Ontolog Forum

Ontology Summit 2012: Session-03 - Thu 2012-01-26

Summit Theme: OntologySummit2012: "Ontology for Big Systems"

Track (1&2) Title: Ontology for Big Systems & Systems Engineering

Session Topic: Ontology for Big Systems & Systems Engineering - I : The Systems and Systems Engineering Problem Space

Session Chair: Dr. MatthewWest ... intro-slides

Panel Briefings:

  • Mr. JackRing (OntoPilot, US) - "Toward a Unified Ontology for Systemists" - slides
  • Mr. AnatolyLevenchuk ([[TechInvestLab]], RU) - "Ontology Engineering for Systems Engineering" - slides
  • Professor GiancarloGuizzardi (Federal University of Espírito Santo, BR) - "An Engineering Approach to Ontology Engineering in Complex Environments: the role of Foundational Theories and Ontological Patterns" - slides
  • Dr. MatthewWest (Information Junction, UK) - "Model-based System Engineering" - slides



Ontology for Big Systems & Systems Engineering - I: The Systems and Systems Engineering Problem Space

This is our 7th Ontology Summit, a joint initiative by NIST, Ontolog, NCOR, NCBO, IAOA & NCO_NITRD with the support of our co-sponsors. The theme adopted for this Ontology Summit is: "Ontology for Big Systems." The event today is our 3rd virtual session.

The principal goal of the summit is to bring together and foster collaboration between the ontology community, systems community, and stakeholders of some of "big systems." Together, the summit participants will exchange ideas on how ontological analysis and ontology engineering might make a difference, when applied in these "big systems." We will aim towards producing a series of recommendations describing how ontologies can create an impact; as well as providing illustrations where these techniques have been, or could be, applied in domains such as bioinformatics, electronic health records, intelligence, the smart electrical grid, manufacturing and supply chains, earth and environmental, e-science, cyberphysical systems and e-government. As is traditional with the Ontology Summit series, the results will be captured in the form of a communiqué, with expanded supporting material provided on the web.

This "Ontology for Big Systems & Systems Engineering" Track aims to bring key challenges to light with large-scale systems and systems of systems for ontology and identify where solutions exist, where the problems require significant research, and where we can work towards solutions as part of this summit. The areas to be considered include:

  • working with and integrating the results of models using multiple modeling languages
  • the systems lifecycle and the issues of sharing data within and between lifecycle stages
  • the difference between requirements and the delivered system
  • systems of systems vs systems,
  • the nature of system components and the difference between these and the parts installed,
  • the connections between system components and what they carry,
  • systems behaviour,
  • federated systems both as a bit system, and as a solution to some of the challenges,
  • principles of how to construct good quality reusable models (ontologies)
  • the management of ontologies of and for large systems and the challenges in developing and maintaining them.

In this session we want to look at the problems in big systems and systems engineering where ontology has a role to play. The aim is to uncover the various areas where challenges exist that the world of ontology can contribute to, which we will delve into in the next panel session.

More details about this Summit at: OntologySummit2012 (home page for the summit)


Ontology Summit 2012 - Panel Session-03

  • Session Format: this is a virtual session conducted over an augmented conference call


Please refer to the above

IM Chat Transcript captured 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 in-session chat-transcript --

Peter P. Yim: Welcome to the

Ontology Summit 2012: Session-03 - Thu 2012-01-26

Summit Theme: Ontology Summit 2012: "Ontology for Big Systems"

Track (1&2) Title: Ontology for Big Systems & Systems Engineering

Session Topic: Ontology for Big Systems & Systems Engineering - I :

The Systems and Systems Engineering Problem Space

Session Chairs: Dr. Matthew West

Panel Briefings:

  • Mr. Jack Ring (OntoPilot, US) - "Toward a Unified Ontology for Systemists"
  • Mr. Anatoly Levenchuk ([[TechInvestLab]], RU) - "Ontology Engineering for Systems Engineering"

- "An Engineering Approach to Ontology Engineering in Complex Environments:

the role of Foundational Theories and Ontological Patterns"

