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Blog - a networked world

edited March 2015

David Spivak has written a 3-part article for the Azimuth blog, and you can see all 3 parts here:

It explains how he got interested in the things he'll be discussing at our meeting in Turin on 25-28 May 2015.

I've set the three parts to be published on Friday 27 March, Monday 30 March and Thursday 2 April 2015. Since he doesn't read the Azimuth Forum I'm not asking for suggestions on how to improve the articles... though I'd be happy to hear about typos.

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1.

For example, “a person has a mother” would be a morphism from the “person” object, to the “mother” object. I called such a linguistic category an olog, playing on the word blog.

I am sorry I don't see a conceptional difference between ologs and rdf - but then I don't understand all the categorical technicalities (and frankly I don't really want to). rdf itself was inspired by (english) grammar: SPO and the concept of linking. So briefly I understand that people want to teach computers grammars, contexts and the like. I haven't though really understood by your post how exactly this formalism might eventually enhance human understanding, apart may be from the fact that showing others your mind map is surely a way of expressing yourself:

In this setup, the simplicial complex of human knowledge should grow organically. Scientists, business people, and other people might find benefit in ologging their ideas and conceptions, and using them to learn from their peers.

?????

Comment Source:>For example, “a person has a mother” would be a morphism from the “person” object, to the “mother” object. I called such a linguistic category an olog, playing on the word blog. I am sorry I don't see a conceptional difference between ologs and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resource_Description_Framework">rdf</a> - but then I don't understand all the categorical technicalities (and frankly I don't really want to). rdf itself was inspired by (english) grammar: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Word_order">SPO</a> and the concept of linking. So briefly I understand that people want to teach computers grammars, contexts and the like. I haven't though really understood by your post how exactly this formalism might eventually enhance human understanding, apart may be from the fact that showing others your mind map is surely a way of expressing yourself: >In this setup, the simplicial complex of human knowledge should grow organically. Scientists, business people, and other people might find benefit in ologging their ideas and conceptions, and using them to learn from their peers. ?????
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2.

by the way it is interesting to hear that MIT's math department is finally getting interested in human linguistics. 30 years ago that was quite a nono.

Comment Source:by the way it is interesting to hear that MIT's math department is finally getting interested in human linguistics. 30 years ago that was quite a nono.
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edited March 2015

Who wrote that "all concepts are left Kan extensions"?

I don't see a conceptional difference between ologs and rdf

but I'd like to know what useful categorical formulations of them might be.
I followed the IEEE standard upper ontology working group lead by John Sowa (author of the classic 'Knowledge Representation') which concluded that no such thing was possible (only intermediate ontologies). When the contributions started discussing Heidegger's 'becoming' I think I got an idea of the limits of any possible standard.

When I was building a Rational Rose model for one of the global electronics corporations I read up on anything UML and concluded that the ontology movement happened because Boing had some spare cash to spend on their engineering drawings library (and 'Standard English' became SQL).

Fwiw, one of my favourite quotes goes something like "what differentiates the worst of architects from the best of bees is that men (sic) raise buildings in their imagination before they raise them in reality".

Do some people still think that you can construct an ontology except via some epistemology? (sorry if this is OT but philosophical assumptions need to be made explicit).

Comment Source:Who wrote that "all concepts are left Kan extensions"? Nad wrote: > I don't see a conceptional difference between ologs and rdf but I'd like to know what useful categorical formulations of them might be. I followed the IEEE standard upper ontology working group lead by John Sowa (author of the classic 'Knowledge Representation') which concluded that no such thing was possible (only intermediate ontologies). When the contributions started discussing Heidegger's 'becoming' I think I got an idea of the limits of any possible standard. When I was building a Rational Rose model for one of the global electronics corporations I read up on anything UML and concluded that the ontology movement happened because Boing had some spare cash to spend on their engineering drawings library (and 'Standard English' became SQL). Fwiw, one of my favourite quotes goes something like "what differentiates the worst of architects from the best of bees is that men (sic) raise buildings in their imagination before they raise them in reality". Do some people still think that you can construct an ontology except via some epistemology? (sorry if this is OT but philosophical assumptions need to be made explicit).
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4.

