Presentation on theme: "1 Ride The Mainstream! “A tightly circumscribed project” as introduced on www.TheMainstream.info with an invitation to You to join in the fun."— Presentation transcript:
1 Ride The Mainstream! “A tightly circumscribed project” as introduced on with an invitation to You to join in the fun.
2 To finalize and launch a new information technology architecture and infrastructure, with a fundamentally philosophical basis, so that in widely practical ways [???] it will help everybody pervasively improve the way democratic societies function, and in general help individuals realistically set and pursue their own goals. in the exact words of : Ride The Mainstream!
3 Where Ontolog and ontologists might contribute most particularly At the formal-logical core, of course. But what’s outside that core? At least: objectives and semantics, IS applications, and operating environments, that are accessible and congenial to parties and users of all kinds. a fine complementarity between AI & IS/DB
4 But what is “The Mainstream”? Sociologically, it’s The Mainstream of the evolution of shared ways of doing things (consensus processes, standards as one of their products, hence the relevance to this Summit) Scientifically, it’s The Mainstream of the evolution of discovery and invention, whether in the natural or the social domains Epistemologically, it’s The Mainstream of the evolution of our joint simplification of complexity (where that complexity includes the relationships between knowledge, knower and known). and Ontologically, it’s ??? It’s about that “known”? Traditionally, yes, but in fact
5 What is “The Mainstream”? (cont) Ontologically, it’s The Mainstream of the evolution of our abstractions. In particular: Ontology can never capture “the known” So it has become a ‘meta-’ subject: Ontology is about abstraction, the abstract, and how we can aggregate and rely on abstractions in coping with the real world we live in. By now that may be rather boringly mainstream. But there remain some major practical consequences which are as yet unexploited… So let’s go back to Square One.
6 Abstraction is very simple (from an empiricist or realist p.o.v.?) The abstract is what different situations or individuals are deemed, for present purposes, to have in common (thereby ignoring complexities deemed irrelevant to those purposes) Thus context and relevance give meaning to our abstractions and enable continuity, communication and collaboration
7 Abstractions as invariants Some degree of invariance is implicit in that continuity or commonality (cf. Heraclitus’ flux of change, the role of the logos, and his “Follow the common!” Also cf. mathema- tical symmetries and their apparent physical counterparts.) That’s implicit in Pat Hayes’ long paragraph now at 01/msg00385.html where he argues that ontologies are best when decontextualized. (Concepts as evolution’s survivors when greater invariance so wider applicability.) Invariance of facts under context transformation is enhanced by orthogonality of properties. We aren’t normally aware of those aspects because our knowledge, and especially our structured systems and procedures, have done the discovery/invention work for us already, and selected those survivors.
8 Orthogonality gives Composability without transformation of facts in either component’s contexts. But it thereby adds further meaning to them.
9 But after all that abstraction let’s rather first look at some more concrete things... Such as the proposed system in action. And the project! So, to start with, this is where the project is situated at the moment: (PTO) For the real action, PTO further…
11 Drakensberg / uKhahlamba Amphitheatre
12 and in that basalt, up to 1400m thick, covering 1000s of Km 2, there are zillions of agate geodes. Here is one of them, cut open: Thanks to Guido De Beer at
13 The Agate Ontology as it is being implemented now in Metaset, maybe still to be the first AOS or Application Operating System for The Mainstream Architecture for Common Knowledge, the two bases of The Agateweb A picture being worth 1000 words, here is
14 The Agate Ontology, interpreted Agate is abstracted, literally “drawn from”, its rock matrix, into the form of countless geodes, interconnected by similarly-lined pipes and channels pervading the matrix, the placenta. So a geode represents a coherent bundle of abstractions, interoperating with other such bundles, from that vast – that practically infinite – matrix of our given reality. We can talk (and how we can talk!) about the organized interior of the agate, but we cannot talk, not at all, about the reality outside it, unstructured and literally inconceivable, except as an undifferentiated, in effect infinite, and ultimately unknowable unity: “the known”, as that from which our knowledge springs. So there’s no room for any metaphysical foundationalism, nor physical reductionism: we’re rebuilding our craft while afloat. One geode represents the set of Forms (i.e. your “ontologies”) active in an AOS instance, or agent, at any one time. These can likewise be of a seemingly infinite variety...
