[sc34wg3] TR: comment - RDFTM: Survey of Interoperability Proposals

Robert Barta sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Thu, 10 Mar 2005 19:32:44 +1000

On Thu, Mar 10, 2005 at 02:31:06AM +0000, Murray Altheim wrote:
> So I think we can relax in knowing that *at least* as much
> thought has gone into modeling Topic Maps as was RDF, and we've
> spent a great deal of time on issues like identity from a real
> user-centered perspective (not particularly from logic, which
> is not even demonstrably useful in a world that doesn't always
> follow logical rules, i.e., the world we live in). Perhaps one
> day we'll be so likewise fortunate to have a logician grace us
> with a model so that we can strut our stuff too.

[ long and interesting post snipped ]


I would agree that asking for a formalized model just for the sake of
formalization is an rather empty goal. Many people have, justifiably
dismissed it as an academic execise, and I would normally agree,

But then we realized that a sound mathematical model [1] allows you to
define operations on topic maps and build - based on these operations
- query and constraint languages.

For TMQL, for example, the semantics is not only described in prose
(argh :-), but also - via several layers - in terms of that formal

If that is not practical enough, the query processor which I prototype
on the weekends (hey, this is what weekends are good for, come on) is
using the formalism to make transformations of query statements
maintaining semantic equivalence. Whole optimization techniques can be
described by that. Given that TM processors are prone to be slow in
operations this may help.

And having the potential to map query/constraint expressions
automatically into FOL expressions is cool. Fullstop. :-)


[1] http://astma.it.bond.edu.au/junk/tau-model.pdf