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A Theory of Granular Partitions

In M. Duckham, M. F. Goodchild & M. F. Worboys (eds.), Foundations of Geographic Information Science. London: Taylor & Francis. pp. 117-151 (2003)

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  1. Endurants and Perdurants in Directly Depicting Ontologies.Thomas Bittner, Maureen Donnelly & Barry Smith - 2004 - AI Communications 13 (4):247–258.
    We propose an ontological theory that is powerful enough to describe both complex spatio-temporal processes and the enduring entities that participate therein. For this purpose we introduce the notion a directly depicting ontology. Directly depicting ontologies are based on relatively simple languages and fall into two major categories: ontologies of type SPAN and ontologies of type SNAP. These represent two complementary perspectives on reality and employ distinct though compatible systems of categories. A SNAP (snapshot) ontology comprehends enduring entities such as (...)
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  • Towards a Reference Terminology for Ontology Research and Development in the Biomedical Domain.Barry Smith, Waclaw Kusnierczyk, Daniel Schober, & Werner Ceusters - 2006 - In Proceedings of KR-MED, CEUR, vol. 222. pp. 57-65.
    Ontology is a burgeoning field, involving researchers from the computer science, philosophy, data and software engineering, logic, linguistics, and terminology domains. Many ontology-related terms with precise meanings in one of these domains have different meanings in others. Our purpose here is to initiate a path towards disambiguation of such terms. We draw primarily on the literature of biomedical informatics, not least because the problems caused by unclear or ambiguous use of terms have been there most thoroughly addressed. We advance a (...)
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  • Bodily Systems and the Spatial-Functional Structure of the Human Body.Barry Smith - 2004 - Studies in Health and Technology Informatics 102:39–63.
    The human body is a system made of systems. The body is divided into bodily systems proper, such as the endocrine and circulatory systems, which are subdivided into many sub-systems at a variety of levels, whereby all systems and subsystems engage in massive causal interaction with each other and with their surrounding environments. Here we offer an explicit definition of bodily system and provide a framework for understanding their causal interactions. Medical sciences provide at best informal accounts of basic notions (...)
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  • Foundations for a Realist Ontology of Mental Disease.Werner Ceusters & Barry Smith - 2010 - Journal of Biomedical Semantics 1 (10):1-23.
    While classifications of mental disorders have existed for over one hundred years, it still remains unspecified what terms such as 'mental disorder', 'disease' and 'illness' might actually denote. While ontologies have been called in aid to address this shortfall since the GALEN project of the early 1990s, most attempts thus far have sought to provide a formal description of the structure of some pre-existing terminology or classification, rather than of the corresponding structures and processes on the side of the patient. (...)
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  • Investigating Subsumption in SNOMED CT: An Exploration Into Large Description Logic-Based Biomedical Terminologies.Olivier Bodenreider, Barry Smith, Anand Kumar & Anita Burgun - 2007 - Artificial Intelligence in Medicine 39 (3):183-195.
    Formalisms based on one or other flavor of Description Logic (DL) are sometimes put forward as helping to ensure that terminologies and controlled vocabularies comply with sound ontological principles. The objective of this paper is to study the degree to which one DL-based biomedical terminology (SNOMED CT) does indeed comply with such principles. We defined seven ontological principles (for example: each class must have at least one parent, each class must differ from its parent) and examined the properties of SNOMED (...)
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  • Biomedical Informatics and Granularity.Anand Kumar & Barry Smith - 2004 - Comparative and Functional Genomics 5 (6-7):501-508.
    An explicit formal-ontological representation of entities existing at multiple levels of granularity is an urgent requirement for biomedical information processing. We discuss some fundamental principles which can form a basis for such a representation. We also comment on some of the implicit treatments of granularity in currently available ontologies and terminologies (GO, FMA, SNOMED CT).
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  • Anatomical Information Science.Barry Smith, Jose Mejino, Stefan Schulz, Anand Kumar & Cornelius Rosse - 2005 - In A. G. Cohn & D. M. Mark (eds.), Spatial Information Theory. Springer. pp. 149-164.
