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Re: [ontolog-forum] Research Illusion

From: Azamat <abdoul@cytanet.com.cy>
Date: Mon, 11 May 2009 21:20:37 +0300
Message-ID: <007101c9d265$2ec0b1c0$a104810a@homepc>
To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@ontolog.cim3.net>, "'SW-forum'" <semantic-web@w3.org>
Cc: "Kafatos ERC" <kafatos.erc@imperial.ac.uk>, <janez.potocnik@ec.europa.eu>
JFS>>I'd like to ask one question:  Do you believe that you have  sufficient 
hype and money to make your preference become the  new mainstream?

I was in doubt if this inquiry should be answered. But I have an unwise 
habit to answer all the questions asked directly. Yours are an unusually 
direct question, needing a frank answer.
Re. money. Ok, i may say, yes; but this is not a principal issue. With my 
partner, I am in legal possession of a vast gold site (deposit,  land) with 
indicated resources of more than 100 tonnes. Within 2 years, the industrial 
extraction is planned to start, to be giving more than enough money for the 
"sufficient hype".
But what my parner is missing: why i have to fund a standard ontology 
project from my own resources, promising to have a great scientific and 
economicl value for humanity.
There are public funding agencies for such particular cases, caring for 
advancement of knowledge and human cultural prograssion. At least, there is 
the ERC (European Research Council), chaired with a Hellene, dealing with 
frontier research, and having this big mission: ["the first European funding 
body set up to support investigator-driven frontier research. Its main aim 
is to stimulate scientific excellence by supporting and encouraging the very 
best, truly creative scientists, scholars and engineers to be adventurous 
and take risks in their research. The scientists are encouraged to go beyond 
established frontiers of knowledge and the boundaries of disciplines.... The 
ERC aims to:
  a.. support the best of the best scientific efforts in Europe across all 
fields of science, scholarship and engineering.
  b.. promote wholly investigator-driven, or 'bottom-up' frontier research.
  c.. encourage the work of the established and next generation of 
independent top research leaders in Europe.
  d.. reward innovative proposals by placing emphasis on the quality of the 
idea rather than the research area.
  e.. harness the diversity of European research talent and channel funds 
into the most promising or distinguished researchers.
  f.. raise the status and visibility of European frontier research and the 
very best researchers of today and tomorrow.
  g.. put excellence at the heart of European Research.
Today the distinction between 'basic' and 'applied' research has become 
blurred, due to the fact that emerging areas of science and technology often 
cover substantial elements of both. As a result, the term 'frontier 
research' was coined for ERC activities since they will be directed towards 
fundamental advances at and beyond the 'frontier' of knowledge. The ERC aims 
to bring about a wide range of benefits:

  a.. By creating open and direct competition for funding between the very 
best researchers in Europe, the ERC will enhance aspirations and 
achievements. It will enable the best ideas and talents to be recognised 
from a larger pool than exists at national level.
  b.. The ERC's competitive funding will be able to channel funds into the 
most promising new fields, with a degree of agility not always possible in 
national funding schemes.
  c.. The ERC aims to stimulate research organisations to invest more in the 
support of promising new talents - the next generation of research leaders 
in Europe.
  d.. On the economic side, the ERC will help nurture science-based industry 
and create a greater impetus for the establishment of research-based 
  e.. From a societal perspective, the ERC could provide a mechanism for 
investing rapidly in research targeted at new and emerging issues 
confronting society."] 
As a personal example and scientific experiment. Applied in a proper way, 
last year they had  as an  AdGrant proposal, " Standard Ontology for 
Machines and People", costing to the public not 14, 5 euro as an inert 
"neon", but only 2,5 m euro. Now, defaulting a proper metadisciplinary 
science clasification scheme and panels organization, for more than a year 
they are simply unable to decide, for the existent panels look as 
unqualified to review the metadisciplinary proposal (here is a sad result of 
research head games, loosing a high professional qualification). Moreover, 
the EC Commissioner, commited to building a single research area in Europe, 
can do nothing with this, since it is a jurisdiction of scientists, not 
politicians. So it looks they really need your wise advices on the true 
scientific policy.