I prefer to have these discussions on the blog so more people (including David Spivak!) can read them and join in. So, I won't answer any of the questions here now. Unless you dislike the idea, I'll copy these comments over to the blog when Spivak's post about ologs shows up, and respond to them then.

Comment Source:I prefer to have these discussions on the blog so more people (including David Spivak!) can read them and join in. So, I won't answer any of the questions here now. Unless you dislike the idea, I'll copy these comments over to the blog when Spivak's post about ologs shows up, and respond to them then.
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I prefer to have these discussions on the blog so more people (including David Spivak!) can read them and join in.

David Spivak is not reading the forum comments to his post?! Why?

Comment Source:>I prefer to have these discussions on the blog so more people (including David Spivak!) can read them and join in. David Spivak is not reading the forum comments to his post?! Why?
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Comment Source:The blog post went live, and I added a comment. https://johncarlosbaez.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/spivak-part-1/#comment-65292 
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edited March 2015

David Spivak is not reading the forum comments to his post?! Why?

Because he's not a member of Azimuth; he's just a guy I asked to write a blog post.

It might theoretically make sense to require everyone to read comments on their blog posts here on the Azimuth Forum before posting them to the blog, but I'm not sure I want to demand it.

More importantly, I'd like comments on blog posts here on the Forum to focus on improving those posts, getting them ready for the blog. Discussions of more general interest are best held on the blog, which has $\sim 10-100$ times as many readers. On the other hand, "work" - like work on blog articles, or the El Niño project - seems to be best suited to the forum. That's my theory, anyway: we "work" here, "publish" on the blog, and then have conversations about those publications there.

Over on the $n$-Category Café and $n$-Forum, something rather sad has happened: namely, the two have largely split, with some people mainly reading one and some mainly reading the other. This is partially due to personality conflicts between the $n$-Category Café team, but also because some people are more interested in doing serious work on the $n$Lab (the wiki), and they tend to talk on the $n$-Forum.

Comment Source:Nad wrote: > David Spivak is not reading the forum comments to his post?! Why? Because he's not a member of Azimuth; he's just a guy I asked to write a blog post. It might theoretically make sense to require everyone to read comments on their blog posts here on the Azimuth Forum before posting them to the blog, but I'm not sure I want to demand it. More importantly, I'd like comments on blog posts here on the Forum to focus on improving those posts, getting them ready for the blog. Discussions of more general interest are best held on the blog, which has $\sim 10-100$ times as many readers. On the other hand, "work" - like work on blog articles, or the El Ni&ntilde;o project - seems to be best suited to the forum. That's my theory, anyway: we "work" here, "publish" on the blog, and then have conversations about those publications there. Over on the $n$-Category Caf&eacute; and $n$-Forum, something rather sad has happened: namely, the two have largely split, with some people mainly reading one and some mainly reading the other. This is partially due to personality conflicts between the $n$-Category Caf&eacute; team, but also because some people are more interested in doing serious work on the $n$Lab (the wiki), and they tend to talk on the $n$-Forum. 
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Because he's not a member of Azimuth; he's just a guy I asked to write a blog post.

It might theoretically make sense to require everyone to read comments on their blog posts here on the Azimuth Forum before posting them to the blog, but I'm not sure I want to demand it.

Do you tell people about the Forum?

More importantly, I'd like comments on blog posts here on the Forum to focus on improving those posts, getting them ready for the blog.

Yes thats what I thought the forum is for - an opportunity to get feedback on the posts.

Discussions of more general interest are best held on the blog, which has ∼10−100 times as many readers.

