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RE: What do the ontologists want

From: Jim Hendler <jhendler@darpa.mil>
Date: Fri, 18 May 2001 17:49:05 -0400
Message-Id: <p04330119b72b484f3bf7@[158.63.53.53]>
To: Peter Crowther <peter.crowther@networkinference.com>, "'Sergey Melnik'" <melnik@db.stanford.edu>
Cc: www-rdf-logic@w3.org
At 9:25 AM +0100 5/18/01, Peter Crowther wrote:
>  > From: Sergey Melnik [mailto:melnik@db.stanford.edu]
>[...]
>>  can anyone criticizing reification suggest a more
>>  suitable mechanism
>>  for handling the aforementioned features that makes both
>>  programmers and logicians happy?
>
>Ditch RDF and layer a logic directly on XML?  Just a thought... the problem
>is that it loses a lot of the work currently being put into the Semantic Web
>and being described using RDF, unless there's a well-defined migration path.
>But it would give much more flexible structures and a far simpler way of
>denoting what has formally defined semantics versus what is simply a data
>structure.
>
>The alternative appears to be to accept that RDF will be used as a very,
>very verbose encoding of LISP cons cells; and that some part of those
>structures might be used to represent something formal, but that a large
>part will straight data structure, or be glue that could be encoded and
>processed more easily using a richer syntax.
>
>		- Peter
>
>[insert back view of Peter running down infinitely long corridor towards the
>end marked "RDF Logic, Holy Grail, World Peace and Emergency Exit" pursued
>by mixed crowd of logicians and RDF enthusiasts waving pitchforks and
>torches]

I spent a number of years working with my students to develop web 
ontology langauges (SHOE in particular) - this work predated RDF and 
much of the current XML standard -- so for all intents and purposes 
we did exactly the effort of building a KR language for the web that 
stood on HTML and then XML.
  It was that experience that made me a prime proponent of building 
DAML+OIL on top of RDF.  I'll say that despite all this discussion, I 
still think it was the right idea -- here's two pieces of evidence:
  1 - the number of RDF tools that offered value to DAML researchers 
with little or no changes
  2 - this mailing list and this exchange -- despite the heat and 
noise, I think that Semantic Web concepts are becoming clearer as 
this community that includes AI and Web folks forms - don't think XML 
would have been as immediate as it was the RDF communtiy thinking 
most of these semantic issues (modulo XML topic maps, but IMHO they 
still have a ways to go)

  Just casting some (DAML+)OIL on troubled waters, if you'll pardon the pun
  -JH
-- 
Prof. James Hendler		Program Manager
DARPA/ISO			703-696-2238 (phone)
3701 N. Fairfax Dr.		703-696-2201 (Fax)
Arlington, VA 22203		jhendler@darpa.mil
Received on Friday, 18 May 2001 17:48:13 UTC

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