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This communique is a first draft of one proposed to be issued at the UpperOntologySummit.     (1)

This page contains a work in progress, that has not been agreed to yet. This is a space where group authoring of the final communique can take place.     (2)

Contents

=================    (3)

Sample Communique     (3A)

=================    (4)

Joint Statement of the Panelists of the Upper Ontology Summit     (5)

March 15th, 2006     (5A)

Background     (5B)

The science and technology of representing knowledge in a form suitable for use and reasoning in computers has been developing for over thirty years. Practitioners in the field have achieved an increasingly detailed understanding of the fundamental components of meaning and how to represent them in formats suitable for computer processing. With the success and expansion of the internet, the potential for creation of a Semantic Web has become widely recognized, and the number of teams and individuals creating knowledge classifications of varying degrees of logical formality has dramatically increased. As this technology develops further it will enable deployment of computer applications with increasing ability to make reliable knowledge-based decisions that currently require human effort. Programs with such enhanced capacity will increase the speed and efficiency of automated information analysis and exploitation.     (5B1)

Much recent emphasis has been focused on creating common syntactical formalisms for representing knowledge, but syntactical formalisms alone do not provide an effective standard of meaning. The complementary technology for effectively representing the semantic content of complex widely used concepts is also available, but agreement on a standardized set of conceptual elements has not yet been reached. The need for such agreement is increasing rapidly as many isolated projects of varying complexity have been initiated to capture knowledge in computer-interpretable formalisms. Without a common resource for specifying meaning in a uniform fashion, the great potential for sharing knowledge usable for computer reasoning will not be realized.     (5B2)

A new initiative is needed to find agreement on a set of basic concepts that can be easily understood and exploited by diverse communities of users to permit their systems to accurately exchange detailed meanings for the concepts they need to communicate with each other.     (5B3)

The basis for detailed representation of meaning is now available in several upper ontologies together with associated mid-level and domain ontologies, reflecting the results of decades of research and development in knowledge representation. Each of these ontologies has an existing community of users. Finding a means to relate these ontologies to each other and to make them easily usable by other developers of domain ontologies can provide users with access to the essential common standard of meaning that will allow accurate interchange of conceptual information among multiple communities, significantly enhancing the value of the knowledge in each of the communities whose knowledge bases are linked to the common standard.     (5B4)

Conclusion of the Upper Ontology Summit     (5C)

The theory and technology of knowledge representation and conceptual modeling have advanced to a stage where meanings of terms can be formally specified in computer systems with great detail and precision. To demonstrate the power of this technology and provide benchmarks by which objective evaluations of alternative methods of representing knowledge can be tested, it will be helpful to create sophisticated open-source applications available for public evaluation [NG: I don't understand why this statement is here]. Each of the existing upper ontologies can provide a basis for a standard of meaning representation for a large set of applications, but the assumptions made are sufficiently different that knowledge in one ontology cannot at present be accurately translated into another. To ease the creation of applications that can take advantage of any of the existing upper ontologies, we now want to develop methods to relate the existing upper ontologies to each other. We have agreed to take substantive steps toward developing methods to interrelate the existing upper ontologies to each other. The result of a successful effort will provide a standard of meaning that will be freely available and readily adapted as a basis for any domain ontology. It will enable a high level of interoperability, and a means to develop basic ontologies that can be incorporated into more functional ontologies using any of those upper ontologies linked to it.     (5C1)

Conclusion of the Upper Ontology Summit in Brief     (5D)

Key Communique Points as of 3/15/2006-09:20am; adopted unanimously by all 'custodians'     (5E)

[1] The theory and technology of knowledge representation, reasoning and conceptual modeling have advanced to a stage where meanings of terms can be formally specified in computer systems with great detail and precision.     (5E1)

[2] With the success and expansion of the internet, the potential for achieving semantic interoperability across interconnected applications has become widely recognized, and the number of teams and individuals creating knowledge classifications of varying degrees of logical formality has dramatically increased. As this technology develops further, it will enable deployment of computer applications with increasing ability to make reliable knowledge-based decisions that currently require human effort. Programs with such enhanced capacity will increase the speed, efficiency, and sophistication of automated information analysis and exploitation.     (5E2)

[3] Much recent emphasis has been focused on creating common syntactic formalisms for representing knowledge, but syntactic formalisms alone do not provide an effective way for describing what counts most: semantic content.     (5E3)

[4] The complementary technology for effectively representing the semantic content of complex widely used concepts is also available, but agreement on standardized conceptual building blocks has not yet been reached.     (5E4)

[5] The need for such agreement is increasing rapidly as many isolated projects of varying complexity have been initiated to capture knowledge in computer-interpretable formalisms. Without the means for specifying intended meaning by means of well-understood conceptual building blocks clearly related and contrasted with each other, the great potential for sharing knowledge usable for computer reasoning will not be realized.     (5E5)

[6] Several candidate upper ontologies are available, reflecting decades of research and development.     (5E6)

[7]Each upper ontology has an existing community of users, but each community only has access to a fraction of the total resources available.     (5E7)

[8] To promote interoperability and the exploitation of these upper ontologies, we intend to find a principled means of articulating the relationships (including differences) among them. As a result, this initiative will significantly enhance the value of the knowledge in each of the communities whose knowledge bases are linked to these interrelated upper ontologies.     (5E8)

[9] These upper ontologies are available and should be rigorously and independently evaluated. They must also be easy to use and assess by developers of domain ontologies and applications.     (5E9)

[10] For the forseeable future, we anticipate there will be multiple upper ontologies. We will articulate the commonalities and the reasons for the major differences in the upper ontologies.     (5E10)

Prior version     (5F)

(1) We agree that the technology of modeling and representing knowledge has developed to the point where it makes possible the creation of knowledge-based reasoning systems that significantly enhance the capabilities of existing relational database systems and object-oriented programming, to provide information analysis and exploitation capabilities that cannot be realized with those traditional systems alone.     (5F1)

(2) Each of the existing upper ontologies differs in specifics of implementation, but we all agree that use of some formally defined common upper ontology by an organization or community is the most cost-effective method for achieving semantic interoperability that can scale from a few applications to diverse knowledge-based reasoning systems.     (5F3)

(3) Each of the existing upper ontologies has different strengths, and we believe that the technology will be advanced most rapidly by continuing exploration of such different approaches, while finding the common elements that will help users develop applications that can take advantage of any of the well-structured formal upper ontologies.     (5F5)

(4) We believe that finding methods to relate different upper ontologies to each other will have near-term practical benefits in enhancing interoperability of knowledge-based systems, and will also permit more effective investigation of reasoning methods on large knowledge bases.     (5F7)

(5) As one means of interrelating the existing upper ontologies, we plan to explore the possibility of creating a common subset ontology that will be accurately translatable into each of the linked upper ontologies. In addition to making the existing upper ontologies more easily accessible, this can provide a simple but powerful tool to allow users to explore creation of interoperable systems with basic reasoning capability on a pilot scale.     (5F9)


This page has been migrated from the OntologWiki - Click here for original page     (5F11)