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Re: Proposed response to Golbeck regarding imports issue

From: Peter F. Patel-Schneider <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 09:32:30 -0400 (EDT)
Message-Id: <20030617.093230.120551306.pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
To: hendler@cs.umd.edu
Cc: www-webont-wg@w3.org

From: Jim Hendler <hendler@cs.umd.edu>
Subject: Re: Proposed response to Golbeck regarding imports issue
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 08:18:40 -0400

> >
> >>  In certain contexts, I think OWL would be useful with some ontologies
> >>  preimported.
> >
> >Well, this would not be OWL.
> With due respect Peter, this must either be the dumbest thing I ever 
> heard you say or, more likely, we're somehow not understanding each 
> other.  Most of our tools enable the user to start with ontologies 
> pre-imported -- for example we are building a cancer research project 
> that starts from the NCI OWL Lite ontology.  It comes preloaded.  If, 
> on the other hand, we started from having the user hit a button and 
> import that ontology, it would not come preloaded.  I cannot see how 
> this would make any difference to whether something is OWL or not.
> My suspicion is there is some deeper issue which you are responding 
> to. If we're just arguing about how the term "is OWL" is used, then 
> it isn't worth much time, because the use of our vocabulary is out of 
> our control once we publish it.
>   -JH

Well, I am arguing over what it means to be an OWL reasoner.  

Suppose, for example, that I built a tool that took in a set of XML/RDF
documents (the premises) plus one other XML/RDF document (the consequent)
and that always answered ``YES''.  It could claim that this was a reasoner
for OWL, but with the following ontology preimported:

	<owl:ObjectProperty rdf:about="#foo" />
  	      <owl:onProperty rdf:resource="#foo" />
	      <owl:maxCardinality rdf:datatype="xsd:NonNegativeInteger">
  	      <owl:onProperty rdf:resource="#foo" />
	      <owl:minCardinality rdf:datatype="xsd:NonNegativeInteger">

Is this a reasonable thing to do?  Of course not.  However, it is up to us
to ensure that our specs do not admit this as an OWL reasoner.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with someone claiming to have built to
tool that determines OWL entailment with the above ontology (or any other
collection of ontologies) added to the other premises.  Such a tool might
be quite useful.  It is just that this is not OWL, and should not be
advertised as OWL.

Peter F. Patel-Schneider
Bell Labs Research
Lucent Technologies
Received on Tuesday, 17 June 2003 09:32:41 UTC

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