  • Dr. Matthew West (Information Junction, UK) - "Model-based System Engineering"

Session page:

Mute control: *7 to un-mute ... *6 to mute

Can't find Skype Dial pad? ... it's under the "Call" dropdown menu as "Show Dial pad"


anonymous morphed into Tom Tinsley

anonymous2 morphed into Tim Darr

anonymous3 morphed into Matt Hettinger

anonymous2 morphed into Roger Burkhart

Leo Obrst: Hi, all!

anonymous1 morphed into Christopher Spottiswoode

anonymous1 morphed into Nicola Guarino

anonymous1 morphed into Doug Foxvog

anonymous morphed into Joseph Simpson

anonymous2 morphed into Ernani Santos

anonymous morphed into Reginald Ford

anonymous morphed into Anatoly Levenchuk

JoelBender-1 morphed into Joel Bender

Nicola Guarino: Note that if you are using Skype you HAVE to call the nickname "joinconference".

Otherwise if you call a telephone number with Skype you cannot unmute yourself (this is what I


Jack Ring: I am unmuted and speaking

Jack Ring: I am on Skype

Peter P. Yim: @Nicola - my experience with skype is that you *can* do the mute/unmute with the "dial

pad" (under the "call" dropdown menu) .. .amybe we are running different versions of skype ... they

are definitely running different revision levels of their software depending on what platform -

linux, mac, pc, ipad, etc. you are on

Cory Casanave: Skype "joinconference" does not seem to have a way to enter the conference code - no keypad.

Peter P. Yim: @Cory - can't find Skype Dial pad? ... it's under the "Call" dropdown menu as "Show Dial pad"

Cory Casanave: It seems to work ok dialing the phone #

Jack Ring presents ...

Doug Foxvog: [ref. JackRing's presentation - slide#4] Why should simply adding cognates migrate a

system from being deterministic to being non-deterministic?

Cory Casanave: [ref. ?? in JackRing's presentation] Sounds similar to "SEMAT" (Software Engineering

Method and Theory) started by Ivar Jacobson

Leo Obrst: [ref. JackRing's presentation] What is "POSIWID"? On slide 3.

Ali Hashemi: "The purpose of a system is what it does"

Matthew West: @Leo: Purpose Of System Is What It Does

Ali Hashemi: cf -

Nicola Guarino: @Ali & Matthew: what it does or what it is intended to do?

Ali Hashemi: (if you follow the wiki link, it provides a very high level overview)

Matthew West: What it does!

Anatoly Levenchuk: Purpose of a system what is does (what service it have) as a subsystem in upper

level system.

Joel Bender: @Nicola - what is does, maybe not very well

Nicola Guarino: @Joel: hmmm....

Nicola Guarino: Is a broken system a system?

Anatoly Levenchuk: @Nicola -- Yes, there is life cycle. Broken system on maintenance stage of it life


Anatoly Levenchuk: When we speak about what it does, that usually mean operation stage of it life

cycle. And enactment of it service at this stage.

Cory Casanave: Also, this may be applicable to: OMG RFP "A Foundation for the Agile Creation and

Enactment of Software Engineering Methods"

Anatoly Levenchuk: @Cory: I prefer ISO 24744 instead of this OMG RFP. It more ontologically correct.

Cory Casanave: How can a request be correct or not? It would be the response that would be correct.

Nicola Guarino: @Jack: I don't understand the comparison between formal ontology and an algorithm

Leo Obrst: I don't think there is a 1-1 relation between an ontology and an algorithm.

Cory Casanave: @Leo - Agree

Leo Obrst: Oops: same question, Nicola.

Ali Hashemi: An algorithm could represent an implemented and operational ontology given some

inference rules.

Ali Hashemi: could represent --> is analogous*

Nicola Guarino: formal ontology is a discipline

Ali Hashemi: @Nicola - Jack's formulation was "situated ontology"

Ali Hashemi: An algorithm represents the commitment of the programmers to what they believe exists in

the scope of its execution. If the procedures within the program further represent operations and

transformations (constraints on what is assumed to exist), then an algorithm can viewed as an

operational ontology under some inference rules, no? (informal, implicit ontology)

GaryBergCross: On the ontology - algorithm front, one could create an ontology to represent an

algorithm as a process, as I believe that John F. Sowa has pointed to.