My comment was not really meant as being "of general interest" that is I'd rather suggested more to implement more elaborations (which are not too technical though) on the fundamental concepts mentioned in there:

am sorry I don't see a conceptional difference between ologs and rdf - but then I don't understand all the categorical technicalities (and frankly I don't really want to)

and suggested to mention more concretizations:

I haven't though really understood by your post how exactly this formalism might eventually enhance human understanding,

I have currently not the time to further pursue this discussion so I won't repost my comment above on the blog. Maybe I do so later. There will be more parts, as I understood. A couple of years ago I had a student project and even wrote a short article about certain Big Data applications. That was in particular intended to get at least part of the big Big Data Crowd away from surveillance, "human filtering" (filter out humans because they are medical less fit) etc. You were actually thinking that there should be a blog article about it.

Over on the n-Category Café and n-Forum, something rather sad has happened: namely, the two have largely split, with some people mainly reading one and some mainly reading the other. This is partially due to personality conflicts between the n-Category Café team, but also because some people are more interested in doing serious work on the nLab (the wiki), and they tend to talk on the n-Forum.

I didn't even notice that there exists a n-forum or may be I knew and forgot. It is not even linked from the n-cat cafe page if I haven't overseen something.

Anyways I don't read most of the n-cat posts, because I find them too technical. The n-forum unfortunately seems to go even more into that direction. By the way it might be that I soon will find even less time for reading and discussing the climate issues here, because of job and other reasons. With Tim's help I just made a new visualization though, which shows that I am still quite torn about that engagement. I just have that very bad feeling about that methane thing.

Comment Source:>Because he's not a member of Azimuth; he's just a guy I asked to write a blog post. >It might theoretically make sense to require everyone to read comments on their blog posts here on the Azimuth Forum before posting them to the blog, but I'm not sure I want to demand it. Do you tell people about the Forum? >More importantly, I'd like comments on blog posts here on the Forum to focus on improving those posts, getting them ready for the blog. Yes thats what I thought the forum is for - an opportunity to get feedback on the posts. >Discussions of more general interest are best held on the blog, which has ∼10−100 times as many readers. My comment was not really meant as being "of general interest" that is I'd rather suggested more to implement more elaborations (which are not too technical though) on the fundamental concepts mentioned in there: > am sorry I don't see a conceptional difference between ologs and rdf - but then I don't understand all the categorical technicalities (and frankly I don't really want to) and suggested to mention more concretizations: > I haven't though really understood by your post how exactly this formalism might eventually enhance human understanding, I have currently not the time to further pursue this discussion so I won't repost my comment above on the blog. Maybe I do so later. There will be more parts, as I understood. A couple of years ago I had a student project and even wrote a short article about certain Big Data applications. That was in particular intended to get at least part of the big Big Data Crowd away from surveillance, "human filtering" (filter out humans because they are medical less fit) etc. You were actually thinking that there should be a blog article about it. >Over on the n-Category Café and n-Forum, something rather sad has happened: namely, the two have largely split, with some people mainly reading one and some mainly reading the other. This is partially due to personality conflicts between the n-Category Café team, but also because some people are more interested in doing serious work on the nLab (the wiki), and they tend to talk on the n-Forum. I didn't even notice that there exists a <a href="http://nforum.mathforge.org/">n-forum</a> or may be I knew and forgot. It is not even linked from the n-cat cafe page if I haven't overseen something. Anyways I don't read most of the n-cat posts, because I find them too technical. The n-forum unfortunately seems to go even more into that direction. By the way it might be that I soon will find even less time for reading and discussing the climate issues here, because of job and <a href="https://forum.azimuthproject.org/discussion/1559/azimuth-strategy">other reasons</a>. With Tim's help I just made a new <a href="http://www.randform.org/blog/?p=5812">visualization</a> though, which shows that I am still quite torn about that engagement. I just have that very bad feeling about that methane thing.
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edited April 2015

There are lots of links that should be on the n-Cafe front page but aren't... mainly because the n-Cafe is run by Jacques Distler, who is not really involved in that subject. Only he can change the front page, and people don't want to bother him much. It's not a great system.

