Ontolog Forum

Overview of Semantic Integration - Thu 2016-02-18

Session Chair: Donna Fritzsche


Our goal is to build a common framework which will facilitate discussions regarding the role of ontologies within semantic interoperability ecosystems.

We will discuss themes, models, processes, functionality, considerations and measures which shed light on or help to communicate the Semantic Interoperability Ecosystem to a broader audience.

We will purposely focus on the role of ontologies within these frameworks. Examples will be used to illustrate our points.

It is hoped that the results of this session will help to frame and target the discussion in the domain-specific tracks to follow in the coming weeks. Together with findings from previous summits, this framework will provide a foundation and help direct conversation.


  • Overview - DonnaFritzsche and ToddSchneider [ slides ]
  • Speakers:
    • John Sowa (VivoMind Research) [ slides ]
    • Krzysztof Janowicz (Geography Department, University of California, Santa Barbara) [ slides ]
    • Lalit Patil (Ford Motor Company) [ slides ]
    • Hans Polzer (Consultant) [ slides ] [ slides in ppt format ]

Conference Call Details

  • Date: Thursday, 18-Feb-2016
  • Start Time: 9:30am PST / 12:30pm EST / 6:30pm CEST / 5:30pm BST / 1630 UTC
  • Expected Call Duration: ~1.5 hours
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[12:25] ToddSchneider: Slides:

[12:26] Mark Underwood: Hi All. Correction from last week: Hashtag (it's shorter) is #ontolog; use Tweetchat or equivalent to save rekeying it

[12:26] ToddSchneider:

[12:26] ToddSchneider:

[12:26] ToddSchneider:

[12:29] ToddSchneider: Agenda

  • Overview - DonnaFritzsche and ToddSchneider
  • Speakers:
    • John Sowa (VivoMind Research)
    • Krzysztof Janowicz (Geography Department, University of California, Santa Barbara)
    • Lalit Patil (Ford Motor Company)
    • Hans Polzer (Consultant)

[12:31] BrandonWhitehead: Hello all

[12:32] Donna Fritzsche: we will start in a few minutes

[12:34] ToddSchneider:

[12:36] Krzysztof Janowicz: Sorry, I assumed we do this in a panel style this time and only provided the 5-7 slides we were asked to. Thus, I will talk for like 5-10min not 20.

[12:36] ToddSchneider: Krzysztof, no problem.

[12:40] Donna Fritzsche: Connection Machine languages ---> not unlike map reduce/hadoop

[12:45] Donna Fritzsche: John - the venn diagram you shared is very similar to the IA venn diagram - created from a User Experience Design point of view. (Rosenfeld and Morville)

[12:54] MikeBennett: Interoperable Knowledge Representation for Intelligence Support (IKRIS)

[12:54] Gary Berg-Cross: Interoperable Knowledge Representation for Intelligence Support (IKRIS) as on John's slide.

[12:56] Gary Berg-Cross: @John What tools exist for modeling with and using IKL?

[12:57] Donna Fritzsche:

[12:57] Donna Fritzsche: IKRIS reference

[13:05] ToddSchneider: The NCOIC SCOPE Model for Interoperability provides a more nuanced examination of interoperability:

[13:10] Donna Fritzsche: "graceful degradation of services"

[13:10] LeoObrst: Just joining. Sorry for being late.

[13:12] Donna Fritzsche: @todd - service level agreements - context and semantic explicit

[13:13] ToddSchneider:

[13:15] ToddSchneider: Operational contexts need to be examined and made explicit during design time, not after the fact.

[13:15] ChristiKapp: Difficult to hear for some reason

[13:16] Donna Fritzsche: @todd - whose design time - which project's design time?

[13:17] ToddSchneider: Donna, that's part of the examination process.

[13:17] ChristiKapp: Can it also scale to other types of vehicles other than automobiles and trucks?

[13:21] LeoObrst: IKRIS: see Pat Hayes' site at

[13:23] ToddSchneider: Lalit, 'Number of decision points should go down', why?