Leo Obrst: An algorithm, by definition, specifies "how", whereas an ontology (like logic) specifies

"what". I think that the algorithm must closely correspond to the semantics expressed by the

ontology(ies), which indeed is hard to accomplish. Perhaps generating an algorithm from the

semantics is the way to go, but of course is very hard.

Ali Hashemi: @Leo, one quick point.. In specifying the "how" you (implicitly) commit to the what.

Nicola Guarino: @all: let's just list the problems now, devoting a few chat interactions to each,

otherwise we miss the whole picture presenters are trying to convey

GaryBergCross: With so many terms/concepts thrown around in the talk it would be nice to have

atop-level, context diagram for what Jack or others are proposing as this conceptual space.

Jack Ring: Which ontology? An ontology will be embedded in a system. Another will be embedded in the

SE human activity system. A third ontology will be embedded in the SE learning environment. In a

swarm of autonomous systems all three are inside the system.

Jack Ring: IN fact, one of the contributions of SE is to identify and resolve the gap between how

things are and what things should be. Beer's POSIWID must be revealed.

anonymous morphed into Line Pouchard

Anatoly Levenchuk presents ...

Nicola Guarino: @Anatoly: I appreciate very much the contrast between ontology engineering and

traditional mathematical tools

Matthew West: Yes, Engineers are generally interested in mathematical rather than logical models.

Giancarlo Guizzardi: @Matthew: the additional point is that they are frequently interested in

mathematical models which are insensitive to true ontological notions

Nicola Guarino: @Anatoly: just to understand, is a method a *way* to achieve a certain function (e.g.

cutting some materials by using lasers or scissors)

anonymous morphed into Evan Wallace

Matthew West: @Giancarlo: I agree with Ali on this. Mathematical models have implicit ontological

commitments. They may not be the ones that ontologists would wish them to make.

Nicola Guarino: @ Anatoly: very interesting distinction between counterintuitive and folk ontologies.

Still the objective in my opinion is being able to capture the actual language engineers use...

Matthew West: I think you will find Anatoly and I would disagree with you there. What is more

important is to have an ontology that is as acurate as possible to how things are, rather than to

accurately reflect how people talk about things.

Jack Ring: For example a software package Kollabnet prowls around in CAD files and extracts the terms

and operands, etc., then helps organize a cross reference (semantic web) that shows the

relationships and opportunities for parsimony.

Nicola Guarino: @Matthew: yes, but accuracy with respect to how things are is the goal of physics,

photography, and so on...

Leo Obrst: I still have an issue with "counterintuitive": perhaps it is naively counterintuitive, but

doesn't at least some of the ontology become intuitive to the expert?

Matthew West: @Nicola: And also ontology.

Ali Hashemi: @Leo, I think it raises an interesting question - how long does it take for

counter-intuitive insights to become common sense? (I think this is what Anatoly was emphasizing.)

Rex Brooks: Slide needs to be advanced.

Jack Ring: As Will Rogers said, it isn't what we don't know that hurts us, it is what we do know ---

that ain't so.

Ali Hashemi: And it does point to important human factors issues in creating a system with high

fidelity to reality, but also manageable for the end users.

Jack Ring: Any ontology must be vetted as fit for purpose.

Nicola Guarino: @Matthew: if we limit ourselves to describe (accurately) what things ARE we have no

way to express how we want to use them for specific purposes

Matthew West: @Ali: That is a good point. When I first came across 4D ontologies, I understood it,

but found it very difficult to put into words. These days I hope I can speak about it more or less

as it was an everyday idea. It takes time.

GaryBergCross: [ref. AnatolyLevenchuk's slide#8] What is formal pragmatics? Need more of a sense of

this and an example.

