Ontolog Forum

Ontolog Technical Discussion: Ontology Applications in Emergency Response - Thu 25-Jan-2007

  • Topic: "Ontology Applications in Emergency Response" Panel Discussion
  • Panelists:

Conference Call Details

  • Date: Thursday, January 25, 2007
  • Start Time: 10:30am PST / 1:30pm EST / 7:30pm CET / 18:30 GMT/UTC
  • Expected Call Duration: 2.0 hours
  • Dial-in Number:
    • from a telephone (US): +1-712-432-4990 (Iowa, USA)
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    • Conference ID: "5823120#"
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  • Please note that this session will be recorded, and the audio archive is expected to be made available as open content to our community membership and the public at-large under our prevailing open IPR policy.


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Problem Statement

by: Bob Smith & Rex Brooks

The world has changed since 9/11 (2001). The Southeast Asian tsunamis (2004) and Hurricane Katrina & Rita (2005) demonstrate the need for improved Decision Support Systems to augment our Emergency Response.

Among these changes:

  • Information Sharing is no longer optional, from radio frequencies to secure, trusted networks, and more/improved ISACs (Information Sharing and Analysis Centers) are imperative;
  • Recognizing Fail-Points needs to be completely, unconditionally, accepted instead of avoided;
  • Interoperability and SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) must rise above both the current level of apparent marketing acceptance and exploitation with vendor-specific packaging, and adhere to increasing levels of inter-vendor interoperability based on standard vocabularies and data models expressed in XML and RDF-OWL;
  • Recognizing Fail-Points and achieving interoperability must be done in highly adaptable and scalable methodologies.

Questions We Intend to Discuss Today

  • 1. How can we provide improved decision support through ontologies in both Emergency Response Management and Health Informatics in ways that are measurably scalable?
    • Specifically, how can we address the problems presented by exploding

injury/illness specifications such as HL7 v.3 as well as the enormous increase in system-wide data inputs that will accompany the inevitable uptake of HIT (Health Information Technology).

    • One should not expect a single solution. Different communities and situations will have different criteria and metrics for quality and scalability, but there can be some common infrastructure that the solutions can share.
  • 2. How can we implement any of the lessons learned from Dr. David Brailer's guided prototyping of a Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) for an Emergency Response Management System (ERMS)?
    • Can we specifically require that the values underpinning NHIN, such

as eliminating vendor-specific lock-ins, ensuring that urban, rural and exurban communities can develop operational interoperability while maintaining the best fit to their scales?

    • Public, Private, Combined Funding?
  • 3. Can we realistically include the integration of Sensor-based alerting and the concepts inherent in oBIX (Open Building Information eXchange) as well as EDXL (Emergency Data Exchange Language) to Risk-Analysis-based and Bayesian Belief Networks in the growing GIG (Global Information Grid) environment?
    • Public, Private, Combined Funding?
    • Different scales will have different solutions. Can the Grants and Research program officers be informed of the business values from requiring common re-usable components that meet OWL-DL like standards?
  • 4. How do we move toward an explicit process modeling, using, for instance, the Taxo-Thesaurus methodology and the results of ongoing explorations within the Ontolog Forum of developing evaluation criteria for rating ontologies and connecting ontologies and databases in ways that facilitate the development of improved Decision Support Systems?

Ref. preparation work for this session at: /Prep

Agenda & Proceedings

  • Session Format: this is be a virtual session conducted over an augmented conference call
    • 1. Opening by one of the co-organizers - Bob Smith (5 min.)
      • Welcome
      • What do we hope to accompish today?
      • Why start now?
      • What is the background for Ontolog's involvement with US Healthcare?
      • Overview of the 4 Presentations
    • 2. we'll go around with a self-introduction of participants (10~15 minutes total) - we'll skip this if we have more than 20 participants (in which case, it will be best if members try to update their namesake pages on this wiki prior to the call so that everyone can get to know who's who more easily.)
    • 3. Introduction of Panelists (moderator)
    • 4. Briefings by the 4 panelist (5~10 minutes each)
    • 5. Panel Discussion (15 minutes)
    • 5. Open Q&A and general discussion by all participants (30~40 minutes)
    • 6. Summary / Conclusion / Follow-up (organizer/moderator)

Panelists Briefings

Panelists' presentation title, profile and prepared slides:

(Slides can be accessed by pointing your web browsers to the corresponding "slides" link below)