[13:26] ToddSchneider: The notion of 'intelligent information' goes beyond the current understanding of semantic interoperability. But semantic interoperability is a necessary prerequisite.

[13:28] Donna Fritzsche: less, but more useful decisions overall

[13:28] Donna Fritzsche: data mapping decisions would go down

[13:29] Donna Fritzsche: leave more room for engineering design decisions

[13:29] ToddSchneider:

[13:29] Mark Underwood: BOMS are a great use case - I think this needs more study as it is highly rule-governed and should be more amenable that is suggested by this talk

[13:29] JackRing: Frank Lillehagen's method of 'semantic zoom' and perspective views addresses many of Ford's concerns.

[13:30] Mark Underwood: (having coded a lot of BOM logic in the 90's by 'hand')

[13:30] ToddSchneider: Hans is on slide 2

[13:36] JackRing: Can engineers promote and facilitate human convergence?

[13:36] Mark Underwood: {My Earlier typo *than is suggested}

[13:37] Mark Underwood: Polzer: Embrace diversity "Silo Lives Matter"

[13:38] John Sowa: Diversity and heterogeneity are two of the major requirements by Hendler and Tim B-L.

[13:39] Donna Fritzsche: great full circle points

[13:39] John Sowa: The definition of silo: no tolerance for diversity.

[13:46] BobbinTeegarden: Is 'scope' the same as 'context'?

[13:46] ToddSchneider: Not exactly. Scope has context. Context has scope.

[13:47] MikeBennett: @Bobbin Context is where you start from and Scope is how far you go.

[13:48] BobbinTeegarden: How does the concept of scope handle dynamics (morphing environments)?

[13:50] MikeBennett: The audible scope of this call has increased again.

[13:50] Krzysztof Janowicz: (The expected call duration was set to 90min; thus I have to leave in like 5-10min; sorry for that)

[13:51] ToddSchneider: Krzysztof, have any questions for Hans?

[13:51] Donna Fritzsche: Thank-you Krzysztof!

[13:53] Krzysztof Janowicz: In the context of human bodies, the scope of 'size' is mm to meters (not miles).

[13:54] Gary Berg-Cross: At times this way of talking about "context" seems like the role of an item.

[13:55] BobbinTeegarden: So is perspective related to context, then?

[13:57] ToddSchneider: Is there a definition of 'context'?

[13:57] Donna Fritzsche: The syntax and construction rules for documents - has context embedded

[13:58] MikeBennett: A possible perspective: in human use of words, every use of every word has its own unique context (language games). For engineering purposes we want to constrain symbols in the model, to represent something within a defined context, to have a reusable meaning. To the extent we can capture the context as part of that model (e.g. Leg in transport versus derivatives trading), then the meaning is more clearly understood and can be referred to more widely. Does that make sense?

[14:00] LeoObrst: At Boeing, circa 1996-7, our BOM was realized in terms of CAD-CAM, and vast correlated databases, on top of which we made some strides towards ontologizing the design engineering process, as part of the MADESmart program. NIST folks will recall this.

[14:02] Mark Underwood: Leo- I wonder what the current state is . . . Will the BOMs be stuck in a noSQL or HDFS-like unstructured thing? Seems like a step back, eh?

[14:04] BobbinTeegarden: Maybe it's not a semantic problem with interoperability, but a syntactic (scope, context, perspective) based problem...

[14:06] LeoObrst: @Todd: International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-9 and ICD-10:,

[14:07] ToddSchneider: Leo, thank you.

[14:07] Mark Underwood: It troubles me that the conversation occurs completely independent of the domain-specific software engineering initiatives, e.g, Microsoft's Domain Specific Modeling

[14:07] LeoObrst: @Mark: good question. I've not been involved in manufacturing systems for quite some time.

[14:08] Mark Underwood: No ICD, no pay

[14:09] John Sowa: The words scope, context, and perspective belong to an ontology for classifying ways that people relate to the world and to each other.

[14:09] MikeBennett: @John +1

[14:10] MikeBennett: Gary you're unmuted again - very noisy line

[14:10] Gary Berg-Cross: i would just add some context for ontologies can be set by using Competency Questions that discuss the types of things the ontology knows about and its domain and range.