Ali Hashemi: I'm curious to know the response to Gary's question re "Formal Pragmatics"

Anatoly Levenchuk: Formal pragmatics --

Martin Serrano: Bit elaboration on finding out Federation of systems and Information modeling will be

healthy to get into the real meaning.. True is Federation is more than a logic or instrumentation

for modelling methods,

Leo Obrst: @Anatoly: I agree that formal pragmatics (presuppositions, implicatures, speech acts,

etc.) is needed, i.e., interpretation of the semantics in context and with respect to use, although

I am not sure about Habermas and his "Universal Pragmatics". Also, epistemology must figure in:

different belief stances.

Anatoly Levenchuk: @Leo -- formal pragmatics (that is slightly after Universal Pragmatics that is

more philosophical by nature) is more about logic than linguistics. While my friends linguists

wonder that contemporary logic branch of it is differ from linguistic one, while inherit most of


Leo Obrst: @Anatoly: I am a linguist/semanticist originally and think of formal pragmatics mainly

from that perspective. In the ontology world, this is mostly addressed via formalized use cases,

competency questions, which I admit is really just the beginning.

Anatoly Levenchuk: @Leo -- formal pragmatics is branch of philosophical logic, ontology is another

branch. They are siblings on knowledge tree :-)

Matthew West: @Nicola: Intentions are also something we can talk about in terms of what they are.

Doug Foxvog: When you need knowledge at different levels of granularity, why not use different

ontologies for the different levels? Some ontologies would be far more stable than others.

Amanda Vizedom: Nicola: IME, one very significant division of ontology applications falls long

whether they (are required to) model (a) some slice of the world, (b) information artifacts about

some slice of the world, or (c) both. In all three cases, the ontology models the thing, support

reasoning about the thing, and supports manipulation of the thing in various ways and degrees. IMHO,

a great many cases are of type (c), but developers think in terms of modeling (a) or (b), and not

always the right one, and different requirements and methods fit those two objects.

Jack Ring: The ontology of units of measure is traceable to standards and basic science. It can be

considered 'truth' at least to earth-bound users. In contrast the term "vigorously" in an ontology

is moderated by situation (we must accommodate Zadeh's fuzzy logic).

Doug Foxvog: If you can model a heuristic, you can ontologize it. If you can't define the heuristic,

then you can't ontologize it.

Matthew West: @Jack: Actually the ontology of units is surprisingly shakey. It turns out that the

standards can be interpreted (deliberately) in more than one way to avoid significant differences of

opinion aboiut what units are and how they are used. Fortunately no buildings will fall down as a

result of these differences.

Ali Hashemi: @Nicola, I would suggest those are two distinct issues. What we want (intention), vs

perhaps common but inaccurate views of the system. I suspect Anatoly's point emphasizing

counter-intuitive-ness is about the latter.

Leo Obrst: @Anatoly: Category theory indeed is focused on structure, as opposed to set theory, and

provides you ways of relating structures more generally, but multiple logics (and both their

syntaxes and semantics) can be represented. Perhaps that is what you mean?

Jack Ring: Anatoly: Is TRIZ an ontology?

Nicola Guarino: Nice idea of extending enterprise service bus to systems engineering

Nicola Guarino: (but I would drop the "smart" adjective, too many smart things are being advertised


Jack Ring: Matthew: Whether buildings fall down the fact was that a spacecraft crashed on MARS.

Matthew West: @Jack: that was simply not using the same units in different system. A much simpler

problem (ontologically) than what a unit of measure is in the first place.

Jack Ring: Matthew West: Not different system. It was using an attribute value in one program that was

expecting the number to be in the English system but was given a number in the metric system. An

ontology spanning both systems would have noted the difference

Jack Ring: @Matthew: The human mind cannot discriminate reality from illusion. Takes two the


Evan Wallace: Jack: I think that Matthew's point was that it wasn't an understanding of the notion

"unit" that was a problem, but rather false assumptions about which units were being used. Yes.

