[sc34wg3] Draft Reference Model

Sam Hunting sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Fri, 29 Nov 2002 09:41:06 -0500 (EST)

> ... the RM's graph construction rules,
> which guarantee that, whenever two topic map graphs are
> merged, each of the original topic map graphs is an
> unchanged subgraph of the resulting merged graph.  That
> way, anybody who knew either of the original graphs
> will find the merged result at least as usable as the
> originals were. 
> -----
> These are mathematical properties, IMO, and must be tested
> mathematically, as well as in the rhetorical processes of this list. An
> exact interpretation will be needed for  "at least as usable as the
> originals", I guess in terms of similarity of results of similar
> computations.

Presumably the similiarty (homeomrophism?) can be used as a proxy for
useabilty, yes -- humans being the ultimate arbiters of usability ...

> I share Bernard's concern about the kind of graph we end up with,
> because an ISO standard is for everyone, not just for current
> implementers. It would be good to be able to use established
> mathematical techniques to gain assurance that the RM graph has nice
> rather than nasty properties for future implementers.

This is a principle for achieving the objective(s) we seek, but not an
objective in and of itself. (The objective is to build a bridge to cross a
river; the principle is to use the appropriate formulae for load,
resistance to wind, etc.). 

So, while I agree vehemently with Kingsley Amis that "nice things are
nicer than nasty ones", the niceness or nastiness of graph properties has
to be measured against the objectives to be achieved, and not simply
looked at abstractly. If this be rhetoric, let us make the most of it...

> I'm looking forward v much to Bernard's presentation at Baltimore -
> please let it have enough space, as it could be one of the most
> important things there.

I'm looking forward too.

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Sam Hunting
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