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Re: "FAST" OWL and "Greater" OWL

From: Jonathan Borden <jonathan@openhealth.org>
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2002 23:18:48 -0400
Message-ID: <022901c26442$44ebabf0$7c674544@ne.mediaone.net>
To: "Peter F. Patel-Schneider" <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
Cc: <www-webont-wg@w3.org>

Peter F. Patel-Schneider wrote:
> >
> > The risk is that if Greater OWL is proven untenable, then we are left
> > Fast OWL. Sounds fine to me.
> Actually the burden of proof has to be the other way.  Large OWL has to be
> proven tenable to be the basis for a standard.

I shudder to say this, but there is no _requirement_ that Large OWL be
proven tenable to be the basis for a "standard" -- you assume that
"standardization" work is more precise than it is. I know of a number of
cases where we have pushed standards (real standards such as ASTM, ISO etc)
out the door somewhat prematurely with full knowledge that we can correct
the mistakes at a later date. My allusion to the IETF process what to
highlight this fact, for example the RFC process where an RFC spends quite a
long time as an RFC, and typically undergoes many many revisions, before it
has any prayer of being a real "Internet Standard".

In any case for the W3C REC process, there is _no requirement_ that the
model theory for Large OWL be proven tenable before our documents move to
full REC. More important are working implementations, test cases etc.

That's not to say that I advocate pushing something half baked out the door.
Rather I'd be quite comfortable saying (something like): Here is "Fast OWL"
which is well characterized and has good, fast implementations. Here is
"Large OWL" which we have high hopes for on the Semantic Web and which is
more consistent with the "RDFS way" of doing things. "Large OWL" remains a
research project for the following reasons...

I'm totally comfortable with such an approach.

> > What is the real problem with that except that
> > it requires a bit more work to develop _both_ model theories? (on the
> > hand if Pat is willing to take on this work then I for one am in no
> > to complain...)
> I have already put considerable work in on Large OWL, at least compared to
> the time I have available between now and the next deadline, so it is not
> matter of ``a bit more work''.

Fair enough. When I say "a bit more work", I say that with a wink. It is a
real issue about _how much_ work it will be and who has the spare cycles to
devote etc. This real cost has to be weighed against the potential benefits,
research contribution etc. e.g. is it going to be something interesting
enough for you (or whomever) to put your name on the document, and invest
the time to work at least some of the issues out.

I guess my question comes down to this: Assuming we have "Fast OWL" and it
works, what is the downside of "Large OWL" even if it is proven not to work
in the future. I'd say that implementors, as long as they are made aware
that "Large OWL" may not pan out, would be taking a risk that their hard
work will be a waste of time. On the other hand there are scores of
implementors willing to put in the time on RDF/RDFS without even having a
model theory of any sort, so these folks already seem willing to take these
risks. Again, assuming that we have "Fast OWL", why do I care if "Large OWL"
doesn't work? (speaking loosely).

Received on Tuesday, 24 September 2002 23:36:38 UTC

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