  • RexBrooks, Executive Director, Starbourne Communications Design (Berkeley, California, USA)
    • Briefing Title: Ontology Application Design Requirements: Distinguishing between Emergency Response Management Systems AND Emergency Response SYSTEMS Management - slides
      • Rex applies his many years of consulting towards improved understanding of private & public sectors & related disciplines. He has over five years experience creating information technology standards as part of industry-wide teams. As Executive Director of a Non-Profit organization, he has aimed at improving individual information quality and control in digital information technology.
      • Rex currently serves on many Ontology related Information standards and research bodies including Co-Chair National Center for Ontological Research (NCOR) Committee on Ontology for Health Informatics, on OASIS: Emergency Management TC, Emergency Messages and Notifications Subcommittee, Co-Chair; Web Services for Remote Portlets TC; International Health Continuum TC; Service Oriented Architecture Reference Model TC;
      • Rex is a co-founder, Inc. a 501 (c)(3) Non-Profit Corporation which he serves as Executive Director. Rex serves as co-chair of the OASIS Emergency Messages and Notifications Subcommittee of the Emergency Management Technical Committee (TC). He is a member of the International Health Continuum TC, as well as the Web Services for Remote Portlets (WSRP) and Service-Oriented Architecture Reference Model TCs . These activities contribute to improving interoperability of vocabularies and data models from different disciplines, as well as the fidelity of communications
  • BobSmith, Ph.D., Ontology Management Team, Tall Tree Labs (Huntington Beach, California, USA)
    • Briefing Title: Ontology Applications in ERS Management: The Roles of Decision Support Ontology for Improving Inter-Agency Responses to Known and Unknown Threats - slides
      • Bob is a semi-retired Professor Emeritus at the California State University currently involved in the analysis of ontology management and methodology projects. His experience with Strategic Assessment and Response DSS includes Healthcare (Trauma systems analysis and policy for several county and multi-county agencies); Law Enforcement (Decision Process Modeling for L.A. Sheriff's Department), Public Health (Water testing public and private laboratories); and Hospital Disaster Response Planning and Alerting (HIMMS Task Forces). His primary focus is now on modeling the knowledge coordination challenges to large organizations under conditions of extreme ambiguity with semantic tools (SemTalk 2.3 and Kayvium 6.1) Bob's doctorate in GDSS is from U.C. Irvine.
      • Bob is member of NCOR's Health Informatics, OASIS's oBIX WG ( open Building Information eXchange), StratML (applied), Water Channel ISAC, and HB CERT (Community Emergency Response Team).
  • MichelleRaymond, Principal Research Scientist, Knowledge Services, Advanced Technologies Lab, Honeywell ACS Labs (Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA)
    • Briefing Title: Ontology Silos and Emergency Response Management Systems: Interoperability with Situational Based Alerting and Decision Support Services - slides
      • Michelle Raymond is a Principal Research Scientist at Honeywell ACS Labs. She began working with Web technologies in 1995 at The Geometry Center, a National Science Foundation Research Center. In 1996 she joined the Honeywell Laboratories. She began in Human Centered Systems and in 2002 transferred to the Knowledge Services section of the Advanced Technologies Lab. Her main expertise is in knowledge technologies and device independent system design, development and usability. Her current focus is on Incident Command, Decision Support and Personalized Emergency Alerting.
      • Michelle is an associate member of OASIS, working on the Emergency Management TC. She was an editor for the Emergency Data Exchange Language Distribution Element (EDXL-DE) Specification. Michelle is also a volunteer member of the Minnesota-Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MN-ISAC), is a Citizen Core volunteer through the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program and has completed the National Incident Management System (NIMS) FEMA certification. She has given presentations and workshops on knowledge technologies, user interface design, and programming for the Internet
  • KennethBaclawski, Associate Professor, College of Computer and Information Science, Northeastern University (Boston, Massachusetts, USA)
    • Briefing Title: Achieving situation awareness of emergency response teams - slides
      • Interoperability of information sources is essential for effective emergency response. However, the ultimate goal of an ERMS is to achieve situation

awareness so that appropriate decisions can be made and actions taken. Uncertain and missing information further complicates the problem. This talk will discuss some of the theoretical and practical issues for an ERMS to assist in achieving situation awareness from noisy and possibly unreliable sources. Ontologies play a fundamental role not only for interoperability but also for situation awareness.

      • Ken's Areas of Interest include: High-Performance Ontology-Based Computing;

Knowledge Bases for Biology and Medicine; Ontologies for: Life Sciences, Situation Awareness and Wireless Communication. His book, Ontology for Bioinformatics is described at

      • In addition to academic experiences, Ken has also served as Chief

Scientist. Jarg Corporation, Waltham, MA, and is currently a Consulting Scientist at VIStology, Inc., Framingham, MA Most of the research reported in this talk was partially sponsored by VIStology and many government funding agencies. This work was joint with Mieczyslaw Kokar, Christopher Matheus, and the many others shown n the bibliography slide.

      • Service Activities over the last 3 years include: Member, Scientific Advisory Board of the Virtual Plant Information Network (VPIN). ; National Center for Genome Resources. Member, Biodata Study Group. National Institutes of Health. Tutorial Presenter, Introduction to the Semantic Web for Bioinformatics. Computational Systems Bioinformatics Conference. Ken's Ph.D. was earned in1976 from Harvard University (Mathematics)
  • Additional Resources:
    • ERHIGlossary - link coming

Questions, Answers & Discourse

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  • Session ended 2007.01.25 12:42 pm PST

Audio Recording of this Session

  • To download the audio recording of the session, click here
    • the playback of the audio files require the proper setup, and an MP3 compatible player on your computer.
  • Conference Date and Time: 25-Jan-2007 10:43am~12:42pm Pacific Standard Time
  • Duration of Recording: 1 Hour 50 Minutes
  • Recording File Size: 13.2 MB (in mp3 format)
  • Telephone Playback
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      • Conference ID: 5823120#
      • Recording Reference Number: 65938#
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