15 Agates come in an infinite variety such as these more typical ones, mostly from
16 We may distinguish three zones of an agate geode: 1.The irregular and rough boundary between matrix and interior, with its layer of unbanded chalcedony (microcrystalline quartz) just inside; 2.The characteristic layered or banded chalcedony; and 3.A quartz crystal centre: clear, rose quartz or amethyst. Each geode exhibits its own proportions in those zones. On agate’s chemical origins, see particularly on how the layers are not deposited via external rhythms but arise through inner rhythms as a phenomenon of self-organization. The Agate Ontology (cont)
17 Represents the interface with the real world But not the real world itself, only our concepts closest to it: “sensedata”, measurements, physical I/o, words, text – the sorts of thing that help us relate our abstract models to the “real world”, though inviting dissonance. Hence they involve “Realword Equivalents” or REs, with type “REdomain”, an instance is an “REvalue”. This includes the scene of sensors, actuators, measures and other such areas now rightly being taken by this Summit as key opportunities for formalized standards. (And nicely put in context here.) The Agate Ontology (cont) 1. The outer boundary and layer
18 Represents Forms (“Conceptual Forms”, your “ontologies”) at different levels of abstraction and usually detail. See my “MACK basics” 2 nd, 3 rd and 4 th instalments from these points: forum/ /msg00291.html#nid06http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog- forum/ /msg00291.html#nid06 forum/ /msg00249.html#nid032http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog- forum/ /msg00249.html#nid032 forum/ /msg00109.html#nid010http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog- forum/ /msg00109.html#nid010 The Agate Ontology (cont) 2. The banded or layered zone
19 This is the zone of pure logic. There can be different styles of logic, as portrayed by the colour and shapes of the crystals of the geode. Note: this zone is far removed from the outer zone, which is where the semantics of both inner zones is made interpretable by an outside world. There is no such notion as a singular semiotic “object” instance, Ding an sich, noumenon or any individuated “real” interpreted entity in this Ontology: only REs, usually marshalled and arranged so that people can make the actual equivalences constituting the semantics. The Agate Ontology (cont) 3. The inner crystal zone
20 The Agate Ontology, applied An agate, at any given time, represents a state in one activity under the control of an AOS instance or agent. The state consists of facts-in-context, the context being the set of currently-relevant Forms as represented by the layered zone. The outer boundary is constituted by REs assembled and projected into “images” on output devices as a function of previous states. That includes provision for any input or event that the state might recognize.
