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

Re: Advancing translational research with the Semantic Web

From: Phillip Lord <phillip.lord@newcastle.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 21 May 2007 18:22:05 +0100
To: Chris Mungall <cjm@fruitfly.org>
Cc: public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org
Message-ID: <ubqgef5xe.fsf@newcastle.ac.uk>

>>>>> "CM" == Chris Mungall <cjm@fruitfly.org> writes:

  >> Out of curiosity, can you describe how different or similar this
  >> is to the result that you can achieve in the N-ary relation
  >> design pattern for OWL?
  >> Obviously, building things into the DL is nice, but it's not
  >> currently representable in OWL, so would require tooling support,
  >> while the OWL N-ary relation pattern doesn't.

  CM> I'm afraid I'm unclear how to state the OWL n-ary relation
  CM> pattern (http://www.w3.org/TR/swbp-n-aryRelations) where I
  CM> really need it. In all the examples given, the "lifted"[*] n-ary
  CM> relation was never truly a relation in the first place and
  CM> always better modeled as a class. It's kind of cheating. 

Well, it is kind of cheating, yes, although if it works...

  CM> What if my n-ary relation is transitive or if the 3rd argument
  CM> is a temporal interval over which the relation holds?

The former is hard because it's not clear what do you with n-ary
relationships. I think that this is true for any
representation. Fundamentally, if you say "a is part of b" and I say
"b is part of c", then is "a part of c" and according to whom?

It is possible to use build on top of the n-ary relationship, for
example a symmetric property. Perhaps you could do the same for
transitivity if you could work out exactly what the semantic should

  CM> I think the former is doable with property role chains. Updating
  CM> the n-ary relations note with this - and all the other omitted
  CM> details, such as how to re-represent domain/range, functional
  CM> properties, n- ary relations in restrictions etc - would take a
  CM> lot of work and would make it utterly terrifying to the naive
  CM> user.

Yep, but I think that this reflects the underlying complexities of

  CM> Nevertheless the results are clunky and will need special tool
  CM> support [**] to avoid going insane. In general I am wary of
  CM> design pattern type things - they are usually a sign that the
  CM> language lacks the constructs required to express things
  CM> unambiguously and concisely. It sounds like DLR could provide
  CM> this, which would be great.

Well, this I would agree with. Folding design patterns in, would be

Received on Monday, 21 May 2007 17:22:24 UTC

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