The n-Forum is a great place for people working on the nLab and helping Urs Schreiber with his research. Urs has really clarified string theory using n-categorical ideas. However, it's all very technical.

Comment Source:There are lots of links that should be on the n-Cafe front page but aren't... mainly because the n-Cafe is run by Jacques Distler, who is not really involved in that subject. Only he can change the front page, and people don't want to bother him much. It's not a great system. The n-Forum is a great place for people working on the nLab and helping Urs Schreiber with his research. Urs has really clarified string theory using n-categorical ideas. However, it's all very technical.
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A couple of years ago I finished a 2 to 3 year effort looking at how to use the Semantic Web for applications such as earth science modeling. This is all open-sourced R&D work and worth a look if anybody is interested in the flavor of what David Spivak wants to accomplish. As I inferred on the blog comments, to apply category theory as he intends, one might want to at least take some baby steps on how to work the ontologies with respect to what is currently available (the RDF as Nad mentioned, and SPARQL queries as Jim inferred -- good to have this knowledge on the forum ! ).

Here is my white paper in the topic:

Knowledge-Based Environmental Context Modeling

Abstract: This paper describes a semantic web architecture based on patterns and logical archetypal bulding- blocks well suited for a comprehensive environmental modeling framework. The patterns span a range of features that cover specific land, atmospheric and aquatic domains intended for terrestrial and amphibious vehicles. The modeling engine contained within the server relied on knowledge- based inferencing capable of supporting formal terminology (through the SWEET ontology and a domain specific language) and levels of abstraction via integrated reasoning modules.

if that doesn't work, I also have a version on an Amazon cloud server:

http://23.23.137.157/ref/foundation/D-knowledge_based_enviromental_modeling.pdf

I am of course interested in the category theory approach but I don't want to see the semantic web approach ignored for creating a knowledge network, as that has plenty of payoff as it now stands. If there is a core of people on the Forum with at least some expertise, as I gather from Nad and Jim's comments, we could actually get a prototype running and operational.

BTW, if you haven't guessed, I am maintaining a semantic web server here on a local machine, http://entroplet.com, and one on an Amazon cloud server http://23.23.137.157

Comment Source:A couple of years ago I finished a 2 to 3 year effort looking at how to use the Semantic Web for applications such as earth science modeling. This is all open-sourced R&D work and worth a look if anybody is interested in the flavor of what David Spivak wants to accomplish. As I inferred on the blog comments, to apply category theory as he intends, one might want to at least take some baby steps on how to work the ontologies with respect to what is currently available (the RDF as Nad mentioned, and SPARQL queries as Jim inferred -- good to have this knowledge on the forum ! ). Here is my white paper in the topic: _Knowledge-Based Environmental Context Modeling_ > Abstract: This paper describes a semantic web architecture based on patterns and logical archetypal bulding- blocks well suited for a comprehensive environmental modeling framework. The patterns span a range of features that cover specific land, atmospheric and aquatic domains intended for terrestrial and amphibious vehicles. The modeling engine contained within the server relied on knowledge- based inferencing capable of supporting formal terminology (through the SWEET ontology and a domain specific language) and levels of abstraction via integrated reasoning modules. Here is the PDF: http://entroplet.com/ref/foundation/D-knowledge_based_enviromental_modeling.pdf if that doesn't work, I also have a version on an Amazon cloud server: http://23.23.137.157/ref/foundation/D-knowledge_based_enviromental_modeling.pdf I am of course interested in the category theory approach but I don't want to see the semantic web approach ignored for creating a knowledge network, as that has plenty of payoff as it now stands. If there is a core of people on the Forum with at least some expertise, as I gather from Nad and Jim's comments, we could actually get a prototype running and operational. BTW, if you haven't guessed, I am maintaining a semantic web server here on a local machine, http://entroplet.com, and one on an Amazon cloud server http://23.23.137.157