Ontolog Forum

Ontology Summit 2010: Panel Session-3 - "Training Requirements for Ontologists" - Thu 4-Feb-2010

Ontology Summit 2010 Theme: "Creating the Ontologists of the Future"

  • Panel Session-3 Topic: "What Are We Training For?"
  • Panelists:
    • Professor DeniseBedford (Kent State University) - "Requirements for Ontologists: Current and Future" - [ slides ]
    • Dr. MichaelUschold (Consultant) - "Ontology Engineer Requirements: Focus on what ontologists need to DO and KNOW" - [ slides ]
    • Mr. MikeBennett (Hypercube, UK) - "Sharing our experience in the EDM Council Semantics Repository work" - slides
    • Dr. JohnSowa (VivoMind Intelligence) - "Training for Ontologists: Translating Language to Logic" - [ slides ]

Conference Call Details

  • Date: Thursday, 4-February-2010
  • Start Time: 10:30am PDT / 1:30pm EDT / 7:30pm CET / 6:30pm GMT / 18:30 UTC
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Theme: Ontology Summit 2010 - Creating the Ontologists of the Future

This is our 5th Ontology Summit, a joint initiative by NIST, Ontolog, NCOR, NCBO and IAOA with the support of our co-sponsors. The theme adopted for this Ontology Summit is: "Creating the Ontologists of the Future" and was launched on 10-Dec-2009. Like previous years, this Ontology Summit will comprise of three months of virtual discourse, over our archived mailing lists, wiki, and virtual panel sessions (like this one), and will culminate in a 2-day face-to-face workshop/symposium to be held on Mon & Tue, 15 & 16-March-2010 at NIST (Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA.)

  • Session Topic: What Are We Training For?
  • . Abstract: ... by AmandaVizedom
Increasingly, major national and international projects centered on ontology technology are being advanced by governments and by scientific and industrial organizations. This brings a growing need for ontology expertise and thus for new methods and institutions for the training of ontologists. The 2010 Ontology Summit will explore strategies to address this need in terms of curriculum, establishment of new career tracks, role of ontology support organizations and funding agencies, as well as training in the analysis and comparison of methodologies for designing, maintaining, implementing, testing and applying ontologies and associated tools and resources.
The "Content" and "Quality" tracks of this Summit focus, respectively, on identifying the subject matter that might form the content of ontologist training and on means of delivery that maximize quality in both the training itself and the ontologists it produces. For either of these discussions to be effective, however, we need to have a sense of the target: what is the training supposed to accomplish?
We will begin with remarks from our panelists, each of whom embodies one or more end-user (or "consumer") perspectives: those who hire ontologists and need a reliable way to identify qualified candidates; those looking for training that will adequately prepare them for careers as working ontologists; those who hire, manage, or evalute ontologists and have insight into the value of various elements of preparation; those who need supplemental training for themselves or staff to meet changing work needs. We will also look at the forthcoming Requirements survey, though we will not walk through all of it, or ask people to complete it, during this session. Questions, Answers, and Open Discussion will follow, with the aim of further developing our community understanding of the needs to which ontologist training ought to be addressed.
The session plan is to have each panelist speak for 10 minutes, assuming a small number of panelists. Default topic for each is the set of general questions to which the Requirements Track and this Session are addressed:
o . What are we training for?
o . What do working ontologists need to know?
o . What do ontologists need to be able to do?
Individual Panelists are free, however, to focus more specifically on particular points they see as worthy of emphasis: lessons learned, experiences, points that stand out as commonly overlooked or over-emphasized, and so on.
Goal: The Ontology Summit community is in general agreement that the most valuable and urgently needed training will be informed not only by theoretical considerations but also, and centrally, by the needs of ontologists seeking employment and employers seeking quality, useful ontologists. Our understanding of those needs, however, is scattered and divergent. This Panel session, and the "Requirements" track generally, are aimed at developing a richer and more clear picture of the requirements of employability (those trained are well-prepared for the available jobs) and deployability (those who hire trained ontologists find them ready and able to perform the needed work). The goal is not necessarily to maximize coverage within this session; the surveys, wiki, forum discussion, and other activities all the way up to the March face-to-face will each play a role in such maximization. Rather, the goal is to bring a strong "end-user" voice to the discussion, and to stimulate thinking and discussion across the Summit community as a whole.

Agenda & Proceedings

OntologySummit2010 - virtual panel-3 - Topic: "What Are We Training For?"

Transcript of the online chat during the session

see raw transcript here.

(for better clarity, the version below is a re-organized and lightly edited chat-transcript.)

Participants are welcome to make light edits to their own contributions as they see fit.

