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Re: prov-dm derivation: three proposals to vote on (deadline Wednesday midnight GMT)

From: Simon Miles <simon.miles@kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2011 21:05:51 +0000
Message-ID: <CAKc1nHfBX6QTn41Z3dqb=WN6tpKjVZ3UkhTBDzGKjbkEoRGG-w@mail.gmail.com>
To: Provenance Working Group WG <public-prov-wg@w3.org>
Hi Paul,

I think you're mixing up dependedOn and wasEventuallyDerivedFrom?
According to the spec, wasEventuallyDerivedFrom/wasBasedOn is the
activity-independent derivation you describe. dependedOn is "a weaker
notion of derivation record" in the spec, i.e. the bottom of the


On 9 November 2011 20:51, Paul Groth <p.t.groth@vu.nl> wrote:
> Hi Simon,
> Err.. no. I think dependedUpon is useful. It's a way of saying
> derivation without implying that there's some activity underneath.
> I can imagine a hierarchy like
> wasBasedUpon
> ---dependedUpon
> ------derivedFrom
> I just don't get why you need wasBasedUpon?
> cheers,
> Paul
> Simon Miles wrote:
>> Hi Paul,
>> I take your question to be saying - can't we remove dependedUpon, right?
>> This was not something added by me, but I can sort of see the point of
>> it. If you query some provenance data, you might be looking for
>> connections, e.g. "find everyone who has been in contact or met
>> someone who has been in contact with suspected terrorist T". You are
>> not looking only for those that T has had some effect on, but merely
>> any leads to pursue in finding T. There are probably better examples
>> others can give.
>> No obviously better suggestion for wasEventuallyDerivedFrom as yet...
>> wasBasedOn?
>> Thanks,
>> Simon
>> On 9 November 2011 20:17, Paul Groth<p.t.groth@vu.nl>  wrote:
>>> Hi Simon,
>>> Couldn't you model the case of the banner image by saying that it was
>>> used in the activity that generated the page. There is no concrete
>>> derivation there?
>>> Also, do you have a better name for wasEventuallyDerivedFrom? :-)
>>> thanks,
>>> Paul
>>> Simon Miles wrote:
>>>> Hi Luc,
>>>> Responses interleaved.
>>>>> We didn't have transitivity on derivation because of the constraint on attributes but it was dropped last week.
>>>> Yes, but I thought that relaxation merely didn't constrain when
>>>> transitivity held, not that all derivation was transitive.
>>>>> If you think that we need a non-transitive relation wasEventuallyDerivedFrom, can you explain why?
>>>> I've been drafting some text for the primer on derivation that
>>>> includes an example:
>>>> "When one entity's existence, content, characteristics and so on are
>>>> at least partly due to another entity, then we say that the former is
>>>> derived from the latter. For example, one document may contain
>>>> material copied from another, a child is derived from his/her
>>>> ancestors, and a page displayed in a browser is derived from the same
>>>> page on the web server from which it was downloaded, as well as from
>>>> the designer's original sketches of what the page would look like.
>>>> There are different kinds of derivation expressible in Prov-DM.
>>>> Consider the case of the page in the browser above. It is derived from
>>>> the designer's sketch in the strictest sense, i.e. if the sketch had
>>>> been different so would the page. On the other hand, there are
>>>> entities that are part of the page's history but which did not inform
>>>> the content of that page, i.e. the page would have been the same even
>>>> if the earlier entity changed. For example, on creating the original
>>>> draft of the page, the designer may have included a banner image
>>>> saying "DRAFT - FOR REVIEW ONLY". This banner was not part of the
>>>> sketch, nor part of the published page downloaded to the browser, but
>>>> was part of the page's history, and while not affecting the browsed
>>>> page's content may have been a factor in its existence. Finally, in
>>>> some cases, we may be able to say not only that one entity was derived
>>>> from another, but also how it was derived, i.e. by what process
>>>> execution. For example, the page in the browser is derived from the
>>>> page on the web server because a download process sent the bytes of
>>>> the latter across an HTTP connection to the browser client.
>>>> In Prov-DM terms, we say that the page in the browser was eventually
>>>> derived from the sketch, depended on the banner image, and was derived
>>>> from the page on the web server due to the download process."
>>>> I still can't agree with Proposal 3 - dependedUpon and
>>>> wasEventuallyDerivedFrom seem distinct concepts and both important.
>>>>> Why do you come back on something you had agreed upon?
>>>> I'm not sure which agreement you are referring to?
>>>>> If you don't make the link to the PE, how can you decide which PE underpinned the derivation?
>>>> I don't always want to, I merely want to know from what something is
>>>> derived (I believe Paul said the same [1]).
>>>> But on reconsideration, I was wrong that A wasDerivedFrom B could be
>>>> captured by just A wasEventuallyDerivedFrom B, P used B and A
>>>> wasGeneratedBy P. I think the difference is only apparent when B
>>>> occurs multiple times in one account of A's history - if B only
>>>> occurred once, then I see no need for wasDerivedFrom as only P can be
