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Ontolog Panel Discussion: Strawman for a UoM_Ontology_Standard - Thu 24-Sep-2009     (1)

  • Panelists:     (1B)
    • Mr. DavidLeal -- "An initial organization of some concepts defined within the VIM (International Vocabulary of Metrology)" - [ slides ]     (1B1)
    • Dr. JamesMasters -- "QUDT: An OWL Ontology for Measurable Quantities, Units, Dimension Systems, and Dimensional Data Types" - [ slides ]     (1B2)
    • Dr. GuntherSchadow -- "Unified Code for Units of Measure (UCUM)" - [ slides ]     (1B3)
    • Mr. EdwardBarkmeyer -- "A standard ontology for Units of Measure -- Status: 24 Sept 2009" - [ slides ]     (1B4)

Archives     (1C)

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  • Discussions and Q & A:     (1D6)
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  • For those who cannot join us, or who have further questions or remarks on the topic, please post them to the [ uom-ontology-std ] listserv so that everyone in the community can benefit from the discourse.     (1D7)
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Resources     (1E)

Attendees     (1G)

  • Expecting:     (1G2)
    • ... if you are coming to the session, please add your name above (plus your affiliation, if you aren't already a member of the community); or e-mail <> so that we can reserve enough resources to support everyone's participation. ...     (1G2A)

Abstract and Thoughts on this Session     (1H)

During the OntologySummit2009_Symposium, the "Quantities and Units of Measure" was identified as a candidate ontology-based standard that folks from the standards community and the ontology community can (and should) work together on. Further momentum has been developing through the active discussion among the community members on this matter in the [ontology-summit] mailing list brought forth our first virtual session on this UoM_Ontology_Standard initiative, which was held on 16-Jun-2009 (ref. ConferenceCall_2009_06_19). A dedicated listserv, [ uom-ontology-std ] was then deployed and much discussion has been exchanged since.     (1H3)

At today's session, we are going to get presentations on QUDT and UCUM during this session by the authors themselves. These are two important and very relevant effort, which we missed hearing about in our last (2009.06.19) session.     (1H4)

Additionally, it is time to take inventory on where this initiative stands now, and what else needs to be done to move our UoM_Ontology_Standard effort forward.     (1H5)

We have planned a face-to-face workshop for Fri 30-Oct-2009, at NSF (Arlington, Virginia, USA) in the hope that we will be closer to drafting up a candidate standard which we can then move over to a proper SDO (standards development organization) setting, and work that towards adoption. We hope participants in this session will contribute to identifying the process, players and the work plan (especially between now and end October,) to help make our "Quantities and Units of Measure Ontology-based Standard" a reality.     (1H6)

Here are abstracts of the briefings from our panelists:     (1H7)

Abstract: The Quantities, Units, Dimensions and Data Types (QUDT) Ontology is a set of OWL ontologies and named graphs currently being developed by TopQuadrant as part of the NASA Exploration Initiatives Ontology Models ([[NExIOM]]) project. QUDT is intended to support NASA's Constellation Program in two ways:     (1H10)
o By providing a unified model for measurable quantities, units of measure, numerical expression of magnitude with respect to a unit of measure, and the structure of unit (and quantity) systems that distinguish between base and derived units (quantities).     (1H11)
o By populating the model with the instance data (quantities, units, quantity values, systems, etc.) that supports the system engineering life-cycle needs of the Constellation Program community.     (1H12)
I will present the subset of this ontology, discuss the similarities and differences between it and the strawman UoM model documented on the Ontolog UoM wiki, provide examples of quantities expressed in the ontology, and illustrate several functions (defined in the SPARQL Inference Notation) which use the ontology to perform unit conversions and calculate the product or quotient of two quantities. Finally, I will discuss continuing and future work on the ontology motivated by its application within and beyond the Constellation Program.     (1H13)
  • "Unified Code for Units of Measure (UCUM)" - by Gunther Schadow - [ slides ]     (1H15)
    • Abstract: The Unified Code for Units of Measure (UCUM) provides human-friendly codes for all units of measures with precise semantics to facilitate unambiguous and computable communication between computer systems used in science, engineering and business world wide. UCUM is inspired by earlier standards (ISO 2955-1983, ANSI X3.50-1986) which it expands and corrects (resolving various ambiguities). The semantics of units is based on the intuition applied by most physicists when computing with quantities and units (but chemists and medical people may have to enhance their intuition first). It represents the meaning of equivalence, commensurability, conversion, base and derived units, including special units which require arbitrary conversion functions (e.g., logarithm). UCUM��s formal semantics is defined algebraically, which leads to a very compact representation and efficient (constant time) reasoning. However, it is quite different from symbolic knowledge representation methods that many ontologists are familiar with. While symbolic models in UML are useful for discussing the design of the UCUM implementation, they do not replace the elegance and efficiency of the algebraic definition. This supports the conclusion that units of measure are essentially quantitative phenomena that require a focus on quantitative methods for their definition. UCUM does not, however, attempt to define base units in any formal way but uses those as primitives and refers to appropriate standards bodies (ISO, BIPM) for their definitions. UCUM has been adopted by many standards organization world wide in and outside of the medical domain. While the actual maintenance of the core code system is minimal, defining organization and governance are becoming more important. The key challenge in content is to deal with procedure defined (arbitrary) units that are common in biomedical sciences.     (1H15A)
  • "A standard ontology for Units of Measure -- Status: 24 Sept 2009" - by EdBarkmeyer - [ slides ]     (1H16)
    • Abstract: This is a brief report on the status of the UoM_Ontology_Standard project as of September 2009. It identifies the elements of the program of work and the state of each of the elements. The project has agreed on target languages for representing the ontology and has an early strawman draft of the concepts from the International Vocabulary of Measurement (VIM). But the requirements gathering and literature search are still ongoing, very little analysis has been done, and no work has been done on identifying a standardization body and laying the formal groundwork. This brings us to the next segment, where our open discussion among all participants at this session can help identify some of the tactics on how we should move the effort forward.     (1H16A)

