coalition of logic-based standards (Roger M. Burkhart)
Date: Fri, 27 Dec 91 17:01:51 CST
From: (Roger M. Burkhart)
Message-id: <>
Subject: coalition of logic-based standards
Below are discussion points on a proposed coalition of logic-based
standards.  These are for use at an upcoming PDES (Product Data
Exchange) meeting, but may be of interest for anyone who ends up
participating in the coalition.

Roger Burkhart

To: PDES Dictionary Methodology Committee (DMC)
Subject: Discussion of logic-based standards at 12 January 1992 meeting

The proposed coalition of logic-based standards is one of the topics
to be discussed at the Salt Lake City meeting of PDES DMC.  I have
attached the ANSI IRDS (X3H4.6) statement of working assumptions for
such a coalition below.  I suggest the following three questions as a
basis for discussion:

1. Does the statement of working assumptions by X3H4.6 match those of
   PDES DMC?  Does anyone "foresee any technical obstacles that would
   prevent" "converging on a semantically equivalent foundation" for
   knowledge representation languages?  (See 3, in X3H4.6 below.)

2. If a common semantics for information is possible, how should the
   effort to establish it be organized?  The community of potential
   contributors or reviewers is very diverse.  The logistics of
   establishing a common effort across the various standards bodies,
   researchers, and other contributors could be very difficult.  One
   possibility would be to proceed informally, starting with an email
   distribution list where proposals could be shared or discussed, and
   perhaps leading to a workshop or other meetings later to establish
   ultimate consensus.

3. In what form should such a semantics be described and documented?
   This is not a simple problem, since as stated below, the whole
   objective is to agree on semantics separate from the syntax of any
   particular language.  To avoid getting bound up in the syntax of a
   particular language used to present the semantics, it may be best to
   keep it structured simply as a list of terms for the possible elements
   of a logic-based description.  This list should include (in English)
   detailed definitions and rules for valid use, so that what is agreed
   on is a formal ontology for the elements of any logic-based
   definition, including those used to define other ontologies.
   Anybody's favorite language could be used to express this basic
   ontology in their favorite concrete syntax.

Roger Burkhart

A resolution approved by X3H4.6 on December 6, 1991.

These are the working assumptions for establishing a coalition for
logic-based standards, including ANSI X3H4, PDES SUMM, the DARPA-
sponsored knowledge sharing effort, and any other groups that wish
to join:

 1. Symbolic logic, in its various forms, is the best developed,
    best understood, and most precisely formalized knowledge
    representation language available.

 2. Several different groups have adopted some version of symbolic
    logic as a basis for defining the semantics of information.
    These include the ANSI X3H4 IRDS committee with their Normative
    Language, the PDES Dictionary Methodology Committee with their
    Semantic Unification Meta-Model, and the DARPA-sponsored Knowledge
    Interchange Format.

 3. All of these groups have similar goals and requirements and have
    developed versions of logic with very similar semantics.  We do
    not foresee any technical obstacles that would prevent them from
    converging on a semantically equivalent foundation.

 4. Therefore, we endorse the efforts of these and other groups to work
    on logic-based standards for information interchange.  We further
    propose that such groups form a coalition for logic-based standards
    that would all have a common semantic foundation.  Each group would
    remain free to develop any concrete syntaxes that may be useful or
    convenient for their purposes.