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   Complex Systems [was: Ontologies vs Schemas vs Transformations]

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Hi Mike,

Mike Champion wrote:

> But how about the messy real world most of us must
> operate in, where there is an intent to deceive
> (spammers, virus writers, software companies with
> patents on common sense, politicians starting wars [or
> questioning the definition of "is"], ad nauseum)? How
> about in pop culture contexts where meanings of words
> are changed literally for the fun of it?

You make excellent points.  I will offer two comments:

1. In the RDF Primer are several examples of companies that are
currently using RDFS ontologies.  Shelley Power's book on RDF also has

2. Recently I have been doing some reading on "complex systems".  This
is a new, highly interdisciplinary science that has its roots in Chaos
Theory.  A complex system is one that has lots of parts, which interact,
and the system behaves in a seemingly non-deterministic fashion.  A
example of a complex system is the stock market - there are many parts,
and one part (I think they call it an affector) can impact remote
parts.  The complex systems people distinguish between a complex system
and a complicated system.  An automobile engine is an example of a
complicated system - if you understand all its parts then you can
predict exactly how it will behave.  This is not a complex system.  A
colleague defined a complex system as "a system that has dynamic

As I read your words it occurred to me that what you are really talking
about is a complex system.  As I learn more about complex systems, I
intend to see how their techniques can be used to solve the issues that
you raise.  This is exciting!  It might be fun to create a list to
discuss semantics and data interoperability as a complex system?  I am
just starting to learn about complex systems.  Does anyone have a lot of
experience with it?   /Roger

P.S. The Santa Fe Institute does work on complex systems.  Also, as does
the New England Complex Systems Institute (http://www.necsi.org)

P.S. A nice pop-science book on complex systems is called Complexity by


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