Agenda & Proceedings     (1I)

1. Opening by session Chair -- Frank Olken / David Price     (1I1A)

3. Q & A and Open Discussion (All) -- please refer to process above     (1I1C)

4. Summary and Next Steps -- Frank Olken / David Price     (1I1D)

Proceedings     (1J)

Please refer to the archives above     (1J1)

===IM Chat Transcript captured during the session=== ... (lightly edited for clarity)     (1J2)

VNC2: Welcome to the Ontolog Panel Discussion: Strawman for a UoM_Ontology_Standard - Thu 24-Sep-2009     (1J3)

o Mr. David Leal -- "An initial organization of some concepts defined within the VIM (International Vocabulary of Metrology)"     (1J6)

o Dr. James Masters -- "QUDT: An OWL Ontology for Measurable Quantities, Units, Dimension Systems, and Dimensional Data Types"     (1J7)

o Dr. Gunther Schadow -- "Unified Code for Units of Measure (UCUM)"     (1J8)

o Mr. Edward Barkmeyer -- "A standard ontology for Units of Measure -- Status: 24 Sept 2009"     (1J9)

anonymous morphed into Peter P. Yim     (1J11)

anonymous1 morphed into David Price     (1J12)

anonymous morphed into Matthew West     (1J13)

anonymous morphed into Kurt Conrad     (1J14)

anonymous morphed into Mark Linehan     (1J15)

anonymous1 morphed into Stuart Turner     (1J16)

anonymous2 morphed into Brand Niemann     (1J17)

anonymous1 morphed into Pavithra Kenjige     (1J18)

anonymous1 morphed into Mark Lin     (1J19)

anonymous2 morphed into Frank Olken     (1J20)

Pat Hayes: Peter, I will have to bow out in 30 mins for another meeting, but will get back ASAP. - Pat Hayes.     (1J21)

anonymous1 morphed into Chip Masters     (1J22)

anonymous morphed into henson graves     (1J23)

anonymous morphed into Rex Brooks     (1J24)

anonymous morphed into Kurt Conrad     (1J25)

anonymous morphed into Gunther Schadow     (1J26)

Ed Barkmeyer: Generic quantity is a property of an unspecified thing that has a value; Particular quantity is a property     (1J27)

of a specific thing     (1J28)

anonymous morphed into Bobbin Teegarden     (1J29)

Matthew West: David L.: What is the difference between a Particular Quantity and a Magnitude of Quantity?     (1J30)

Ravi Sharma: measure is defined differently in David's slides?     (1J31)

Mike Bennett: It seems to me that each of these boxes should have a written definition behind them, to ground the meaning     (1J32)

in natural language terms, to clarify what these are when we try to interpret how they relate to one another.     (1J33)

Ed Barkmeyer: Please, not "measure" for "generic quantity" -- a measure(ment) is what you get by measuring     (1J34)

Ravi Sharma: it is not the same as Frank just meant.     (1J35)

Ravi Sharma: i agree with Ed     (1J36)

Rex Brooks: If you download the slide deck, there is much more detail and subsequent elaboration than the few slides     (1J37)