These sorts of false assumptions happen when you don't make units an explicit part of your model. So

many would agree that there is value in defining and using an ontology of quantities, units, and

measures, but the problem that Matthew mentioned about the ambiguity of the references for these

things makes it more difficult to get consensus on *one* such ontology.

Jack Ring: @Evan. Not quite. The error was in not addressing units in the design model. The

presumption "...false assumptions about which units were being used" is not correct because there

was not consciousness of 'which' anonymous morphed into Victor Agroskin

Matthew West: Welcome Victor

Leo Obrst: @Jack: I think TRIZ could be formalized as an ontology.

Jack Ring: @Leo, I tried to do this in 1992 with RDD-100 Software Engineering tool but got swamped

with other tasks.

Jack Ring: SE must presume that two or more people constructed the system model and that they did not

have a coherent weltanschaaung or even lexicon. Also, that Model(x) of one system and Model(y) of

another system must be harmonized if you intend to make these subsystems of a third system.

Matthew West: @Jack: Why more than one?

Victor Agroskin: Some ontology can be deduced from TRIZ. But the major value of TRIZ is a method,

thus you have to choose some method ontology (like ISO 24744) and combine it with domain ontology -

if you want to have a formal model of TRIZ.

Giancarlo Guizzardi presents ...

Peter P. Yim: @Giancarlo - when you get a chance, please supply me with a slide deck on which slide are

numbered (so I can swap it in). Thanks.

Jack Ring: Giancarlo's patterns are equivalent to my modularizations.

Matthew West: @Jack: That is a good link to make.

Cory Casanave: The use case being presented by Giancarlo is the subject of an OMG RFP:, of which Giancarlo is a participant.

GaryBergCross: Agree on the point of conceptual models being improved by by formal ontology


Jack Ring: Isn't this Panel scrubbing concepts into a 'formal' ontology?

Matthew West: @Jack: So if I am on a desert island, I don't know if it is real or a dream?

Cory Casanave: @Matthew, perhaps some people have more trouble with reality

Doug Foxvog: @Matthew: If you think you are on a desert island, it may be real, a dream, or some

other misconception.

Jack Ring: @MatthewWest. We have been over this before. Pls explain why witnesses to an event

describe it differently. Pls explain why design reviews of system concepts always find fundamental

logic or referent errors.

Nicola Guarino: @Giancarlo: distinguishing modeling patterns from analysis patterns sounds intriguing

(and new), but I am not sure I understand what analysis patterns are, in practice

Jack Ring: @Giancarlo, For the enterprise ontology let's start with "objective" and "goal"

Nicola Guarino: I have to leave now, bye everybody. Great session!

GaryBergCross: Also have to leave now...

Christopher Spottiswoode: Bye from me too - thanks to all!

anonymous morphed into Reginald Ford

Leo Obrst: @Giancarlo and all: I've always found some confusion between domain specific languages and

ontologies. I personally think that ontologies need to provide the semantics for those DSLs, no?

Cory Casanave: Perhaps we should support "multiple inheritance" of track topics

Giancarlo Guizzardi: @Jack: these are very important and interesting notions. I have been interested

in them for a while myself and have done some work in that direction. If you are interested, I would

be happy to shared them with you

Cory Casanave: @Giancarlo, please post reference to the group & seminar you mentioned.

Giancarlo Guizzardi: @Leo: yes, fully agree. In the ideal case, the metamodel (representing the

worldview) behind a DSL should be isomorphic to the ideal domain ontology of the domain

Leo Obrst: Will design patterns, analysis patterns, etc., be ontological constructs (with rules)? Are

there as yet repositories for these?

Terry Longstreth: My principal concern about the combining of tracks 1 and 2 is the loss of

discussion of emergent behaviors (since they are in my opinion, by definition, un-engineered) We've

tried to finesse this question by expanding the notion of engineering to include any system with

sentient inputs into its manifestations, but that seems to be to be a copout.

Leo Obrst: @Todd: can you place your question in the chat room? So we have a textual record? Thanks!

Giancarlo Guizzardi: @Todd: if you are interested, I can send you the references to UFO.

