Archive for the ‘SUMO’ Category

Algebraic and Analytic Programming

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Algebraic and Analytic Programming by Luke Palmer.

In a short post Luke does a great job contrasting algebraic versus analytic approaches to programming.

In an even shorter summary, I would say the difference is “truth” versus “acceptable results.”

Oddly enough, that difference shows up in other areas as well.

The major ontology projects, including linked data, are pushing one and only one “truth.”

Versus other approaches, such as topic maps (at least in my view), that tend towards “acceptable results.”

I am not sure what other measure of success you would have other than “acceptable results?”

Or what another measure for a semantic technology would be other than “acceptable results?”

Whether the universal truth of the world folks admit it or not, they just have a different definition of “acceptable results.” Their “acceptable results” means their world view.

I appreciate the work they put into their offer but I have to decline. I already have a world view of my own.


I first saw this in a tweet by Computer Science.

Standard Upper Merged Ontology (SUMO), One of the “Less Fortunate” at Christmas Time.

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

At this happy time of the year you should give some thought to the “less fortunate,” such as the Standard Upper Merged Ontology (SUMO).

Elementary school physics teaches four (4) states of matter: solid, liquid, gas, plasma, which SUMO enshrines as:

(subclass PhysicalState InternalAttribute)
(contraryAttribute Solid Liquid Gas Plasma)
(exhaustiveAttribute PhysicalState Solid Fluid Liquid Gas Plasma)
(documentation PhysicalState EnglishLanguage "The physical state of an &%Object. There
are three reified instances of this &%Class: &%Solid, &%Liquid, and &%Gas.
Physical changes are not characterized by the transformation of one
substance into another, but rather by the change of the form (physical
states) of a given substance. For example, melting an iron nail yields a
substance still called iron.")

Best thing is just to say it, there are over 500 phases of matter. A new method for classifying the states of matter offers insight into the design of superconductors and quantum computers.

SUMO is still “valid” in the sense Newtonian physics are still “valid,” provided your instruments or requirements are crude enough.

Use of these new states in research and engineering are underway, making indexing and retrieval active concerns.

Should we could ask researchers to withhold publications until SUMO and other ontology based systems have time to catch up?

Other alternatives?

I first saw this in: The 500 Phases of Matter: New System Successfully Classifies Symmetry-Protected Phases (Science Daily).

See also:

X. Chen, Z.-C. Gu, Z.-X. Liu, X.-G. Wen. Symmetry-Protected Topological Orders in Interacting Bosonic Systems. Science, 2012; 338 (6114): 1604 DOI: 10.1126/science.1227224

Topic Maps as Jigsaw Puzzles?

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

I ran across:

How could a data governance framework possibly predict how you will assemble the puzzle pieces? Or how the puzzle pieces will fit together within your unique corporate culture? Or which of the many aspects of data governance will turn out to be the last (or even the first) piece of the puzzle to fall into place in your organization? And, of course, there is truly no last piece of the puzzle, since data governance is an ongoing program because the business world constantly gets jumbled up by change.

So, data governance frameworks are useful, but only if you realize that data governance frameworks are like jigsaw puzzles. (emphasis added)

in A Data Governance Framework Jigsaw Puzzle by Jim Harris.

I rather liked the comparison to a jigsaw puzzle and the argument that the last piece seems magical only because it is the last piece. You could jumble them up and some other piece would be the last piece.

The other part that I liked was the conclusion that “…the business world constantly gets jumbled up by change.”

Might want to read that again: “…the business world constantly gets jumbled up by change.”

I will boldly generalize that to: the world constantly gets jumbled by change.

Well, perhaps not such a bold statement as I think anyone old enough to be reading this blog realizes the world of today isn’t the world it was ten years ago. Or five years ago. Or in many cases one year ago.

I think that may explain some of my unease with ontologies that claim to have captured something fundamental rather than something fit for a particular use.

At one time an ontology based on earth, wind, fire and water would have been sufficient for most purposes. It isn’t necessary to claim more than fitness for use and in so doing, it leaves us the ready option to change should a new use come along. One that isn’t served by the old ontology.

Interchange is one use case and if you want to claim that Cyc or SUMO are appropriate for a particular case of interchange, that is a factual claim that can be evaluated. Or to claim that either one is sufficient for “reasoning” about a particular domain. Again, a factual question subject to evaluation.

But the world that produced both Cyc and SUMO isn’t the world of today. Both remain useful but the times they are a changing. Enough change and both ontologies and topic maps will need to change to suit your present needs.

Ontologies and topic maps are jigsaw puzzles with no final piece.