Frank Olken: I understand particular quantity to be Frank Olken's waist size, generic quantity to be waist size,     (1J39)

Ed Barkmeyer: To Mike B, David's model document has definitions, mostly taken directly from the VIM text, but this is an     (1J40)

area in which the VIM is ambiguous     (1J41)

Rex Brooks: like class and instance?     (1J42)

Ravi Sharma: Rex - I did download but that is what measure there means as Ed describes it     (1J43)

Frank Olken: and kind of quantity to be length (as an example)     (1J44)

Rex Brooks: True, I was just commenting that there is much more to it than what was shown.     (1J45)

Mike Bennett: @Ed, thanks. That would hopefully capture the meanings that were being asked after here.     (1J46)

Ravi Sharma: Chip - You have lot more in terms of context setting before you can talk of terms and meaning a particular     (1J47)

Vocabulary as compared to say a satellite that does not have humans or life support systems?     (1J48)

Frank Olken: Another example from previous presentation, height, length, depth are all generic quantities, where kind of     (1J49)

quantity is length, particular quantity is height of a specific piece of furniture.     (1J50)

David Leal: Matthew: I think a member of magnitude of quantity is an equivalence class. Hence "1.3 m" is the equivalence     (1J51)

class of all point pairs that have that separation. In this case, a particular quantity is a particular point pair.     (1J52)

Ravi Sharma: Chip - tuples do not have to be always in Powers of, but a set of units in the same sysytem generally     (1J53)

interrelatable (counterexample would be (centimeters, feet, hectare)?     (1J54)

Frank Olken: QUDT does not seem to have generic quantities, only kind of quantity and particular quantity.     (1J55)

Matthew West: David L.: OK, but then what is the distinction between that and a particular quantity. Looks rather like a     (1J56)

trope to me.     (1J57)

David Leal: Probably this is reasonable. Often the different "generic quantities" are handled as relationships. Hence     (1J58)

waist size is a relationship between person an length.     (1J59)

Ed Barkmeyer: Do you define "standard uncertainty"?     (1J60)

David Leal: Matthew: It does. This is why I want to work on it. If "1.3 m" is a class of point pairs and "1.3 kg" is a     (1J61)

class of quantities of matter, we have got rid of it.     (1J62)

Matthew West: Afraid I have to go now.     (1J63)

Frank Olken: Peter, Can I mute my phone? how?     (1J64)

David Price: *2 mutes a phone     (1J65)

Frank Olken: Thanks. I just muted my phone - I can not control the noise level here.     (1J67)

Gunther Schadow: Peter, I know you don't like it but I'm afraid I have to dial in with Skype, I just connected, but     (1J68)

still in my meeting.     (1J69)

Peter P. Yim: @Gunther ... Chip Masters is going into the last couple of his last slide now ... how soon can you call in?     (1J70)

Mike Bennett: Gunther, ith Skype make sure Skype has the focus, then the *3 should work     (1J72)

anonymous1 morphed into Joe Collins     (1J73)

Ravi Sharma: Chip - thanks - you may want to send email on tuples query above, thanks for your response.     (1J74)

Frank Olken: Dr. Masters: I believe that vector magnitude should be an integer not a float. Do you have example?     (1J75)

Ravi Sharma: Vector is a continuous value hence depending on the measure of units, a fraction for each dimension of     (1J76)

vector, similarly for tensor.     (1J77)

Ed Barkmeyer: Note: a "rational" power (based on a polynomial expansion) is not a "float"; i.e., the exact ratio of     (1J78)

two integers. I suspect that the only fractional power commonly in use is square root (1/2).     (1J79)

Mike Bennett: So, are there standard Roman equivalents for each of those greek letters e.g. you have u for mu.     (1J80)

Pavithra Kenjige: Peter, I can not open Dr GuntherSchadow's slides.. but i was able to open other slides..     (1J81)

Pavithra Kenjige: Can other people open Dr. Gunther's slides?     (1J82)

David Price: I can open the PDF file I dowbloaded     (1J83)

Mike Bennett: @Pavithra it is a 12 megabtyte file, I can open on a fast line     (1J84)

Ravi Sharma: What is meant by commensurable - is it defined anywhere?     (1J86)

Ravi Sharma: Dr. Schadow -Who are the users of UCUM medical, clinical, logistics, equipment, procedures of medical     (1J87)

tretment, phrmaceutical, etc?     (1J88)

Ravi Sharma: Dr. Schadow - how could we understand the semantic algeraic concepts, are these set of tuples of related     (1J89)

measures, units used in a particular medical community?     (1J90)

