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RE: Why Triples? (was Re: What do the ontologists want)

From: Ziv Hellman <ziv@unicorn.com>
Date: Sat, 19 May 2001 19:23:57 +0200
Message-ID: <6194CD944604E94EB76F9A1A6D0EDD230E5567@calvin.unicorn.co.il>
To: "pat hayes" <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
Cc: <www-rdf-logic@w3.org>
But if the Semantic Web is going to be useful to both people and
machines, and not just machine-readable protocol, then aesthetics are
going to play a role whether you like it or not. Make two tools
available for the people, one taking aesthetics into account and the
other not, it seems bloody more likely that the crowd will gravitate
towards the aesthetic one. Remember, the Semantic Web is eventually
going to have to play to sell-out crowds if it is going to fly.

-----Original Message-----
From: pat hayes [mailto:phayes@ai.uwf.edu]
Sent: Saturday, May 19, 2001 6:30 AM
To: Ziv Hellman
Cc: www-rdf-logic@w3.org
Subject: RE: What do the ontologists want

Jim Hendler declared at the beginning of the DAML work that 'purely
aesthetic' arguments would not be permitted to influence the design of
the language, which applied in this context is a pre-emptive strike
against any arguments based on the observations you produce. The fact
that the entire world of mathematics, logic, and database engineering
has chosen to use relations freely, is in the end only an aesthetic
argument. It is *possible* to get used to the ugliness, inefficiency and
style-cramping awkwardness that a purely binary language imposes, rather
in the way that it is possible to get used to midwestern cooking.
Transmission speeds are so fast, and memory so cheap, that any linear
losses in information density do not have any really nasty economic
consequences; so I have decided to let the clowns win this particular
battle. If people wish to automatically translate an efficient notation
into an inefficient one, just let them do it. Microsoft will do it
anyway, whatever we decide. 

I personally will continue to use relational languages in my own
ontology work (in fact, KIF allows for variably polyadic relations,
which can take any number of arguments, a distinct expressive advantage
which makes many axiomatizations wonderfully compact: kudos to Mike
Genesereth for thinking of it) but I doubt if the Semantic Web will. 

Best wishes 

Pat Hayes 


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Received on Saturday, 19 May 2001 12:24:53 UTC

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