W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org > May 2007

Re: Evidence for backing statements

From: William Bug <William.Bug@DrexelMed.edu>
Date: Sat, 19 May 2007 07:11:32 -0400
Message-Id: <FC4A32C0-5862-46F3-8C0B-B037E443C7A2@DrexelMed.edu>
Cc: "Chris Mungall" <cjm@fruitfly.org>, "Dan Brickley" <danbri@danbri.org>, "Matt Williams" <matthew.williams@cancer.org.uk>, "public-semweb-lifesci hcls" <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>
To: Eric Neumann <eneumann@teranode.com>
On May 18, 2007, at 7:40 PM, Eric Neumann wrote:

> am I correct to assume that within HCLS, all RDF statements we are  
> considering are not facts, but assertions, that may in the future  
> be proven false, but never proven true?

I am very excited to hear this will be a W3C focused activity.   
Statistical techniques of all sorts - Bayesian especially - are  
critical data reduction and analysis tools driving interpretation in  
all areas of biomedical science and clearly there needs to be some  
way for representational techniques to interoperate with the derived  
probabilistic analyses.  My tendency is toward the sort of link Chris  
Mungall mentioned earlier, whereby the statistics is linked  
indirectly, as opposed to being intrinsic to the represented assertions.

I agree with your proposal, except for the closing statement.

It's not clear to me under what circumstances the following  
assertions given as an OWL "defining" relations would be useful to  
consider as something other than fact:
	"All viable eukaryotic cells have functional mitochondria located  
inside them"
	"Presynaptic vesicle fusion in neurons leads to release of small  
molecule and neuropeptide neurotransmitters into the extracellular  

Establishing facts such as this obviously have more than a  
pedagogical purpose.  They are an important part of the network of  
assertions used to drive inference, and - as facts - they need to be  
accorded a different role in the inferencing process than assertions  
that cannot be established as "universals".

I'm probably being overly naive in stating this view.  If that is so,  
I welcome others with greater in depth knowledge of the logical  
formalisms and implemented tools to explain why one would not want to  
make this distinction between the superset of RDF assertions and that  
subset expressing established fact.  This is a subset whose absolute  
size continues to grow - though its relative size compared to all  
assertions is clearly decreasing at a much faster rate given all the  
high-throughput experimental techniques introduced in the last 30 years.

Having said this, I do agree it would be very much mutually  
beneficial for members of the HCLS IG to provide use cases for this  
uncertainty reasoning group to examine.


Bill Bug
Senior Research Analyst/Ontological Engineer

Laboratory for Bioimaging  & Anatomical Informatics
Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy
Drexel University College of Medicine
2900 Queen Lane
Philadelphia, PA    19129
215 991 8430 (ph)
610 457 0443 (mobile)
215 843 9367 (fax)

Please Note: I now have a new email - William.Bug@DrexelMed.edu

Received on Sunday, 20 May 2007 02:31:02 UTC

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