Frank Olken: Gunther, I agree with EdBarkmeyer. algebraic dimensional equivalence is not the same as comparability !     (1J91)

There is also the issue of interval     (1J92)

Frank Olken: measures vs. coordinates.     (1J93)

Chip Masters: Frank: Coulomb's Law states that the force exerted between two charged particles is proportional to the     (1J94)

square of the distance between them; i.e. if F denotes force, Q for electric charge, L - length, M - mass, T - time, we     (1J95)

can state a weaker form of Coulomb's Law as a proportionality (where '~' denotes 'proportional to')     (1J96)

F ~ Q^2 L^-2     (1J97)

Replace F with its expression in base quantity kinds (L, M, T)     (1J98)

F = L^1 M^1 T^-2     (1J99)

Then solve for Q to get     (1J100)

Q ~ L^3/2 M^1/2 T^-1     (1J101)

So in CGS the dimension vector for electric charge is (3/2, 1/2, -1)     (1J102)

Pat Hayes: Can anyone give an example of what Ed is talking about? Differnt Q kinds with the same ISO units?     (1J103)

Mike Bennett: @Pat - torque versus energy is a better example I believe     (1J105)

Peter P. Yim: we will need to address the UCUM IPR issue at some point ( ... perhaps we could start a dialog about it now)     (1J107)

... I'm proposing that the UCUM folks consider (following the IEEE model) allowing the use of UCUM by the     (1J108)

UoM_Ontology_Standard working group with the understanding that it will be given an "open" license iff     (1J109)

UoM_Ontology_Standard makes it to International Standard (which the group will decide to pursue) ... the understanding     (1J110)

also goes the other way, i.e. if UoM_Ontology_Standard does not make it to International Standard, you still keep your     (1J111)

proprietary rights.     (1J112)

Frank Olken: We are now at 2 hours into the teleconference. We were shooting to wrap this up in 2.5 hours.     (1J113)

Pat Hayes: Hmm, but Mike, UCUM has angle as a basic unity. Doesn't that resolve the energy/torque example? Are there any     (1J114)

Mike Bennett: I think it does. My understanding was that that's what that exchange was about, but I think dimensions /     (1J116)

angles are part of the answer and are handled in one std but not the other. If I understand this correctly.     (1J117)

Peter P. Yim: @EdBarkmeyer & Pat Hayes - ref. Ed's slide#4 ... should the FOL language of choice be CLIF or CLIF+IKL?     (1J118)

Pat Hayes: @peter, regarding IKL. It should be CLIF, because 1. IKL expressiveness isnt likely to be relevant here 2. IKL     (1J119)

is not yet standardized 3. (recent unpublished work) IKL is reducible to CLIF in any case.     (1J120)

Peter P. Yim: @PatHayes ... thank you for the enlightening answer     (1J121)

Ravi Sharma: ED- Chip-Does SPIN allow full ontology using- SPARQL is that equivalent to OWL usage?     (1J122)

Chip Masters: Ravi: Let's discuss SPIN offline, since it is off topic for this discussion. You can reach me at     (1J123)

cmasters [at] Please send your email and I will respond with more information about SPIN.     (1J124)

Ravi Sharma: ravisharma [at]     (1J125)

Pavithra Kenjige: I can do it.. who is going to fund it?     (1J126)

Peter P. Yim: @DavidLeal - further to Ed's slide#7 ... let's work offline, and dedicate a page for the "strawman"     (1J127)

anonymous morphed into Lin Zhang     (1J129)

Lin Zhang: Hi, Peter ... How long time has the meeting been going? Thanks!     (1J130)

Peter P. Yim: @LinZhang - Hi Forest, this has been on for about 2Hr 20 min now     (1J131)

Lin Zhang: @Peter - Thanks a lot for update the attendees list.     (1J132)

Frank Olken: Ed, I think that we should think about using some sort of issue management system (bug tracker ...) once we     (1J133)

try to move forward on a standard.     (1J134)

Joel Bender: BAH! I just lost all telephone traffic off campus.     (1J135)

Ravi Sharma: Ed thanks for a ver yconcise presentation.     (1J136)

Frank Olken: I also think we should develop the standard directly in XHTML.     (1J137)

Pat Hayes: Ed, amen to that last point -- That going from an agreed consensus (even when we get to that) to a     (1J138)

final standard is a LOT of work.     (1J139)

Peter P. Yim: Frank ... please document your point about "tracking" on the chat ...     (1J140)

Ravi Sharma: Ed, are we going to interrelate different units of measure in an ontology that defines how many types of     (1J141)

relations different type     (1J142)