    The Foundational Model of Anatomy (FMA) is a map of the human body. Like maps of other sorts – including the map-like representations we find in familiar anatomical atlases – it is a representation of a certain portion of spatial reality as it exists at a certain (idealized) instant of time. But unlike other maps, the FMA comes in the form of a sophisticated ontology of its objectdomain, comprising some 1.5 million statements of anatomical relations among some 70,000 anatomical kinds. (...)
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  • The Ontology of Blood Pressure: A Case Study in Creating Ontological Partitions in Biomedicine.Anand Kumar & Barry Smith - 2003 - IFOMIS Reports.
    We provide a methodology for the creation of ontological partitions in biomedicine and we test the methodology via an application to the phenomenon of blood pressure. An ontology of blood pressure must do justice to the complex networks of intersecting pathways in the organism by which blood pressure is regulated. To this end it must deal not only with the anatomical structures and physiological processes involved in such regulation but also with the relations between these at different levels of granularity. (...)
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  • Biodynamic Ontology: Applying BFO in the Biomedical Domain.Barry Smith, Pierre Grenon & Louis Goldberg - 2004 - Studies in Health and Technology Informatics 102:20–38.
    Current approaches to formal representation in biomedicine are characterized by their focus on either the static or the dynamic aspects of biological reality. We here outline a theory that combines both perspectives and at the same time tackles the by no means trivial issue of their coherent integration. Our position is that a good ontology must be capable of accounting for reality both synchronically (as it exists at a time) and diachronically (as it unfolds through time), but that these are (...)
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  • The Cornucopia of Formal-Ontological Relations.Barry Smith & Pierre Grenon - 2004 - Dialectica 58 (3):279–296.
    The paper presents a new method for generating typologies of formal-ontological relations. The guiding idea is that formal relations are those sorts of relations which hold between entities which are constituents of distinct ontologies. We provide examples of ontologies (in the spirit of Zemach’s classic “Four Ontologies” of 1970), and show how these can be used to give a rich typology of formal relations in a way which also throws light on the opposition between threeand four-dimensionalism.
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  • Persistence and Ontological Pluralism.Pierre Grenon & Barry Smith - 2008 - In Christian Kanzian (ed.), Persistence. Ontos. pp. 33-48.
    We aim to provide the ontological grounds for an adequate account of persistence. We defend a perspectivalist, or moderate pluralist, position, according to which some aspects of reality can be accounted for in ontological terms only via partial and mutually complementary ontologies, each one of which captures some relevant aspect of reality. Our thesis here is that this is precisely the sort of ontological account that is needed for the understanding of persistence, specifically an account involving two independent ontologies, one (...)
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  • SNAP and SPAN: Towards Dynamic Spatial Ontology.Pierre Grenon & Barry Smith - 2004 - Spatial Cognition and Computation 4 (1):69–103.
    We propose a modular ontology of the dynamic features of reality. This amounts, on the one hand, to a purely spatial ontology supporting snapshot views of the world at successive instants of time and, on the other hand, to a purely spatiotemporal ontology of change and process. We argue that dynamic spatial ontology must combine these two distinct types of inventory of the entities and relationships in reality, and we provide characterizations of spatiotemporal reasoning in the light of the interconnections (...)
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  • Applied Ontology: An Introduction.Katherine Munn & Barry Smith (eds.) - 2008 - Frankfurt: ontos.
    Ontology is the philosophical discipline which aims to understand how things in the world are divided into categories and how these categories are related together. This is exactly what information scientists aim for in creating structured, automated representations, called 'ontologies,' for managing information in fields such as science, government, industry, and healthcare. Currently, these systems are designed in a variety of different ways, so they cannot share data with one another. They are often idiosyncratically structured, accessible only to those who (...)
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  • Referent Tracking for Corporate Memories.Werner Ceusters & Barry Smith - 2007 - In Peter Rittgen (ed.), Handbook of Ontologies for Business Interaction. Idea Group Publishing. pp. 34-46.
