Ontolog Forum

Ontolog invited Speaker Presentation - Dr. Matthew West - Thu 2006-02-23

Conference Call Details

  • Subject: Ontolog Invited Speaker Presentation by Matthew West - Thu 2006-02-23
  • Agenda: Dr. Matthew West, Reference Data Architecture and Standards Manager of Shell International Petroleum Company Limited (London, UK), and 'custodian' of ISO 15926-2, will be presenting to the community on his talk entitled: "An Introduction to 4 Dimensionalism and ISO 15926". The ISO 15926-2 specification is an integration model that uses well defined metaphysics based on spatio-temporal extents, and is highly regarded as a fine ontological work.
  • Date: Thursday, February 23, 2006
  • Start Time: 4:30pm UTC / 8:30 AM PST / 11:30 AM EST <-- Note that this session will start 2 hours earlier than usual !
    • see world clock for other time zones)
    • Duration: 1.5~2.0 hours
  • Dial-in Number: 1-641-696-6600 (Iowa) - note: new call-in number
    • Participant Access Code: "686564#"
  • Shared-screen support (VNC session) will be started 5 minutes before the call at:
    • view-only password: "ontolog"
    • if you plan to be logging into this shared-screen option (which the speaker may be navigating), and you are not familiar with the process, please try to call in 5 minutes before the start of the session so that we can work out the connection logistics. Help on this will generally not be available once the presentation starts.
    • people behind corporate firewalls may have difficulty accessing this. If that is the case, please download the slides below and runing them locally. The speaker will prompt you to advance the slides during the talk.
  • Please note that this session will be recorded, and the audio archives is expected to be made available as open content to our community membership and the public at-large under our prevailing open IPR policy.
  • Special thanks to Dr. Patrick Cassidy for making the invitation to Dr. West on behalf of our community.


  • Expected also: (and who may have dial-in after our roll call)

Agenda & Proceedings

  • Dr. Matthew West Reference Data Architecture and Standards Manager of Shell International Petroleum Company, London (UK), presents his talk entitled: "An Introduction to 4 Dimensionalism and ISO 15926"
MatthewWest_2001-09-09.jpg [picture of Dr. Matthew West]
Abstract: (by MatthewWest)
In philosophy there are two main strands of ontology, 3 Dimensionalism,

where physical objects pass through time, and 4 Dimensionalism, where physical objects are extended in time. This talk will introduce the key concepts of a 4 Dimensional ontology and some of the key consequences that follow from that. The talk will give examples of how 4 Dimensionalism has been implemented in the ISO 15926 ontology.

  • Session Format and Agenda:
    • this will be virtual session over a phone conference setting, augmented by shared computer screen support
    1. The session will start with a brief self-introduction of the attendees (~10 min.)
    2. Introduction of the Invited Speaker by Dr. Patrick Cassidy
    3. Presentation by the invited speaker (45~60 min.)
    4. Open discussion (30~45 min.)
  • Bio of Dr. Matthew West:
Matthew West has a BSC and PhD in Chemical Engineering and has worked for Shell since 1978, initially as a Refinery Technologist, but since 1987 on the computing/business interface with a particular interest in Information Management and Data Modelling. He has taken a keen interest in the development of International Standards and is a key technical contributor to ISO 15926 "Lifecycle integration of process plant data including oil and gas production facilities". He is currently the Reference Data Architecture and Standards Manager for Shell's Downstream (refinery to petrol pump) business, where he is currently developing Shell's Global Downstream Data Model.
Dr. West is the Shell Visiting Professor in the Keyworth Institute at the University of Leeds. He is a Member of the Institution of Chemical Engineers, the British Computer Society, and the Chartered Management Institute; and he is a Chartered Engineer, Chartered Scientist and a Chartered IT Professional.
  • If you have questions for the presenter, we appreciate your posting them here: (please identify yourself)
    • Kevin S. Lynch asks, Q: Is identity a consequence temporal continuity? One of the main motivations of ISO 15926 seems to be a desire to ascribe an unchanging identity to an entity/object that changes substantially over time, e.g. the plastic cup. Philosophers happen to love this problem, and so we can also draw on the Ship of Theseus problem (Plutarch, Plato, Hobbes), the Lump of Wax problem from Descartes, the brain in the vat problem, etc. Testing this conundrum in ISO 15926, how would one properly model the temple of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, for example? The temple has undergone total destruction and reconstruction several times through its history, and yet it retains its identity as The Golden Pavilion (i.e. it is temporally discontinuous, and yet we don't automatically say that it is a "different" temple). Also, less catastrophically, the building has had substantial repairs and replacements to the extent that over a 100-year period the material parts of the structure have all been replaced, and it is no longer the "same" building. Is this the sort of "difficult case" that the standard was intended to address? In the language of ISO 15926, the definition for <stream> seems to argue that only continuous existence can serve as a basis for identity: A <stream> is a <physical_object> that is material or energy moving along a path, where the path is the basis of identity and may be constrained. Can there be identity when there is no <stream>? While it may be convenient to exhibit objects in a 4D spacio-temporal grid, this is not equivalent to establishing an ontological identity.
    • The ISO 15926 definition for <class> declares: "The identity of a <class> is ultimately defined by its members. No two classes have the same membership." ...Q: Can the identity of a <class> be assured by the stable continuity of its members? (Plato is lurking in here somewhere in the insistence that classes should belong to the intelligible world of unchanging forms while our sensory perceptions are hopelessly constrained to the Heraclitean world of temporal changes and appearances.) Does the totality of membership constitute the essence of what is meant by a <class>, or do classes express something else? When we talk about types, universals, kinds, categories, etc., I think it is a mistake to assert that the identity of a class can be inferred from its members. For instance, the class of all dead things in a 4D Ontology would contain essentially all entities (i.e., everything has been dead, will be dead, or is dead). It is very stable in that it is always constituted by the same membership (everything), but there is no "identity" to be inferred from a class that contains all things.
    • ... (post you questions here, the speaker will be fielding them during the open discussion session) ...
    • For those who have further questions for Matthew West, please post them to the ontolog forum so that we can all benefit from the discourse.
  • Session ended 2006-02-23 10:33 pm PST

Session Recording of the Matthew West Talk

(Thanks to Bob Smith, Kurt Conrad and Peter P. Yim for their help with getting the session recorded. -ppy)

  • To download the audio recording of the presentation, click here
    • the playback of the audio files require the proper setup, and an MP3 compatible player on your computer.
  • Conference Date and Time: Feb. 23, 2006 8:38am~10:32pm Pacific Standard Time
  • Duration of Recording: 1 Hour 54.3 Minutes
  • Recording File Size: 39 MB (in mp3 format)
  • Telephone Playback Expiration Date: Mar. 5, 2006 9:56 AM Pacific Standard Time
    • Prior to the above Expiration Date, one can call-in and hear the telephone playback of the session.
    • Playback Dial-in Number: 1-805-620-4002 (Ventura, CA)
    • Playback Access Code: 741115#
    • suggestions:
      • its best that you listen to the session while having the presentation opened in front of you. You'll be prompted to advance slides by the speaker.
      • to skip directly to the talk (and omit the opening introductions), you can start at the 15 min. 36 sec. point (from the beginning) on the archived audio recording.