CCAT: General Updatefritz@rodin.wustl.edu (Fritz Lehmann)
Date: Mon, 7 Nov 94 07:10:51 CST
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Fritz Lehmann)
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Subject: CCAT: General Update
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Dear CCATers, SRKB, ONTOLOGY and Conceptual Graph list subscribers:
Some general news. I returned from a 3 1/2 week trip to find several
very interesting CCAT (the Conceptual Catalogue/Ontology in the PEIRCE
project) discussions among my avalanche of 2.5 meg of email. I will try to
answer some in the next few days; I'll put CCAT in the Subject line.
CCAT now has the following subgroups in which ontologies need to be
Peirce/CCAT "Core" ontologies:
ABSTRACT ALGEBRA & DISCRETE MATH; TIME; SPACE; PART-WHOLE;
EVENT/OBJECT/PROCESS; DEEP CASE RELATIONS; REPRESENTATION (SEMIOTIC);
MEASUREMENT UNITS; SITUATIONS; CAUSALITY.
GENERAL THESAURI; DIGITAL SYSTEMS; INFORMATION SYSTEMS;
ENTERPRISE MODELS; TRADE ACTIVITIES; ADDRESSES; QUASIRATIONAL
AGENTS; STORIES/HUMAN ACTIVITIES; EMOTIONS; ONTOLOGY OF NATURAL
LANGUAGE; BIBLIOGRAPHY; PHYSICS; QUALITATIVE PHYSICS; MATERIALS;
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION; CIM-INDUSTRIAL PROCESSES; SOFTWARE; MEDICINE;
LAW. [Any suggestions for other CCAT subgroups?]
Should we add Systems Theory to the list?
New members have joined CCAT: William Woods (of Harvard and Sun
Microsystems) in all subgroups; Nicola Guarino (of LADSEB in Padova) in PART-
WHOLE, SPACE and maybe OBJECT/EVENT/PROCESS; Pauline Kra (Yeshiva University)
in CAUSALITY, and Jean Bezevin (of U. of Nantes). In addition, Daniel Bobrow
(Xerox), Jan Schmidt (Czech Tech. U.), Don Dwiggins (Mark V Systems), Eli
Goldberg, Walter Wilson (IBM) and David Whitten have been active in recent
CCAT/ontology email discussions.
The last part of my trip was the "ARPA Ontologies Workshop" in La Jolla.
I raised the problem of multiple email lists and our CCAT ontology
discussions. The problems are A, that some people miss important ontological
discussions, and, less serious, B, that some people get up to four copies of
CCAT messages. No decent solution was proposed. Tom Gruber urged the use of
the SRKB@cs.umbc.edu list, but others pointed out that the loftier ontological
discussions may not please the SRKB people, some of whom are engineers with no
taste for philosophy. SRKB is for "shared ontologies" in the ARPA Knowledge
Sharing Effort. If there is any CCAT member who is not on the SRKB list,
PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO IT (by sending the message "subscribe srkb" to
email@example.com). That way we can dispense with the large CC: list for
CCAT. The non-CCAT traffic on SRKB has been minimal lately.
I asked the workshop participants about our past CCAT discussions on
SRKB; they encouraged us to continue posting. IF YOU DON'T WANT TO GET CCAT
EMAIL, PUT "CCAT" IN YOUR KILL FILE LIST. All CCAT messages should have CCAT
in the Subject line. Although CCAT is to be distributed as Conceptual Graphs,
the content is fairly independent of the representation and many CCAT members
are not Conceptual Graphs people. It is not clear to me whether the CG email
list really wants to see all of our CCAT ontology messages.
The La Jolla workshop was primarily to achieve some consensus for ARPA's
funding purposes, rather than to disseminate ontological ideas or theories. I
was in the "foundations" subgroup charged with defining the word "ontologies"
for use in funding proposals. Others in that subgroup were Daniel Bobrow,
Ramesh Patil, R. V. Guha, Chris Menzel, Nicola Guarino. The (interim) result
accorded with my views, since it emphasized that an ontology is purpose-
dependent, has large scale structure corresponding to structure in the real
world, occurs both as abstract conceptualization and as various
representations of that conceptualization, often has a high level or "upper
model", may require the expressiveness of higher-order logic or conceptual
graphs (or may use more restricted sublanguages), etc. The other subgroups
were "ontology tools", "ontology design strategies", and "ontology uses". At
a dinner some people wondered what "the next big thing" would be. We
Doug Lenat announced that CYC will now give away for free its basic
taxonomy with names and English descriptions, without the inference and other
components. This will allow us in CCAT to "tag" concepts with (presumably-
corresponding) official CYC names, to permit later integration with CYC-based
systems. Similarly I hope we can "tag" CCAT concepts with names from the
(Non-Longmans portion of) Kevin Knight's PANGLOSS Ontology once he releases
it, and from the list of "Norvig-names" for Wordnet meanings, Roget, and
others. We shouldn't require exact correspondence for tagged concepts, just
I finally got a look at the Procedings of the ECAI'94 Workshop on
Implemented Ontologies, and it's interesting. There are "ontologies" of
general systems theory, materials, Penman Upper Model extensions for Italian,
broad medical subjects, Engineering Math, the TOVE enterprise model, a
specialized crankshaft system, the Systeme Internationale physical measurement
units, technical support documents, ceramics, and some more general
ontologies. Many of these use Tom Gruber's Ontolingua frame language and KIF.
Few of these have "deep" definitions of the type expected from CYC and CCAT.
They tend to be taxonomies of suggestive names with a few additional
constraints, and often contain "tuple" or parameter specifications with
"primitive" or undefined fields.
Yours truly, Fritz Lehmann