Joel Bender: If we are going to be using UML graphs in our documents, I am interested in finding a plain text language     (1J143)

that can be used to exchange UML models and be consistently rendered. I and found, are there     (1J144)

Ed Barkmeyer: Joel, there is an OMG standard for textual representation of UML, and I believe it has several     (1J146)

implementations. (There is as yet no standard for exchanging UML diagrams.)     (1J147)

Frank Olken: I think we will also need to ensure that there is a need to have some sort of authorative online server for     (1J148)

the ontology.     (1J149)

Frank Olken: I agree on the need to differentiate between coordinates and interval masures.     (1J150)

Frank Olken: I favor restricting our agenda to "physical units". Currency can be done later.     (1J151)

Ravi Sharma: Mike Bennett: Thanks for the comment, for ODM you may want to contact Evan Wallace or Elisa Kendall .     (1J152)

Mike Bennett: @ Frank - if and only if the wider framework fdoesn't somehow preclude that. I think David's point on the     (1J153)

voice right now aplies: people need to be able to add their own units from their own spaces.     (1J154)

Frank Olken: I favor the use of OWL 2 Full or CLIF for formal specification.     (1J155)

Mike Bennett: UML - ontological impliucations are unclear if we use informal UML. If we use ODM, the semantics are     (1J156)

Frank Olken: I also think we should be able to support customary units, but initial focus should be on SI and perhaps     (1J158)

some bastard     (1J159)

Frank Olken: quasi metric units such as mg/ml.     (1J160)

Mike Bennett: @Ravi - I'm using (adapted) ODM already. I've spoken with Elisa at length on this.     (1J162)

Pat Hayes: It is easy to forget to lower ones hand.     (1J163)

David Leal: I think that Ed's summary in natural language of the four types of "quantity", which is loosely derived from     (1J164)

the UML diagrams, is the best starting point for a formal ontology. This part at least can probably be represented in     (1J165)

Frank Olken: Ed, I may have a little more time to work on this this fiscal year.     (1J167)

Pat Hayes: Regarding restricting ourselves to SI and doing currency later: big risk of settling on a neat but limited     (1J168)

framework that does not extend. UCUM is a very good example.     (1J169)

David Price: I share Peter Yim's concerns in his current comments. Any ontology this effort produces must be freely     (1J170)

available on the Web with no limits on its use.     (1J171)

Mike Bennett: @Pat exactly my point. If we get it right it won't be a problem. If we don't, I'm stuck.     (1J172)

Frank Olken: Pat, I understand, but am worried about mission creep and our ability to finish in a timely fashion.     (1J173)

Ed Barkmeyer: Frank, I may have less. We have new management at two levels, and I don't know what our brief will be.     (1J174)

Rex Brooks: I think the IPR discussion is probably something that will take several discussion sessions.     (1J175)

Mike Bennett: @Frank - fixing something later because it's broken takes longer than getting the overall framework and     (1J176)

context right in the first go.     (1J177)

Pat Hayes: @Frank, I think we can be sufficiently general without undue creep     (1J178)

David Leal: There is a view that currencies are commodities not units.     (1J179)

Mike Bennett: @David. They are. Actually they are contracts of a kind. But things are measured in them. Hence the need to     (1J180)

get the framework right at the most general level.     (1J181)

Pat Hayes: @Mike: you may be able to tweak them.     (1J182)

Mike Bennett: @Pat good point.     (1J183)

Peter P. Yim: Frank announces: for the Friday 30-Oct-2009 workshop at NSF, National Science Foundation,     (1J184)

Arlington, Virginia, USA (Washington DC "Ballston" metro station)     (1J185)

Frank Olken: the Oct. 30 meeting will be in Room 1235 at National Science Foundation in Arlington VA. We need     (1J186)

participants to preregister to get badges, and to bring photo IDs, e.g., either driver's licenses or passports     (1J187)

(foreign nationals). I will provide the email address for a contact person about badges.     (1J188)

Mike Bennett: Bother, I've just booked flights in and out of North America, leaving Friday morning.     (1J189)

Peter P. Yim: from Ed Barkmeyer: we'll need volunteers ... and a management call too (in short order)     (1J190)

Ravi Sharma: Thanks everyone     (1J191)

Peter P. Yim: Thanks everyone ... great session! ... bye bye and out!     (1J193)

-- end of chat-transcript --     (1J194)

Further Question & Remarks:     (1J195)

  • please post them to the [ uom-ontology-std ] listserv     (1J196)
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Audio Recording of this Session     (1K)

For the record ...     (1K6)

How To Join (while the session is in progress)     (1L)

This page has been migrated from the OntologWiki - Click here for original page     (1L4)