-- begin of chat session --

Peter P. Yim: Welcome to the

Peter P. Yim: Ontology Summit 2010: Panel Session-3 - "Training Requirements for Ontologists" - Thu 4-Feb-2010

Ontology Summit 2010 Theme: "Creating the Ontologists of the Future"

  • Panel Session-3 Topic: "What Are We Training For?"
  • Panelists:

o Professor Denise Bedford

o Dr. Michael Uschold

o Mr. Mike Bennett

o Dr. John F. Sowa

Peter P. Yim: details are on the session page at:

Peter P. Yim: .

anonymous morphed into RayMcCormick

anonymous morphed into JulitaBermejoAlonso

anonymous morphed into Nicola Guarino

Nicola Guarino: hi Ali! how are you?

Ali Hashemi: Hello Nicola! I am doing well.

Mike Bennett: Just tried dialing with a phone and it was worse than Skype. Hope the sound is Ok

Ali Hashemi: I keep on getting a "That was not a valid conference room"

Ravi Sharma: Denise: What is specifically meant by "ontological forms rather than developing in

context" -examples?

Arturo Sanchez: @DeniseBedford: (cf. slide 7) Of course, the development workflows are not linear.

Also, it is not clear at what point the ontology is actually consumed (i.e., it now becomes an

artifact of another development cycle, for instance, software development). Any comments?

Ravi Sharma: Denise: Would you agree that example of "business" would be a domain area such as XBRL

for financial services domain, I think Mike will address some of it? Further while i see a lot of

MDM, BPM, Data and Enity empashis in your definitions and workflow, I would like to know your views

on "data-to-information" of value to "business" and beyond data (even MDM) to terms and vocabularies

that help information exchange. Further Ontologies have to embrace concepts of "affinity" among

entities (Things) by weighing Predicates etc. Also CEP and decision support ...etc.

anonymous morphed into Elizabeth Florescu

Gary Bergcross: Denise on slide 8 you have "Enterprise Architecture (business architecture,

Gary Bergcross: Is there more in that item since the paren doesn't close?

Gary Bergcross: For Whom Do Ontologists Work? Organizational, besides the chief architect they often,

organizationally, work for a CIO.

Ravi Sharma: Thanks Denise, for response to my comments, let us also chat offline on such important


Ravi Sharma: Mike: Great summary on tools and their importance and balanced view from Ontology

development perspective including patterns - thanks.

Nicola Guarino: @MikeUschold: ontology design patterns are fine, but if they are too much

underspecified they don't really help semantic interoperability, since two people who adopt the same

pattern may actually disagree... Unfortunately most of the pattern on the site you mentioned are

very underspecified (check roles, collections, situations...)

Ravi Sharma: Ralph: great comments on patterns, and diverse applications, NASA telemetry, etc.reuse

is not clear to me yet?

Peter P. Yim: @RalphHodgson (and ALL): one good way to contribute asynchronously would be to respond to

the surveys and join the Real-time Delphi study - the single entry point to those is: ... thanks in advance

Nicola Guarino: I support VERY MUCH John Sowa's point on the importance of translating simple NL

statements in logic. I also agree o the importance of choosing right names for concepts, underlined

by Mike. In general, this kind of linguistic/logic competence is an essential requisite for an

ontologist. Unfortunately I have to go, bye bye everybody.

Amanda Vizedom: @Nicola: I quite agree, and in fact have spent significant time in recent months

thinking about how to take this right-on idea of Ontology Design Patterns and apply it in a way we

can really use. This has got, I think, to include at least specifying (formalizing) the technical

assumptions (DL-only like the current collection, for example), purpose (decision support,

classification, information retrieval, for example) and some other aspects of the application

context. Something that deserves a Ontolog session or thread of its own, I think!

Amanda Vizedom: Noting a point of MikeBennett's for record: importance of differentiating field X

from Xical Engineering. Ontologists must know how to take the principles of Ontology and apply them

in a situation to solve a problem (paraphrased).

Peter P. Yim: @MikeBennett: still can't quite catch that last sentence, can you type it out here,


Amanda Vizedom: Final point from Mike Bennett: "The art of doing ontology is the art of *not*

designing something."

Ravi Sharma: Mike: Where are we at using XBRL and (ontology oriented) transactions in financial


Rex Brooks: The notion of "not designing" ontologies, but discovering or capturing the structure or

organization of some domain of knowledge or discourse is what, for me personally, is FUN in the

sense that Mike Uschold was making in his last point.

Rex Brooks: It would be helpful to "capture" the minds of bright young people for the field of

ontology with this kind of FUN.

Steve Ray: For the record, I raised the question of the distinction between "design" and "creating an

ontology" that Mike Bennett raised.

Ravi Sharma: Mike: Does Ontology help bridge this apparent "lack of synchronization" between

Business Processes as you described and items such as "logical or physical data models"?

anonymous morphed into Jim Disbrow

Mike Bennett: @Ravi I would certainly hope so - my view (no shared by all?) is that ontology should

be situated within a formal place in the development methodology, which is why I see an ontologist

as being a kind of engineer as well as someone who understands meaning

Mike Bennett: @Ravi XBRL - long story...