[14:10] Mark Underwood: John: "Scope" is heavily overloaded in s/w engineering, sort of an unforunate invocation

[14:11] MikeBennett: To some extend scope and context (along with granularity etc.) relate to the ontological commitment of a given ontology.

[14:12] Mark Underwood: @Donna I suspect developers would say usability is poor, i.e., not "API-first"

[14:12] BobbinTeegarden: @Donna the visual gets to the real 'context', the right brain conceptual graph that encompasses the whole context. SMEs immediately grok the visual ontology, and start to make it theirs, modify it according to their scope and context. The visual part is key.

[14:13] MikeBennett: Presumably the extent to which different ontologies have similar ontological commitments, scope, context etc. (or explicit inclusion of context information), will determine the extent to which they can be used together?

[14:13] Donna Fritzsche: yes - Bobbin! visuals are key for many stakeholders. I think it has been a problem in the past.

[14:15] MikeBobak:

[14:15] Donna Fritzsche: meaning that I think a lack of visual representations for context has been a problem. SME's need the birds-eye view. Some of them will naturally be visual thinkers.

[14:15] LeoObrst: Open Ontology Repository (OOR) effort, which was subject of Ontology Summit 2008. Still a few such: COLORES, OntoHub, etc. Also: BioPortal is another repository.

[14:15] Mark Underwood: In some prelim outreach by Elsevier who has surveyed me on this topic, there's movement to develop ontology-based classifications to accompany academic pubs

[14:16] MikeBennett:

[14:16] Mark Underwood: Such as what Watson is doing after-the-fact for the ACM digital lib

[14:18] Mark Underwood: Recalling my complaint about "scope," the same applies to "context" - Take a Windows dump and you get one such meaning

[14:19] Gary Berg-Cross: Ontologies may have implicit scope but still may be understood by different people based on their role relations to the domain being formalized.

[14:19] ToddSchneider: Ravi, yes does help constrain interpretation.

[14:19] MikeBennett: To Ravi's point, Sign Language (e.g. ASL) also makes extensive use of context, I believe.

[14:20] RaviSharma: context notions are as John said language dependent it also provides brevity

[14:20] ToddSchneider: Oops left out the subject of last post: yes conetxt does help constrain interpretation.

[14:21] BobbinTeegarden: In terms of contexts in scope, does the context change with level of perspective abstraction, the observed 'reality' change as it does in fractal levels of abstraction? Implications for ontologies?

[14:22] Donna Fritzsche: context notions are also culturally dependent

[14:22] TerryLongstreth:

He drew a circle that shut me out-

Heretic , rebel, a thing to flout.

But love and I had the wit to win:

We drew a circle and took him In !

[14:23] Mark Underwood: *** To those of you on Twitter, if you follow @OntologySummit, we will follow you back and this will help promote our work here

[14:24] MikeBennett: I think there are 2 approaches to context: Making context available to a human reader - which is only useful for a human reader; and context embedded in the ontology in some way such that other systems can appropriately consume that data (and know when not to). In reality there will be a trade-off between the two I think.

[14:24] Mark Underwood:

[14:24] BobbinTeegarden: @Terry heart!

[14:26] TerryLongstreth: @Bobbin, thanks. I was trying to emphasize Hans' notion that scopes are bounded, but much of our work in NCOIC is finding where those boundaries can be moved.

[14:27] LeoObrst: One can have "ontological views", which act as perspectives/contexts into an ontology. These can also be linked to specific vocabularies (lexical resources). Also, one can attempt to model "situations" as complex contexts, then compose them.

[14:27] LeoObrst: Thanks, all.

[14:28] Gary Berg-Cross:

[14:28] Mark Underwood: +1 See you next week- socialize as you can

[14:29] ToddSchneider: Session ends 14:29 ET

[14:29] Donna Fritzsche: Thank-you all! Have a great week.

[14:29] KenBaclawski: The meeting page for the next session is

Session Recording

audio recording