Bottom line:
Its ours job to show that there is a real science and there is a 
dissimulation and research illusions. As a wise person, you may agree with 
me that in all practical senses it would be unwise to accept the established 
but  harmful policy to fund all sorts of research illusions at the expense 
of the public, expecting from these projects less senseless global crises 
and more meaningful order in social life.
Azamat Abdoullaev

I am afraid that many and many real research projects have been 
reprehensively neglected. Meantime, see 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@bestweb.net>
To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@ontolog.cim3.net>
Cc: <jeremy@topquadrant.com>; "Mustafa Jarrar" <mjarrar@cs.ucy.ac.cy>; 
"'SW-forum'" <semantic-web@w3.org>; "Sören Auer" 
<auer@informatik.uni-leipzig.de>; "Pieter De Leenheer" <pdeleenh@vub.ac.be>
Sent: Monday, May 11, 2009 10:08 AM
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Research Illusion

> Pat, Azamat, Milton, and Jeremy,
> Before commenting on the details, I'd like to say that the issue
> is not one of open-mindedness vs. closed-mindedness.  We have
> a large number of decent ontologies, but none that anyone could
> honestly claim is the ideal ontology that should be declared
> as a universal standard for the world.
> Cyc is the largest and most widely used ontology so far developed,
> but nobody except, perhaps, the Cyclers seems eager to recommend it
> as an ISO standard.  There was a proposal to adopt SUMO, DOLCE, and
> BFO as the basis for developing an ISO standard ontology.  But there
> were loud complaints about those three.  Meanwhile, Wolfram developed
> the Alpha system, which is probably incompatible with all of the
> above, but which might have some aspects that are better than any.
> PC> Well, the ideal foundation ontology (to serve as a means of
> > integrating independently developed domain ontologies) would have
> > in it any primitive concepts that are required to logically specify
> > the meanings of those domain concepts, and would be developed and
> > maintained by an open process involving the entire community of users.
> That's a fine goal.  But we don't yet have anything that satisfies
> those requirements, and there is no structure in place for generating
> something that would.
> JFS>>I'd like to ask one question:  Do you believe that you have
> >> sufficient hype and money to make your preference become the
> >> new mainstream?
> PC> Aye, there's the rub!!!
> Indeed.  Given the proposals, cast of characters, and developments
> over the past 20 years, I can't see anything meeting those goals
> taking less than 20 years to develop.  A crash project with lots
> of money thrown at it would probably be taken over by people who
> want to make a fast buck.  I would not trust them to make sound
> design decisions.
> AA> There have been always the conservative establishment, resisting
> > to innovation, and those committed to novel vanguard knowledge.
> > These groups are irreconcilable opposites, and i doubt that such
> > conflict of opposites could motivate the advancement of forefront
> > metadisciplinary knowledge and its applications.
> Perhaps, but there are many more perspectives that must be
> reconciled.  The philosophical proponents of pure ontology must
> take into account the practical issues of designing a framework
> that can accommodate the trillions of dollars of existing software.
> They must support a smooth migration path to the future.
> AA> You know well the "inventor's paradox" from Polya's
> > How to Solve It, general heuristics for problem solving of
> > all sorts and kinds:
> >
> > "Try solving a more general problem first; for the more
> > ambitious plan may have more chances of success".
> I know that little book very well, and I agree with that approach.
> It is an excellent heuristic for a mathematician or scientist who
> is working on a problem.  But Polya was not discussing the question
> of how to organize and coordinate a team of scientists -- or more
> likely a team of knowledge engineers -- who are trying to accomplish
> the kind of goal that Pat C outlined above.
> AA> Even granted all the teams composed of brilliant individual minds,
> > do you really believe that any of these high tasks could be obtained
> > without having solid ontological and semantic foundations, for which
> > a common ontology of meanings is designed for?
> As I said to Pat C, that is a fine goal.  But we don't have such a
> foundation that people can agree on.  If some large organization
> pours millions of dollars or euros into a project to design one,
> there are several possible outcomes:
>  1. The project is hijacked by people who take the money and run.
>  2. Some pointy-haired boss takes charge of the project.  (See the
>     Dilbert cartoons for painful examples of what that leads to.)
>  3. Very talented people (such as us, for example) join the project,
>     and we are assigned to a committee that produces as much results
>     as we have seen from the SUO and ontolog email lists since the
>     year 2000.
>  4. God sends an omniscient savior to earth, who personally chooses
>     the best experts to design the best possible ontology that can
>     solve all the world's problems.
> I won't hold my breath waiting for option #4.
> MP> What I suggest is we focus on the small markets of information
> > end-users that are interested in open access to the body of
> > scientific knowledge and technology first. This for now is more
> > than enough to handle.
> Focusing on small projects for specific purposes is more likely
> to produce useful results.  But we need a framework that can relate
> and integrate all those piecemeal results.
> JC> whatever our philosophical differences, we agree ... truth
> > should not be hard-coded but somehow emergent.
> I can accept that.  For the ontology project, that would imply that
> we need a framework that can enable good results to emerge in a
> form that can be related to and integrated with other good results.
> John Sowa
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Received on Monday, 11 May 2009 18:21:36 UTC

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