Bobbin Teegarden: @Giancarlo, please send refs to UFO to all

Giancarlo Guizzardi: @BobbinTeegarden: The foundational work of the structural part of UFO can be

found in

Giancarlo Guizzardi: @BobbinTeegarden: this has been used as a foundational for the modeling language

which now has been dubbed OntoUML

Giancarlo Guizzardi: @BobbinTeegarden: parts of the Event and Social fragments of UFO can be found in's%20ME%20semantic%20investigationTR20110610%5bCameraReady%5d.pdf

(analyzing the goal modeling extension of Archimate),

Bobbin Teegarden: @Giancarlo: Thank you, more on OntoUML?

Giancarlo Guizzardi: @BobbinTeegarden: the last one is an example of its use in analyzing a Software

Process Domain Ontology

Giancarlo Guizzardi: @BobbinTeegarden: Sorry for the delay...An approach based on OntoUML used at a

systems engineering department at the US DOD is described in

( ).

Giancarlo Guizzardi: @BobbinTeegarden: I will send more information in a second...

Giancarlo Guizzardi: @BobbinTeegarden: I have input a lot of information on specific parts of OntoUML

in the following OMG SIMF forum:

(see the lower part on discussions)

Peter P. Yim: @Matthew - please watch the clock

Matthew West: @Peter: Would it be better to drop my presentation in order ot make time for


Peter P. Yim: @Matthew - that's a thought but, it would be your call ... picking up from next session

(with Henson presenting his bit is not a bad idea)

Matthew West: @Peter: Yes that makes sense. I have one story to tell, and I can do that on the list.

Peter P. Yim: @Matthew - since you cannot be with us next week, I definitely would want to hear your

portion of the presentation

DeborahMacPherson: Great presentations! No questions but fascinating presentations

Matthew West presents ...

Terry Longstreth: @Matthew - JPL = NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory?

Peter P. Yim: @TerryLongstreth - ref. the change of Track labeling should not affect the conversation

(at least not the way we have seen conversations direct themselves on the mailing lists all along)

... I think combining the tacks helps people who are confused as to what track their conversation

belonged to, in the first place

Doug Foxvog: @Henson: For the strange life of system components, an ontology could represent the

model of the system, the physical components that fill the roles of the different components of the

model, and temporary and permanent IDs for the physical components. With such an ontology, the

various aspects you referred to on slide 7 could be

Doug Foxvog: referenced and distinguished.

Line Pouchard: @everyone: I am collecting ontologies for units at present. If anyone would like to

send me links, I'd be happy to examine them. I'd like in particular ontologies of units in OWL or

that can me translated into OWL. Thanks

Line Pouchard: I forgot to say, you can mention them here or send me private email.

Peter P. Yim: @LinePouchard - see:

Line Pouchard: @Peter: thank you

Cory Casanave: @Line, OMG has adopted but not yet published a date/time ontology which includes

units. The ontology is expressed in OWL, UML and SBVR.

Line Pouchard: @Cory: do you have a time frame for when it's available?

Cory Casanave: @Line, very soon - I can provide the document which is being prepared for publication.

Cory Casanave: @Line, the lead on the date/time ontology is Mark Linehan, IBM: email: mlinehan at us dot ibm do com

Fabian Neuhaus: @Cory, Line the OMG date/time ontology also contains CLIF axioms

Cory Casanave: @Fabian, sorry for the omission?

Fabian Neuhaus: @ Cory, I just thought that I mention it since the CLIF axioms are probably better

suited to understand the underlying model than OWL

Cory Casanave: @Fabian, yes - the CLIF is very precise in date/time.

Doug Foxvog: @LinePouchard:

Dickson Lukose: thank you!

Ali Hashemi: thank you all! take care.

Leo Obrst: Thanks, Matthew and all!

Dickson Lukose: bye

Giancarlo Guizzardi: Thanks a lot Peter, Henson and Matthew. very interesting discussions

Giancarlo Guizzardi: bye everyone

Peter P. Yim: -- session ended: 11:33am PST --

-- end of in-session chat-transcript --

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