[unrev-II] Towards a DKR

From: Dick Karpinski (dick@cfcl.com)
Date: Wed Jan 19 2000 - 19:29:12 PST

From: Dick Karpinski <dick@cfcl.com>

I am about to pick nits with "Eric Armstrong" <eric.armstrong@eng.sun.com>
with a large picture in mind. I pick nits with enthusiasm.

> Superfluous
> ... able to remove superfluous information from a knowledge repository.

You only have to be able to suppress it with a viewing option setting.
Which is superfluous may differ from reader to reader. That's OK, we
now have the means to customize for each reader, once we figure out
just what we want.

> Redundant
> but a single information-model underlies them all.

Boy, you'd have to convince me. I see a plethora of models. That's OK, ...

> Non-Reductive
> ... -- they should be tucked "under" the reduction, so as to
> simplify the view presented by the archives.

You can have it your way, and I can have it mine, from the same DKR.

> Abstractable
> difference is that the specific items don't disappear from the view,

Why bother to be different? You can have it...

> Negatable
> ... by marking a theory or fact as invalid,

There may be differences of opinion. We need not lose them. Again, ones
viewing parameters might select for those facts agreed to by some
particular editor, society, or metric, leaving the rest unseen.

> and attaching the data to support that conclusion.

Oh yes. Architects of buildings, in particular, recognize the need to
remember in the log what decision was made and why. That's why it's not
so very surprising that Horst Rittel, the late UCB Architecture Prof,
invented IBIS, the Issue Based Information System. He had to implement
an entire hypertext system to support labeled links. IBIS starts with a
topic and then has links to issues, which have links to positions on
those issues, which have links to arguments on those positions. Now IBIS
can be expressed as a small set of guidelines for linking web pages.

> ... It must be possible to hide negated precepts so we can focus

Viewing parameters ....

>Knowledge Mathematics
>... to model the human nutrition
>system requires the ability to state relationships like these: improves,
>requires, enables, is required for, is enabled by, causes, hinders,
>prevents, manifests as, etc.

That sounds a lot like a hypertext system to me. Just like IBIS, you want
links that have labels. No longer is this hard. Don't you come to a sort
of relational database when you wish to extract information from a large
collection of these related items?

>... since it is unlikely that everything which needs to be expressed
>could possibly be anticipated.

We have done pretty well with 26 letters and a few odd marks. You're not
constraining the content much by saying you want it in web pages or in a
relational database, even if you add lots of guidelines.

>... One
>advantage of such a system would be the relative ease with which people
>who speak different languages could interact with it.

That would be nice but it's less than obvious to me that this posited
system would have any particular properties.

> ... In a natural language system, on the other
> hand, such operations must necessarily be manual -- which raises the
> the necessity for competing reductions and abstractions, with arguments
> for and against tallied with each, until at last some resolution is
> achieved.

That would be TRUE KNOWLEDGE, but we imperfect creatures can only hope to
make some sense of our current understandings, incomplete and tentative
as they must forever be.

> ... Most political
> discussions therefore resolve around spurious logic and disfunctional
> rhetoric. A true "knowledge repository" needs something better, however.

This suggests to me that our political system needs attention, perhaps
starting with campaign finance reform.

> The system should make model-building easier by providing something in
> the nature of a "Model Construction Kit".

You bet!

> Like the EOE system, "attribution" is liable to be the most
> profound motivator for contributions to the knowledge repository.
> That makes autmomatic, accurate attribution a vital part of the
> system.


> Feedback
> The best argument for or against a given model will be based on real
> world feedback.

Just so.

> Design Decisions

I consult with "Principles of Software Engineering Management" by Tom Gilb
for designing both the desired system and its method of construction. He
has three profound things to say there:
 - Specify the goals of the effort so clearly that numerical targets and
    minimums can be established, along with specific tests to measure them.
 - Use document inspection to validate progress from the general to the
    specific so as to ensure adherance to the intentions of the project.
 - Deliver an improved working system every two to five percent of the
    project resources. Thus failures are small enough to be discarded.

> ... recorded in a design journal, along with the reasoning.


Dick Karpinski (dick@cfcl.com) The world's largest leprechaun.

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