Re: DQL queries

From: pat hayes (
Date: 07/25/02

  • Next message: Mike Dean: "no Joint Committee telecon tomorrow 30 July"
    >  > The current DQL spec says:
    >>  A DQL query contains a "query pattern" that is a collection of
    >>  DAML+OIL sentences in which literals and/or resources have been
    >>  replaced by variables.
    >>  As I mentioned in the telecon, I believe that it may be difficult to
    >>  give sense/meaning to arbitrary sentences and replacements.
    >Given the ongoing concerns and discussions about the semantics of
    >DAML+OIL vis-a-vis its embedding in RDF, and given that the future is
    >OWL rather than DAML+OIL, I don't think this issue is worth much of our
    >energy.  Also, Pat's revision of the DQL spec attempts to finesse this
    >issue by allow servers to publish the class of query patterns that they
    >support.  If we agree on that revision, then I think the issue is mote.
    Both mote and moot, in fact. Still, I do think there are some genuine 
    issues that might be worth discussing (as long as this discussion is 
    not seen as delaying the deployment of a draft DQL spec.)
    >I will simply state here that in our work with JTP, we have taken
    >seriously the notion that a DAML+OIL KB is a collection of RDF triples,
    >we use the axiomatic semantics for DAML+OIL,
    that is more controversial.
    >and we allow any element of
    >any triple in a query pattern to be a variable.
    and that raises some genuine issues.
    >Given that query
    >answering is being defined as finding uri-refs or literals explicitly
    >mentioned as terms in the KB or defined as terms in DAML+OIL, the
    >semantics of such queries (at least based on the axiomatic semantics)
    >and of what constitutes an answer to such queries seems to be clearly
    >and precisely defined.
    It is so defined with respect to the axiomatic semantics, but then 
    the question arises whether that clarity extends to the actual 
    >>  Peter suggested range(P,v)
    >>  and domain(P,v), but the semantics here are not quite so clear - are
    >>  we asking about syntax, or do we mean something like "the biggest
    >>  class C s.t. onProperty(P),toClass(NOT C)) is inconsistent? (I doubt
    >>  that, in general, there exists a unique answer the latter kind of
    >>  query; in fact such queries may very well be undecidable.)
    >I don't understand why the semantics are not clear.  The semantics of
    >"domain" and "range" are clear, and any class explicitly mentioned in
    >the KB that a reasoner can infer is a domain or range of P is an answer
    >to the query.
    I agree. In other words, the 'biggest C' is not the right way to 
    interpret such a query.
    >>  I meant to exclude query elements like onProperty(x,y), unionOf(x,y),
    >>  which have doubtful/uninteresting semantics from a DAML+OIL point of
    >>  view, and could be seen more as "syntax queries", i.e., queries
    >>  regarding the syntactic content of the ontology.
    >The semantics of such triples is clear if one assumes that a restriction
    >is a class like any other class and that lists are objects in the domain
    >of discourse.
    True, but that seems like a mistake. Lists are not in the DAML domain 
    of discourse. Or at any rate, even if they are, that is largely 
    irrelevant, since things like 'intersection' are not correctly 
    thought of as applying to lists, but to the elements of those lists. 
    This is actually a bug in the axiomatic semantics (and the RDF 
    layering of DAML). Its not an important bug when the axiomatic 
    semantics is seen only as a semantic specification, but if its used 
    as an operational basis for DQL then its rather more of a bug.
    >  That's what we did in the axiomatic semantics and that's
    >what we do in JTP. 
    >>  What I was trying to suggest was that some of the properties (and
    >>  maybe some of the classes) in daml+oil.daml would not lead to such a
    >>  clear semantic account of query element bindings. E.g., for
    >  > unionOf(C,w), where C is some class, what would w bind to?
    >W would bind to any list explicitly mentioned in the KB.
    That does make sense. It makes more sense if you say that the 
    semantic binding is actually to the intersection of the classes 
    mentioned in the list. In other words, the list itself really is a 
    syntactic entity: its the argument list of the intersection function, 
    in effect: and that its best thought of a special kind of *term* that 
    can be bound, and the use of the variable x in that position in Ian's 
    query is a request for that kind of binding. Its a bit like using a 
    sequence variable in a query in KIF; the binding to it is any 
    *sequence* of normal terms.
    >  > If queries
    >  > are to have a well defined semantics, then we need to decide how to
    >>  handle these cases.
    >That isn't a problem using the axiomatic semantics.
    >>  There are some subtle problems here. E.g., if RDFS is used to generate
    >>  a subProperty P of sameClassAs, how is P treated in DAML+OIL queries?
    >>  According to the current (model theoretic) semantics, if I write
    >>  P(C,D), then a DAML+OIL reasoner would NOT infer sameClassAs(C,D).
    >Well, it seems that sameClassAs(C,D) is the clear intention.  The
    >axiomatic semantics would sanction that inference.  I haven't been a
    >part of the debate of that issue, but at first blush, that sounds like
    >an inadequacy of the model theoretic semantics specification.
    The problem is that subPropertyOf is RDFS and not DAML, right? And 
    the axiomatic semantics incorporates RDF(S) meanings but the DAML MT 
    does not. If that is the basic reason, I agree with Richard: the DAML 
    MT needs to be updated to include RDFS meanings.
    >The bottom line here is this.  I don't expect you or the committee to
    >agree with the meaning attached to arbitrary triples in query patterns
    >with arbitrarily placed variables that is given to such queries by the
    >axiomatic semantics.  However, I hope that you agree such meaning and
    >such queries are coherent and perhaps even useful.  A major payoff to
    >allowing queries with arbitrary triples with arbitrarily placed
    >variables is that it greatly simplifies the specification of the query
    >language.  The relatively straightforward description of what a query is
    >and what an answer is that is in the current DQL specification is then
    >We can rejoin this discussion with respect to OWL when its specification
    >has been agreed on.
    Ah, which reminds me....(wanders off muttering into his beard...)
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