] Re: RDF API 1.0 Draft / algorithm for anonymous URIs
Sergey Melnik (Wed, 08 Dec 1999) 
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-rdf-interest/1999Dec/0046.html

[2] what I actually used was random scratching at the keyboard ;-)

-- 
Dan Connolly, W3C http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/
Received on Monday, 25 June 2001 03:46:04 EDT

This archive was generated by hypermail pre-2.1.9 : Wednesday, 3 September 2003 09:37:15 EDT