21 A state-change is initiated by an event. The image translates it into one fact-operation (CRUD). The logic of all the Forms in the Context is then applied, almost always implying further operations, often very many. When complete, the state-change will always result in a new Context, perhaps very different. Many facts of the previous state are now in that new Context, with different meanings. The rest have faded away, as irrelevant to the new Formal Context and the real Situation “outside” the Formal model. Generally, thanks to orthogonalities, that is not a major burden, either processing-wise or for the user’s mind. But we have a new and creatively transformed agate! The Agate Ontology, applied (cont)
22 Observe from the sample geodes how the layered zone has segments matching the facets of the outer boundary, though less closely towards the more abstract centre. Think of those segments as separate Forms in the Context, also comprising their more abstract baseForms, each one with its own implications preserved. (Note: that represents a generalized OO inheritance with no overriding.) For example (at last...): Facts in one Form/segment make up an order line-item. The adjacent Form/segment might represent the facet of a lens which projects that line-item as a part of an RE image, crucially preserving the line-item’s identity. The Agate Ontology, applied (cont)
23 That dynamic putting-in-a-new-Context corresponds to composing components designed in terms of the conventional Separation of Concerns of the top 2 tiers of the usual 3-tier model. But the composition is achieved by the AOS using only Formal specifications but aided by the rather hidden orthogonalities between the “business view” and the “projection view” of the same underlying facts. Exactly the same applies for the persistence tier. And to any leveraging of the orthogonalities already discovered by our evolved and existent conceptualizations and larger systematizations. in effect all processing is sequences of creative acts, on the model of Koestler’s “bisociation”, thus: The Agate Ontology, applied (cont)
24 Bisociation `I have coined the term `bisociation' in order to make a distinction between the routine skills of thinking on a single `plane', as it were, and the creative act, which, as I shall try to show, always operates on more than one plane.' (p. 35) Bisociation is `the perceiving of a situation or idea... in two self-consistent but habitually incompatible frames of reference.' (p. 35) Chris Thornton’s diagram- and text-quotations from Arthur Koestler’s The Act of Creation (1964) on
25 Note however the great generalization from Koestler’s intent: he applied that schema to major creative phenomena in art, science and humour, but here it applies to every tiniest manifestation of our conceptualizations as represented in canonical processing according to this architecture. (Off-subject comment: It may also be very applicable to many mental conceptual models.) So how about major creativity in IS design? The Agate Ontology, applied (cont)
26 Yes of course it all applies equally to Information System Analysis & Design! The Form is modelled on Entity-Relationship diagrams with additional constructions and constraints, all as interpreted by the AOS in the same dynamically-modular way. An ER diagram is merely another image which, manipulated, can be mirrored through to the design. The availability of possibly-relevant further Forms can be signalled by simple marketing information made available by logical chains defined by further Forms in a distribution-transparent way, giving a universal market-place with integrated deployment, all under fine user control, with AOS-supported negotiation. The Agate Ontology, applied (cont)
27 But let’s pop back a bit to internal technicalities. The Context as the presently-reigning set of Forms, with its set of facts-in-context, including definitions of allowable events and hence possible evolutions of the Context, implicitly defines complex transactions yet with variably- grained modularity with well-separated concerns. But that thereby highly circumscribes those transactions. The AOS is therefore in control of all transactions, with their own semantics. That gives automatic fine resource-reservation. The Agate Ontology, applied (cont)
28 In general, then, we have the ingredients for full integration of all application-quality concerns, such as accessibility, availability, security, privacy, congeniality (was user-friendliness), flexibility, federatability and scalability, as required for on-demand industrial-strength. The composability of such applications is beyond the dreams of even the AOP crowd (Aspect-Oriented Programming, with its “Aspect Weaver”), despite its reflective nth-order nature. The Agate Ontology, applied (cont)
29 Project status and proposal Much philosophizing over the years, covering all the domains of slides 2 & 4 (project objective and answering “What is The Mainstream?”) and including many predictions on architectural matters, has been confirmed by all subsequent events. The work-in-progress AOS program “Metaset” has made good progress towards implementing proof-of- concept elements within all 3 tiers of the 3-tier model. Its design is complete enough for a couple of good C programmers and myself to bring it to demonstrable proof-of-concept stage within 6 months (if under good project conditions, chiefly resources & management). So that is the project I propose to Ontolog and the Summit.
30 Relevance to the Summit A new standard component architecture for Information Systems, considering the exponential penetration of IT, can only impact strikingly on most aspects of most standards. The implicit “standard” or “upper” ontology (or set of Forms) to support universal application interoperability much deeper than at present, involves merely operational functions, given the good Separation of Concerns enabled. But that does include all canonical or architecture-compliant OOR requirements.
31 Some immediately relevant practical issues The scale of the proposed project seems to fit. But Open Source, architecture-canonically too, is certainly its future, so where is the ROI for a funder? It’s from being a big step ahead in applying the new architecture and exploiting the future Agateweb infrastructure. Problem for Ontolog community: not much input requested before demonstrable proof-of-concept. But involvement will then be heavy, and exciting. But now I must stop and listen to your ideas, with or against!