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Re: Renaming of ProcessExecution to Activity

From: Simon Miles <simon.miles@kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2011 17:16:27 +0000
Message-ID: <CAKc1nHcVVEHbAXPrn39UN+9UVpNzgUdJ_X+cQ6uEDD5rKk22FA@mail.gmail.com>
To: Provenance Working Group WG <public-prov-wg@w3.org>
Hello Jim, Stian,

I'd like to defend 'activity', just because I like the term :-)

As I would commonly use the word, activity often means "something
active" rather than "actions performed by an actor". You can look up
in the sky and see some activity, but it may just be the clouds
moving, and the 'activity' does not refer to whatever is moving them.
Same for 'execution': it could imply an executor, or could just mean
some plan being executed. Same for 'transition': we may infer that
something has to have caused the transition, but that is not what the
transition itself refers to.

And I don't see any difficulty describing your examples as activity.
On the roof, there must have been some activity taking place,
otherwise nothing would have changed and it wouldn't now be wet. This
just means something was active, not that there was an actor. And
'transition' would not imply the right thing: a transition is just the
state before and after, while an activity is something that can be
described in more detail by another account.

The term 'disease activity' is commonly used to describe the
appearance, quantity or intensity of symptoms in a patient, which
seems an entirely compatible reading of your example: it is the
process of the disease becoming active (or more active). It *could*
imply an actor, possibly the disease, possibly the patient's immune
system, possibly an exacerbating factor, but the 'activity' does not
refer to this actor itself.

Anyway, that's my reflections on how I use a word, and why I think it
fits the Prov-DM concept required.


On 2 December 2011 16:42, Jim McCusker <mccusj@rpi.edu> wrote:
> On Fri, Dec 2, 2011 at 10:21 AM, Stian Soiland-Reyes
> <soiland-reyes@cs.manchester.ac.uk> wrote:
>> Perhaps the two of us can accept Activity for now, but have in the
>> back of our mind to try to think of any good "no agent, not an
>> activity" examples which would easily be described with PROV. I'm not
>> sure if the provenance of a glacier is the best fit..  :)
>> I mainly objected because of the preferred style of using
>> PEs/activities to model "state transitions" between static entities
>> which are representing "the same thing in the world". If
>> :roofWithWater is derived from :dryRoof and :rain - then there was now
>> an "activity" called Raining which caused the transition - but who
>> performs the Raining activity? The rain? The weather? The cloud? The
>> roof?
> That should be describable using PROV.
> One example that is useful to think about is a genetic disorder like
> Huntington's Disease. HD is a mutation in the gene that codes for
> huntingtin, and is deterministic: it will show up when it's going to, and
> won't really be affected by environment or behavior. We should be able to
> say things like:
> activity(HDOnsetInJohnDoe,HuntingtonsDisease,12/1/2011)
> entity(JohnDoeBeforeHDOnset)
> used(HDOnsetInJohnDoe,JohnDoeBeforeHDOnset)
> entity(JohnDoeBeforeHDOnset,[hasSymptom=Chorea])
> wasGeneratedBy(JohnDoeAfterHDOnset,HDOnsetInJohnDoe)
> No where in this event is an agent. Calling it an activity is very awkward
> because of this, IMO.
> Jim
> --
> Jim McCusker
> Programmer Analyst
> Krauthammer Lab, Pathology Informatics
> Yale School of Medicine
> james.mccusker@yale.edu | (203) 785-6330
> http://krauthammerlab.med.yale.edu
> PhD Student
> Tetherless World Constellation
> Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
> mccusj@cs.rpi.edu
> http://tw.rpi.edu

Dr Simon Miles
Lecturer, Department of Informatics
Kings College London, WC2R 2LS, UK
+44 (0)20 7848 1166

Modelling the Provenance of Data in Autonomous Systems:
Received on Friday, 2 December 2011 17:16:55 UTC

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