Ed Dodds: @MikeBennett - ontoneer - function of the PMO?

Mike Bennett: @Ed

Ed Dodds: @RaviSharma Hitachi's "XBRL for Dummies" Primer advocating putting XBRL as far into the

data chain as possible -- don't know what traction that has. Did see MIX the other day

Amanda Vizedom: Ways of contributing asynchronously: (1) Respond to the Surveys, via the single-point

entry page, as Peter noted. This

page has information to help you decide which surveys to take, as well as links to each. (2) Share

  • your* thoughts on today's focal question, as our panelists have, by posting to this track's

Community Input page:

Peter P. Yim: and, of course, post any thoughts to the [ontology-summit] mailing list (with a proper


Peter P. Yim: to contribute to the discussion - see under:

Ravi Sharma: John: Of course being mentored by you on Ontolog Forum, I am indebted and todays

presentation is a good way to learn how to connect ontology learning and logic?

anonymous morphed into Michael Uschold

Michael Uschold: I wonder how much encoding sentences in English into first order logic is useful to

ontologists of the future, not sure how relevant today.

Mike Bennett: What John is saying defines the difference between someone who gets the concepts and

someone who drives tools

Mike Bennett: Add an understanding of linguistics into the mix? (as per this example = se couduire -

to drive oneself; v to drive cattle to market - a linguist would get that

Mike Bennett: I wonder if creating a reading list between us, would help us identify the sorts of

things that an ontologist should know or be familiar with before they can call themselves one of


Ravi Sharma: John: Many thanks for good explanation of english and logic, and I now see importance of

studying Aristotle and his influence into parsing english sentence. Now my related question, if we

have a reasonably clear (subjective) text as is semi-professional and publishable (no slang etc),

then what % of sentences typically would fall into logic types expressed in slide 7 exemplified by 6


Ravi Sharma: Amanda: model theoretic and physical entity and its model's congruence are a big open

topic that I would like to understand your perspective on? It is exteremely relevant to ontology

oriented learning and results.

Pavithra Kenjige: Hi, Dr Sowa, your emphasis on theory or logic rather than a particular tool is

interesting! Even though I agree with you, industry may not! People do look for experince in a set

of tools rather than theory!

Steve Ray: It should not be "rather than" but "in addition to".

Ed Dodds: @MikeBennett we could adopt #ontolog as a keyword on both and for

a start on the reading list

Mike Bennett: @Pavithra - that's a lot like the traditional difference between an engineer and a

technician. Industry needs both, but we'd be lost without the engineers i.e. the people who can

think in concepts 1st and tools 2nd

Pavithra Kenjige: Thank

Steve Ray: Excellent session. Thanks Amanda.

Fabian Neuhaus: thank you amanda, great job

Ravi Sharma: Amamnda: Thanks for a great session.

Pavithra Kenjige: Thank you, it was excellent!

Steve Ray: ...and thanks to the panelists.

Mike Bennett: @Ed good call

Mike Bennett: thanks Amanda and everyone, great session

Amanda Vizedom: Thank you Panelists!

Peter P. Yim: Great session ... thanks everyone!

Peter P. Yim: -- session adjourned 12:38pm PST --

-- end of chat session --

  • ... More Questions
    • For those who have further questions or remarks on the topic, please post them to the "ontology-summit" list so that everyone in the community can benefit from the discourse ... see the next section (below) on how you can participate, if you aren't already a member of the community.)
  • Please mark your calendars - next session (same time on a Thursday): Thu 2010.02.04 - Ontology Summit 2010 virtual panel session-4: "Quality" Track panel session - developing agenda will be at: ConferenceCall_2010_02_11

An Open Invitation

If you do find this initiative interesting or useful, we cordially invite you to join us in the "Ontology Summit 2010" virtual discourse that will be taking place in the next 3 months or so, and to the face-to-face workshop that will be held on 15 & 16-March-2010 as part of the NIST Interoperability Week in Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA.

  • Join us at some of the upcoming virtual panel discussion (on the Ontolog Forum) on this year's summit topics. Watch for the announcements!
  • Registration for the face-to-face workshop (Mon & Tue 2009.03.15 & 16) will be announced later. Please be on the look out for it!

Audio Recording of this Session

  • To download the audio recording of the session, click here
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  • Conference Date and Time: 4-Feb-2010 10:38am ~ 12:38 pm Pacific Standard Time
  • Duration of Recording: 1 Hour 49 Minutes
  • Recording File Size: 13.0 MB (in mp3 format)
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  • Take a look, also, at the rich body of knowledge that this community has built together, over the years, by going through the archives of noteworthy past Ontolog events. (References on how to subscribe to our podcast can also be found there.)

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