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   Re: [xml-dev] equivalentTo vs. XSLT

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Miles Sabin wrote:
> I don't think anyone would say that using XSLT transforms to map between
> vocabularies is in any interesting sense a SW technology. And yet it
> seems to be enough to cover one of the primary use-cases for OWL. Which
> takes us back to Mikes earlier question,
>   I know the questions are being asked, but are the answers helping
>   people to do real work more productively than they could without SW
>   technologies?
> and suggests that in this case at least, the answer is "No".

At a first approximation OWL DL allows people _who are already using
description logics_ to exchange ontologies on the web using a common
language to encode DL ontologies. There are alot more people using DL than
you might expect e.g. the medical community. OWL is intended to allow the
folks mentioned in http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2002/11/06/ontologies.html to
use a common interchange language -- not that they all will adopt OWL, but a
significant portion of the ontology community has committed to it.

Now there are always many ways to skin a cat, and you can always argue that
for any particular problem there is an easier way to solve it. I won't argue
that argument, just point out that real folks _are already_ using DL to
solve real world problems and suggest that OWL does make it easier for them
to get their work done. At least some folks think that OWL may do for DL
what XML has done for SGML ... that is popularize and widen the use of an
already working (albeit underutilized) technology.


> I don't believe that any logic that's likely to be interesting in this
> kind of context is decidable. Let's face it, your semantic web reasoner
> is going to have to do the same job as the transform, so how could it
> be guaranteed to terminate in finite time if the transform can't be?

Ahh but that is _exactly_ the point. DLs are carefully crafted exactly so as
to be able to give you this guarantee. DL is _not_ Turning complete. The
problem of classification does not require a Turing complete processor.

Try searching either the DAML+OIL or WebOnt WG archives for "soundness" and
"completeness" to get a start on these discussions.


> Perhaps ... but the point I'm trying to make is that we don't
> necessarily need a "semantic mapping language" in the SW sense. My
> guess is that in many, perhaps most, cases all we need are dumb syntax
> to syntax transforms.

See above. For those of us who are concerned with the efficiency, soundness
and completeness of classification and "semantic mapping" what we need is
not a Turing complete language -- which will not give us what we want -- but
a carefully crafted language that gives us just enough to get our work done,
and not enough to get us into trouble i.e. a classification operation is
guarenteed to terminate, and there is existing software that is capable of
doing so within a bounded period of time.



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