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News from _An OWL2 Far_ (ISWC 2008 Panel Discussion)

October 28th, 2008

Stefan Decker raised a case “missing children” indicating that Description Logic, or more precisely open world assumption, maybe overkill because it is not needed in most real world applications even though AI researchers like it.

Michel Dumontier, as a researcher trying to adopt OWL, reviews the well-known semantic web benefits, again, from the SW developer community who hopes these nice features will be helpful to real world Web developers and users.

Tim Finin, “maybe we’re a victim of our own success”. Moving towards KR monoculture could be quite dangerous. He raises some examples that OWL does not fit, e.g. when encoding knowledge extracted from knowledge, a lot of information lots such as time, uncertainty, and provenance.

Ian Horrocks claims that OWL has good connection with other KR approaches, OWL is not going to solve all problems, but it is useful in general.

One biggest argument raised by many is that “is OWL useful?” not even “is OWL2 useful”. Of course there are both supportive and negative evidences, and neither side can convince the other side. Someone also argue that the learning curve of OWL will just stop potential user. (Industrial adoption is a better benchmark because researchers are more flexible).

Another issue is “scalability”. Jim Hendler tried to be even worse than Stefan, Twine is claimed to Semantic Web applications, it use a few pieces of OWL to scale up. In general, scalability is the non-negotiable requirement of Web data computation. That is database community avoids, for instance, recursion in relation algebra.

A third question, raised by David Karger, “what are we doing with OWL? Which pieces of OWL are actually being used, and Why?” (This is actually a motivation for OWL2, and why three OWL2 fragments are proposed. We are looking forward to see if OWL working group can give industrial users a good answer.)

Well, a fourth question is “OWL2 is KR, i.e. a family of Description Logics profiles that link to other KR languages?” and/or “OWL2 is trying to promote better web or semantic web applications?”.

Closing remarks (I did my best to keep it original)
* Ian, “choose hope, not fear”
* Tim, “I can see Russia from my house”
* Michel, “OWL is pretty good language”
* Stefan, “if you did not fix the little thing, you may miss the boat”

By Li Ding
Greetings from ISWC 2008

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  1. October 29th, 2008 at 17:31 | #1

    2 Far == Too far.

    Some quote:

    * What Is OWL Good For? http://decentralyze.com/2008/10/28/what-is-owl-good-for/
    * How Might OWL Fail? http://duncan.hull.name/2008/10/27/owl-experiences-and-directions-owled-2008/

    And a funnier post (no offence, just thought it funny) : http://www.cs.man.ac.uk/~hulld/q2008-02-21.html

    “In computing, the second-system effect or sometimes the second-system syndrome refers to the tendency to design the successor to a relatively small, elegant, and successful system as an elephantine, feature-laden monstrosity.”

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  1. October 30th, 2008 at 17:20 | #1