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> Uche Ogbuji wrote:
> In fact, one way to look at DAML+OIL is as the business
> rules for the Semantic Web, yet it's much more flexible
> than most business-rules-languages in common use.
> Most of DAML+OIL's power comes from primitives for
> expressing classifications, as the race boards example
> illustrates. DAML+OIL provides a toolbox of class
> expressions, which bring the power of mathematical logic
> and set theory to the tricky and important task of
> mapping ontologies through classifications.
> This hits the nail on the head.
> Once something is properly classified, you can safely
> decide what you want to do with it. One of the important
> features of DAML+OIL => OWL is that ontologies may be
> decentralized and distributed. Just as the current Web
> allows anyone with an internet account to become a
> publisher, the semantic web will allow anyone to publish
> his or her classification. Once you realize the
> importance of classifications, this becomes quite
I'm sure many of the rdf-logic folks came about this insight through rigorous training, but it came to me in a client project. When we started developing the ontology in the Sun project I've described here recently, I thought we were going to need some heavyweight business rules coding. In fact, we at Fourthought had already developed RDF Inference Language (RIL) as basically an expert systems shell for RDF, in order to implement such knowledgebases.
I was amazed as we proceeded in design and analysis that pretty much all the business rules could be couched as classification problems. In the end, it turned out that DAML+OIL plus a solid query language (for which we used Versa) was all we needed for such business rules (we've since abandoned the inference part of RIL), and it was all declarative. It turns out that this is one of the most flexible designs I've ever been involved in, and I've come to understand some of the promise of WebOnt at least in closed systems. I will watch with interest as distributed ontologies come into play: ours was highly centralized, so we could manage performance and other matters closely.
Certainly I have become a believer in the fundamental soundness of this approach.
Uche Ogbuji Fourthought, Inc.
http://uche.ogbuji.net http://4Suite.org http://fourthought.com
Track chair, XML/Web Services One (San Jose, Boston): http://www.xmlconference.com/
DAML Reference - http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2002/05/01/damlref.html
The Languages of the Semantic Web - http://www.newarchitectmag.com/documents/s=2453/new1020218556549/index.html
XML, The Model Driven Architecture, and RDF @ XML Europe - http://www.xmleurope.com/2002/kttrack.asp#themodel