[Sea-sa] Ask the question "define ontology in computer science", and ...

Robert Rovetto ontologos at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 15 07:21:33 UTC 2023

Hi all, 
I did not receive Peter's email on the sea-sa list, was not cc'd, and I don't see it on the archives yet, so I'll reply to the forwarded message.
Below is some Input (2), and context (1) for any future discussion on it in or outside of group meetings.  
FYI: I had two presentations this week in an vocabulary event. Others in CCSDS may have attended, but contact me separately details. (1) Context: To reiterate, anyone is free to reach out to me for ontology topics or collaborations. Since at least 2020 on the e-list and in meetings since I've expressed that. 
Again--the topic has been a focus area with special-interest for space (https://purl.org/space-ontology). As a focus area, I can contribute modest knowledge and perspectives. As a continuing student and relatively-young member of the group, collaborations are needed (contact me for connecting with current supervisor to potentially explore that).  
(2) Input on Peters email...
A) It's likely that I've met, know, or interacted with the author(s) of a number of relevant definitions of the term, or i've otherwise ruminated on them.
B) My living catalog of 'ontology' definitions: https://purl.org//rrovetto/CatalogOntologyDefinitions
C) A diagram of an overview of ontology: https://github.com/rrovetto/Ontology-Development-Guidelines/blob/master/TheOntologyLandscape.md  
D) We'd be well-served by focusing on the RASDS project goals, use-cases, and tools/tech used as to whether to include and what a definition of 'conceptual model' or 'ontology' may be. Why? 
There are reasons for and against whether even using the word 'ontology' and whether using a particular sense of it for computer science. I can provide both if desired. 
A meta-level consideration I've mentioned here and elsewhere is: whether a distinction needs to be made at all between these models (conceptual model vs. ontology vs. ...). It may not be needed.
It may very well be that based on the project's goals/use-cases/tools/capabilities it's not applicable according to a particular sense. A tool-specific sense of 'ontology' or 'conceptual-model' in which a particular computational language is used but which RASDSS does not or would not, would mean not using. And some circles with particularlyl narrow senses of it, may define it relative to a particular language or tool (imho, a mistake). 
Another consideration is not formally asserting it as a distinct type of model/system, but rather as an activity or process the products/output of which we may then call 'conceptual model' or some other term. I can describe what that can look like as well, if desired. 
D) Bottom-line: if distinctions are made, then we should be precise and clearly show what they are, avoiding making them trivial or for the sake of using a perceived trending word or topic. 
Robert Rovetto--

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Shames, Peter M (US 312B) <peter.m.shames at jpl.nasa.gov>
Date: Sun, Nov 12, 2023 at 11:12 AM
Subject: Ask the question "define ontology in computer science", and ...
To: Frederick Slane <freds at spacestandards.org>, Ramon Krosley <r.krosley at andropogon.org>, Radulescu, Costin (US 9300) <cradule at jpl.nasa.gov>, Christian Stangl <christian.sta at googlemail.com>, Cheng, Shelbun K (US 312H) <shelbun.k.cheng at jpl.nasa.gov>, Thompson, Paul B <PBTHOMPSON at qinetiq.com>, he xiongwen <hexw501 at hotmail.com>
Cc: SEA-SA <sea-sa at mailman.ccsds.org>

Dear RASDS++ colleagues,


I thought this was amusing and informative.  I was poking about on the web to find good definitions for “ontology”, “conceptual model”, and related terms that we might want to include in the RASDS++ update.  So I searched for "define ontology in computer science".  What came up was a definition that seemed workable, and also some related images that were provided. 


See the attached screen shot. The first image is our existing RASDS ontology diagram, as published in an earlier paper of mine.  Our 15 seconds of fame.


Cheers, Peter

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