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Model Semantics, Representation Syntax, and Systems Integration

From: Kingsley Idehen <kidehen@openlinksw.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2010 10:21:04 -0500
Message-ID: <4CDAB860.9040407@openlinksw.com>
To: "public-lod@w3.org" <public-lod@w3.org>
On 11/10/10 9:53 AM, doug foxvog wrote:
> On Wed, November 10, 2010 2:36, Alex Shkotin said:
>> Doug,
>> you are absolutely right,
>> we need semantic layer communication protocol.
Doug,

If you don't mind, I've changed the heading as GoodRelations subject 
line no longer reflects the important conversation that's taking shape.

I've also cc'd in the LOD mailing list as this conversation is quite 
relevant to other conversation taking shape re. Model Semantics, 
Representation Syntax, and the art of Systems Integration.

As for the wrapper approach, from a person with deep middleware DNA, 
yep! Integration has to occur via Model rather than Syntax mapping.

Using an EAV model as our base is the only reason why we've been able to 
transform 80+ data sources into bona fide Linked Data sources (EAV model 
+ HTTP URIs ).

HTTP content negotiation enables us to serve the aforementioned 
Descriptions in a variety of data formats that include the RDF, OData, 
GData, CSV, etc..

Alan / John: maybe we could use this thread to arrive at obvious common 
ground re. data integration and the diminishing need for a syntax level 
lingua franca.

Others:

Read on..
> At the semantic level, only the semantics of the communication need to be
> described.  The syntax of the encoding of the semantics should not be
> defined at this level.  Any semantic language could express the
> necessary communication.
>
> If some intermediate step in a remote querier for some system uses a
> semantic envelope for its communication, a local translator should
> convert it into whatever syntax the semantic web uses for communication.
> Such syntax should be invisible to the communicating systems, so it does
> not matter that it would not be encoded in ontologies and logic languages.
>
>> Preferably a conversation is beginning on Simple English for people to
>> participate;-)
> Or Simple Finnish, Simple Mandarin, or Simple Hindi ...
>
> If a query subsystem were to express its handshaking semantically in
> some controlled natural language, there should be mappings from Simple X
> to the message protocol, but the protocol need not have grammatical
> features of even the controlled languages.
>
>> Like this:
>> IS1: what is a language to send you a query?
>> IS2: SPARQL.
>> IS1: Send me an answer in RDF/XML.
> I see no need for such low level protocol to be handled at a semantic
> level.  Note that IS2's response is not a semantic sentence expressed
> in a controlled language.  Its meaning is implicit in the context of
> the question.
>
> The initial query has also stepped beyond the semantics which IS1 is
> interested in, which is "What query languages does IS2 accept?" This
> could be answered from a local or remote database as well as by IS2,
> itself.
>
> The semantic content of such a conversation might be better phrased:
>
> IS1: What query languages does KnowledgeBase_IS2 accept?
> IS2 (or some KB that knows the answer):
>       IS2 accepts the query languages DQL, N3QL, SPARQL, SQL, and Versa.
>
> The wrapper for the query would include:
> IS1: This is a query using query language ____.
>       This is a query using syntax ____.
>       The ontology _____ is abbreviated -- in this query.
>       The ontology _____ is abbreviated -- in this query.
>       The ontology _____ is abbreviated -- in this query.
>       The ontology _____ is abbreviated -- in this query.
>       A response may be coded in semantic language _____.
>       A response may be coded in semantic language _____.
>       A response may be coded in semantic language _____.
>       A response may be coded in syntax _____.
>       A response may be coded in syntax _____.
>       A response may be coded in syntax _____.
>       A response is requested before _____ GMT.  ; day and time
>
> I would expect all of this to be transmitted in a compact form.
>
> -- doug f
>
>> Alex
>>
>> 2010/11/10 doug foxvog<doug@foxvog.org>
>>
>>> On Tue, November 9, 2010 10:23, John F. Sowa said:
>>>> On 11/9/2010 1:24 AM, Alex Shkotin wrote:
>>>>> What do we need for our information systems to communicate properly?
>>>>> Integration? Alignment? Unification? Information system education?
>>>> The first point I'd emphasize is that IT systems have been
>>> successfully
>>>> communicating for over a century. ...
>>>> When Arpanet was started in 1969, there had been a long history
>>>> of experience in data communication.  And the latest conventions
>>>> for the WWW are still based on extensions to those protocols.
>>> I think the question was intended to ask what is needed for information
>>> systems to communicate semantics properly.  Since the bit passing has
>>> been
>>> perfected, that is obviously not the question.
>>>
>>> Even given bit passing methods, the communication was more than just
>>> passing ones and zeros back and forth because the program on the
>>> receiving
>>> end expected a certain semantics for the bits it received.
>>>
>>>> But you never, ever want those formats to have the slightest
>>>> influence on the semantics.
>>> Agreed.
>>>
>>> My answer to what is needed for semantic communication between parties
>>> which have not previously been aware of each other is
>>> * A wrapper for the communication that identifies
>>>   + the ontologies being used
>>>   + the format of the communication
>>>   + possibly a reference to mappings between the specified ontologies
>>>     (if they are not "standard") and a standard ontologies.
>>> * A system for the sending system to generate such a wrapper.
>>> * A system for the receiving system
>>>   + to interpret such a wrapper
>>>   + to convert the format into a standard format used locally
>>>   + to use the information about the used ontologies to
>>>     - obtain the mappings of the input ontologies to standard ontologies
>>>       : either from the wrapper
>>>       : or from a source which can be found given the ontology IDs
>>>     - either convert the incoming data to a local ontology
>>>     - or obtain the ontologies and use them locally with the incoming
>>> info
>>>     - convert the incoming communication format to a locally used one
>>>
>>>> The decision to force OWL into the
>>>> same straitjacket as RDF was hopelessly misguided. In fact, even
>>>> the decision to force decidability down the throats of every
>>>> ontologist was another profoundly misguided technology-driven
>>>> decision. ...
>>> Agreed.
>>>
>>>>> What kind of language and dictionary we need to write question?
>>> SPARQL?
>>>>> What kind of language  and dictionary we need to write answer? XML,
>>> CSV?
>>>
>>>> Use whatever notation is appropriate for your application.  But you
>>>> must design the overall system in such a way that the choice for one
>>>> application is *invisible* to anybody who is designing or using some
>>>> other application.
>>> Sure, but the overall system must either have one (or several) notations
>>> that it uses for communication (either translating input from other
>>> notations into an approved notation or requiring communicating systems
>>> to use its notation) or each transmitting system must translate its
>>> communication into the format desired by the recipient, or each
>>> receiving
>>> system must be designed to accept any query language (which would not be
>>> possible).
>>>
>>> The simplest method seems to specify communication protocols, just as
>>> the WWW, SWIFT, and EDI systems have done, and let applications
>>> programmers
>>> design the interfaces which convert a local systems ontologies,
>>> questions,
>>> and knowledge bases into the standard protocol.
>>>
>>> As John says below, the ontologist should not have to be concerned with
>>> such low-level detail.  However, those designing the SW need to design
>>> an
>>> interface and wrapper with such capabilities.  (imho)
>>>
>>>> Of course, there may be some cases where real-time constraints make it
>>>> necessary to avoid a conversion routine between two systems.  But that
>>>> is a very low-level optimization that should never affect the
>>> semantics.
>>>> For example, when was the last time that you thought about the packet
>>>> transmissions for your applications?  Some system programmers worry
>>>> about those things a lot.  But they're invisible at the semantic
>>> level.
>>>>> Where is your SPARQL end point at least?
>>>> When you are thinking about semantics, any thought about the
>>>> difference between SPARQL, SQL, or some bit-level access to data
>>>> is totally irrelevant.  Please remember that commercial DB systems
>>>> provide all those ways of accessing the data if some programmer
>>>> who works down at the bit level needs them.  But anybody who is
>>>> working on semantics should never think about them (except in
>>>> those very rare cases when they go down to the subbasement to
>>>> talk with system programmers about real-time constraints.)
>>>>
>>>>> JS: "but every application will have... different vocabularies, and
>>>>> different
>>>>> dialects." Inside. But with a stranger we usually change language to
>>>>> common.
>>>> Not necessarily.  Sometimes you learn their language, they learn
>>>> your language, or you bring a translator with you.
>>> This emphasizes that such translators are necessary.  With N overlapping
>>> ontologies, this could require up to order N^2 translators.  However
>>> with
>>> one or several standard inter-lingua ontologies, only order N
>>> translators
>>> would be necessary.
>>>
>>> -- doug f
>>>
>>>> But it's essential to distinguish three kinds of languages:
>>>> natural languages, computer languages, and logic.
>>>>
>>>> ...
>>>> Bottom line:  The distinction between logic and ontology is so
>>>> important that you should never confuse people with extraneous
>>>> issues about bit strings, angle brackets, or even decidability.
>>>> John
>>>
>>> ============================================================>  doug
>>> foxvog    doug@foxvog.org   http://ProgressiveAustin.org
>>>
>>> "I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great
>>> initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours."
>>>     - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
>>> ============================================================>
>>>
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>
> =============================================================
> doug foxvog    doug@foxvog.org   http://ProgressiveAustin.org
>
> "I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great
> initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours."
>      - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
> =============================================================
>
>
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-- 

Regards,

Kingsley Idehen	
President&  CEO
OpenLink Software
Web: http://www.openlinksw.com
Weblog: http://www.openlinksw.com/blog/~kidehen
Twitter/Identi.ca: kidehen
Received on Wednesday, 10 November 2010 15:21:41 UTC

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