    For corporate memory and enterprise ontology systems to be maximally useful, they must be freed from certain barriers placed around them by traditional knowledge management paradigms. This means, above all, that they must mirror more faithfully those portions of reality which are salient to the workings of the enterprise, including the changes that occur with the passage of time. The purpose of this chapter is to demonstrate how theories based on philosophical realism can contribute to this objective. We discuss how (...)
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  • Clinical Guidelines as Plans: An Ontological Theory.Anand Kumar, Barry Smith, Domenica Pisanelli, Aldo Gangemi & Mario Stefanelli - 2006 - Methods of Information in Medicine 45 (2):204-210.
    Clinical guidelines are special types of plans realized by collective agents. We provide an ontological theory of such plans that is designed to support the construction of a framework in which guideline-based information systems can be employed in the management of workflow in health care organizations. The framework we propose allows us to represent in formal terms how clinical guidelines are realized through the actions of are realized through the actions of individuals organized into teams. We provide various levels of (...)
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  • Investigating Subsumption in DL-Based Terminologies: A Case Study in SNOMED CT.Olivier Bodenreider, Barry Smith, Anand Kumar & Anita Burgun - 2004 - In Proceedings of the First International Workshop on Formal Biomedical Knowledge Representation (KR-MED 2004). pp. 12-20.
    Formalisms such as description logics (DL) are sometimes expected to help terminologies ensure compliance with sound ontological principles. The objective of this paper is to study the degree to which one DL-based biomedical terminology (SNOMED CT) complies with such principles. We defined seven ontological principles (for example: each class must have at least one parent, each class must differ from its parent) and examined the properties of SNOMED CT classes with respect to these principles. Our major results are: 31% of (...)
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  • Referent Tracking and its Applications.Werner Ceusters & Barry Smith - 2007 - In Proceedings of the Workshop WWW2007 Workshop i3: Identity, Identifiers, Identification (Workshop on Entity-Centric Approaches to Information and Knowledge Management on the Web), Banff, Canada. CEUR.
    Referent tracking (RT) is a new paradigm, based on unique identification, for representing and keeping track of particulars. It was first introduced to support the entry and retrieval of data in electronic health records (EHRs). Its purpose is to avoid the ambiguity that arises when statements in an EHR refer to disorders or other entities on the side of the patient exclusively by means of compound descriptions utilizing general terms such as ‘pimple on nose’ or ‘small left breast tumor’. In (...)
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  • Ontology for Task-Based Clinical Guidelines and the Theory of Granular Partitions.Anand Kumar & Barry Smith - 2003 - In Proceedings of 9th Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Medicine Europe (AIME 2003). Berlin: Springer. pp. 71-75.
    The theory of granular partitions (TGP) is a new approach to the understanding of ontologies and other classificatory systems. The paper explores the use of this new theory in the treatment of task-based clinical guidelines as a means for better understanding the relations between different clinical tasks, both within the framework of a single guideline and between related guidelines. We used as our starting point a DAML+OIL-based ontology for the WHO guideline for hypertension management, comparing this with related guidelines and (...)
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  • Context-Based Task Ontologies for Clinical Guidelines.Anand Kumar, Paolo Ciccarese, Barry Smith & Matteo Piazza - 2004 - In D. Pisanelli (ed.), Ontologies in Medicine: Proceedings of the Workshop on Medical Ontologies, Rome October 2003 (Studies in Health and Technology Informatics, 102). Amsterdam: IOS Press. pp. 81-94.
    Evidence-based medicine relies on the execution of clinical practice guidelines and protocols. A great deal of of effort has been invested in the development of various tools which automate the representation and execution of the recommendations contained within such guidelines and protocols by creating Computer Interpretable Guideline Models (CIGMs). Context-based task ontologies (CTOs), based on standard terminology systems like UMLS, form one of the core components of such a model. We have created DAML+OIL-based CTOs for the tasks mentioned in the (...)
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  • Directly Depicting Granular Ontologies.Thomas Bittner & Barry Smith - 2004 - In IFOMIS Reports. pp. 117--151.
