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Re: Owl Rules and RDF Semantics

From: Drew McDermott <drew.mcdermott@yale.edu>
Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2003 20:25:46 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <200311110125.hAB1Pku02251@pantheon-po04.its.yale.edu>
To: www-rdf-interest@w3.org, www-rdf-logic@w3.org


   [me]
   > > The mechanism for encoding languages in RDF should be independent of
   >   any particular language.  There are two basic requirements for
   >   encoding a language in RDF: Make sure the triples in the encoded
   >   version don't actually say anything in the domain being encoded; and
   >   figure out a way to handle bound (or free) variables.  There are
   >   several proposals on the table (I should mention the RDF encoding of
   >   RuleML).  It would clarify things if W3C would endorse a standard.
   >   It would be easier to compare languages without being distracted by
   >   the details of encodings.

   [Peter Patel-Schneider]
   Hmm.  I'm not too sure about this.  What is the cost of having different
   kinds of encodings for different languages?  I don't think that it is very
   high.

Well, it's like having everybody agree to use parentheses in p(a,b)
instead of some people write p<a,b> or p{a,b}.  Granted, not everybody
will, but it simplifies life to think a new language in terms of its
important differences from old ones; trivial differences just
obfuscate things.  If everyone agrees to call the left-hand side of an
implication its "antecedent" (instead of its "condition" or "if-part"
or whatever), then the relationships among languages become clearer.

   ...

   I agree that not worrying about how to encode a logical language in RDF
   triples would result in much better papers about Semantic Web languages.

   I'm not sure that this is the solution however.  I would instead say that
   the adherence to RDF as the syntax for the Semantic Web is a serious
   hindrance to its widespeard adoption.  (I have tried to play with the rules
   as they have been laid down by W3C, and have found them very constraining
   and time-wasting.)  

   Why bother to even have an encoding of a Semantic Web language in RDF if
   the only benefit is some partial syntactic compatability?  

This question occurred to me after I sent my message.  If RDF is being
used only to encode another language, and if user tools allowed people
to think in terms of the actual language, not the encoding substrate,
then RDF could disappear and no one would notice.  A large number of
people don't want that to happen, so tools have to allow at least some
of the content to be expressed direclty in RDF.

   I might even go so far as to say that it would be a good idea to even step
   outside of XML, but this would be even more heretical.

I'll pretend I didn't hear that.

                                             -- Drew

-- 
                                   -- Drew McDermott
                                      Yale Computer Science Department
Received on Monday, 10 November 2003 20:25:48 GMT

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