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   Re: A Light Rant On Ontological Commitment

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  • From: Uche Ogbuji <uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com>
  • To: Linda van den Brink <lvdbrink@baan.nl>
  • Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000 15:24:35 -0700 (MST)

> > > Provide multilingual mappings for terms and definitions
> >
> > This is indeed where a tremendous challenge lies.  I used to
> > be believe
> > such mapping was just a matter of effort: lock a few dozen people in a
> > room with multi-lingual dictionaries.  I now know much
> > better.  However,
> > even in cases where I've dealt with businesses willing to work with
> > ontologies (and this is a very sophisticated subset, of course), I've
> > found that the old idea is still very entrenched.  The
> > attitude is "we've
> > built multi-lingual apps before.  The challenge is no different when
> > building a knowledgebase".
> Interesting... Could you make explicit why this is such as challenge?

Usually, when you are writing a multi-lingual app, say using GNU gettext,
or the many other ML tools available, you are translating self-contained
snippets of language.  It tends to be little more than a matter of UI
testing to determine whether these translated snippets express the message
you planned to get across.  This common situation is often
not too far off from a 1 - 1 mapping.

In a knowledgebase, however, on which inferencing or network traversal is
to be performed, it is not a 1 - 1 mapping: in many common ontologies,
it's not unusual to find vertices with thousands of edges.  The
fine-tuning that makes a translated expression suitable along one edge
usually throws it off for another.  In such a case, the mapping itself
becomes a mini-graph, which adds a great deal of complexity.  Classic
network effect.  We already know how difficult
scalability is to achieve in semantic nets and frame-based systems.  The
additional dimensions that tend to be introduced by translation edges
greatly magnify this difficulty.

Uche Ogbuji                               Principal Consultant
uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com               +1 303 583 9900 x 101
Fourthought, Inc.                         http://Fourthought.com
4735 East Walnut St, Ste. C, Boulder, CO 80301-2537, USA
Software-engineering, knowledge-management, XML, CORBA, Linux, Python


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