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Ontology in the SIRA Technology

July 17, 2011 Comments off

We built our system around the notion that language (for that matter; drawings, songs, smells, or any other encoding of perceived semantics) provides a systematic (although often complex) way to express relationships between and among items. These items may range from the physical to the abstract. The relationships may express time, location, participation, or a wide variety of physical or conceptual relatedness.

When you “teach” SIRA about your interests, SIRA constructs (or adds to) a semantic model (i.e. ontology) representing the concepts and relationships of interest. If these concepts are already known, they may be referenced and perhaps enhanced. If the relationships are already known, they too may be referenced and perhaps enhanced. How this happens will be covered in other blog entries.

A previously existing ontology (perhaps with a supplied upper ontology) may provide a “useful” organization of concepts and relationships. This organization is useful to SIRA in two ways. First, while reading, the specializations and instances of a concept or relationship of interest are automatically recognized. And second, while reporting, the written information can be organized with abstract concepts first, followed by successively more detailed concepts. This is in addition to SIRA’s other report organization schemes.

We should also state that “well designed upper ontologies” can provide an excellent foundation for reasoning that exploits generalization-specialization and part-whole relationships. The topic of reasoning in SIRA will be covered in other blog entries.

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