>>>> the underpinning of the derivation. But in the case where an account
>>>> contains A dependedUpon B by multiple paths, then I agree
>>>> wasDerivedFrom states something otherwise inexpressible.
>>>> The Prov-O (Stian's) proposal for encoding wasDerivedFrom [2] looks
>>>> very like my proposed replacement, so might not resolve the ambiguous
>>>> situation mentioned above.
>>>>> To me, when generating provenance in a computational context, eg workflow, it's the only derivation that is grounded and can be verified.
>>>> Sorry, I'm not clear what you mean here - "only derivation" and not what?
>>>> thanks,
>>>> Simon
>>>> [1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-prov-wg/2011Nov/0170.html
>>>> [2] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-prov-wg/2011Nov/0126.html
>>>>> Professor Luc Moreau
>>>>> Electronics and Computer Science
>>>>> University of Southampton
>>>>> Southampton SO17 1BJ
>>>>> United Kingdom
>>>>> On 7 Nov 2011, at 17:57, "Simon Miles"<simon.miles@kcl.ac.uk>    wrote:
>>>>>> Hello Luc,
>>>>>> +1 for Proposal 1; 0 for Proposal 2; -1 for Proposal 3
>>>>>> Proposal 1 sounds fine, but in what way do Proposals 1 and 2 differ
>>>>>> from what exists at the moment?
>>>>>> More importantly, I can't see anything in the text about
>>>>>> wasEventuallyDerivedFrom being transitive, or see why it would be, so
>>>>>> why does Proposal 3 make sense?
>>>>>> With the two separate links, we are able to assert and query for an
>>>>>> actual connection between one entity's content and another's
>>>>>> (wasEventuallyDerivedFrom), while also allowing the entities involved
>>>>>> somewhere in an entity's history to be browsed (dependedUpon). This
>>>>>> seems to allow for two clear classes of use case for two common
>>>>>> interpretations of provenance.
>>>>>> The one I still don't see the value of is wasDerivedFrom. If you can
>>>>>> say that A wasEventuallyDerivedFrom B, that P used B and P generated
>>>>>> A, then what more is there to say? If wasDerivedFrom is just a
>>>>>> shortcut for this information, why is it significant enough to warrant
>>>>>> being added to the model? Why would you assert an account where you
>>>>>> can say A wasDerivedFrom B, because you know about P, but you do not
>>>>>> say P used B and P generated A?
>>>>>>>   From our earlier discussions, I understand the distinction of
>>>>>> derivation types, but wasDerivedFrom just seems a less useful and more
>>>>>> complex to understand version of wasEventuallyDerivedFrom.
>>>>>> Thanks,
>>>>>> Simon
>>>>>> On 7 November 2011 10:06, Luc Moreau<l.moreau@ecs.soton.ac.uk>    wrote:
>>>>>>> Dear all,
>>>>>>> Can you express your support or not for the following proposals. We will
>>>>>>> confirm
>>>>>>> the outcome at the teleconference.
>>>>>>> Best regards,
>>>>>>> Luc
>>>>>>> In the interest of simplification, we would like to make the following
>>>>>>> proposal about derivations in prov-dm.
>>>>>>> Context: prov-dm currently contains 3 different notions of
>>>>>>> derivations, in particular with names that are not intuitive.  The
>>>>>>> constraint derivation-attributes [1] prevented derivations to be
>>>>>>> transitive. These constraints were removed from the prov-dm document
>>>>>>> last week [2].
>>>>>>> Proposal 1. Transitive derivation is expressed using 'dependedUpon'
>>>>>>>               between two entities.  dependedUpon can be asserted or
>>>>>>> inferred.
>>>>>>> Proposal 2.  There exists a special case of derivation, where a
>>>>>>>                process execution is known or known to exist.  This is
>>>>>>> expressed using:
>>>>>>>                wasDerivedFrom(e2,e1,[pe, ...])  and its compact form
>>>>>>>                wasDerivedFrom(e2,e1).
>>>>>>>                Furthermore, there exists an inference:
>>>>>>>                wasDerivedFrom(e2,e1,[pe, ...]) implies dependedUpon(e2,e1).
>>>>>>> Proposal 3.  In the current version of the document,
>>>>>>> wasEventuallyDerivedFrom and dependedOn intended to
>>>>>>>                 express the same notion of (transitive) derivation, and
>>>>>>> thus can be
>>>>>>>                 removed as redundant.
>>>>>>> Instead of 3 relations wasDerivedFrom, wasEventuallyDerivedFrom, and
>>>>>>> dependedOn, we would now only have 2 relations wasDerivedFrom and
>>>>>>> dependedUpon. The awkward term 'wasEventuallyDerivedFrom' is also
>>>>>>> abandonned.  Overall, this should contribute towards a simplification
>>>>>>> of the model.
>>>>>>> Note: the text will describe the conditions under which the binary
>>>>>>> form of wasDerivedFrom is transitive.
>>>>>>> [1] http://www.w3.org/TR/2011/WD-prov-dm-20111018/#derivation-attributes
>>>>>>> [2] http://www.w3.org/2011/prov/meeting/2011-11-03#resolution_5
>>>>>> --
>>>>>> Dr Simon Miles
>>>>>> Lecturer, Department of Informatics
>>>>>> Kings College London, WC2R 2LS, UK
>>>>>> +44 (0)20 7848 1166
>>> --
>>> Dr. Paul Groth (p.t.groth@vu.nl)
>>> http://www.few.vu.nl/~pgroth/
>>> Assistant Professor
>>> Knowledge Representation&  Reasoning Group
>>> Artificial Intelligence Section
>>> Department of Computer Science
>>> VU University Amsterdam

Dr Simon Miles
Lecturer, Department of Informatics
Kings College London, WC2R 2LS, UK
+44 (0)20 7848 1166
Received on Wednesday, 9 November 2011 21:06:29 UTC

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