    Published in extended form as "Endurants and Perdurants in Directly Depicting Ontologies", -/- We propose an ontological theory that is powerful enough to describe both complex spatio-temporal processes and the enduring entities that participate in such processes. For this purpose we distinguish between ontologies and metaontology. Ontologies are based on very simple directly depicting languages and fall into two major categories: ontologies of type SPAN and ontologies of type SNAP. These represent two complementary perspectives on reality and result in distinct (...)
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  • A Unified Theory of Granularity, Vagueness and Approximation.Thomas Bittner & Barry Smith - 2001 - In COSIT Workshop on Spatial Vagueness, Uncertainty and Granularity. pp. 39.
    Abstract: We propose a view of vagueness as a semantic property of names and predicates. All entities are crisp, on this semantic view, but there are, for each vague name, multiple portions of reality that are equally good candidates for being its referent, and, for each vague predicate, multiple classes of objects that are equally good candidates for being its extension. We provide a new formulation of these ideas in terms of a theory of granular partitions. We show that this (...)
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  • Formal Ontologies of Space and Time. IFOMIS Report.Thomas Bittner & Barry Smith - 2003 - In IFOMIS Report.
    We propose an ontological theory that is powerful enough to describe both complex spatio-temporal processes (occurrents) and the enduring entities (continuants) that participate in such processes. For this purpose we distinguish between meta-ontology and token ontologies. Token ontologies fall into two major categories: ontologies of type SPAN and ontologies of type SNAP. These represent two complementary perspectives on reality and result in distinct though compatible systems of categories. The meta-ontological level then describes the relationships between the different token ontologies. In (...)
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  • The Mystery of Capital and the Construction of Social Reality.Barry Smith, David M. Mark & Isaac Ehrlich (eds.) - 2008 - Open Court.
    John Searle’s The Construction of Social Reality and Hernando de Soto’s The Mystery of Capital shifted the focus of current thought on capital and economic development to the cultural and conceptual ideas that underpin market economies and that are taken for granted in developed nations. This collection of essays assembles 21 philosophers, economists, and political scientists to help readers understand these exciting new theories.
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  • Basic Formal Ontology for Bioinformatics.Barry Smith, Anand Kumar & Thomas Bittner - 2005 - IFOMIS Reports.
    Two senses of ‘ontology’ can be distinguished in the current literature. First is the sense favored by information scientists, who view ontologies as software implementations designed to capture in some formal way the consensus conceptualization shared by those working on information systems or databases in a given domain. [Gruber 1993] Second is the sense favored by philosophers, who regard ontologies as theories of different types of entities (objects, processes, relations, functions) [Smith 2003]. Where information systems ontologists seek to maximize reasoning (...)
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  • Ontology-Based Fusion of Sensor Data and Natural Language.Erik Thomsen & Barry Smith - 2018 - Applied Ontology 13 (4):295-333.
    We describe a prototype ontology-driven information system (ODIS) that exploits what we call Portion of Reality (POR) representations. The system takes both sensor data and natural language text as inputs and composes on this basis logically structured POR assertions. The goal of our prototype is to represent both natural language and sensor data within a single framework that is able to support both axiomatic reasoning and computation. In addition, the framework should be capable of discovering and representing new kinds of (...)
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  • Ontologies for the Life Sciences.Steffen Schulze-Kremer & Barry Smith - 2005 - In Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics, vol. 4. Wiley.
    Where humans can manipulate and integrate the information they receive in subtle and ever-changing ways from context to context, computers need structured and context-free background information of a sort which ontologies can help to provide. A domain ontology captures the stable, highly general and commonly accepted core knowledge for an application domain. The domain at issue here is that of the life sciences, in particular molecular biology and bioinformatics. Contemporary life science research includes components drawn from physics, chemistry, mathematics, medicine (...)
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  • Formalizing UMLS Relations Using Semantic Partitions in the Context of a Task-Based Clinical Guidelines Model.Anand Kumar, Matteo Piazza, Barry Smith, Silvana Quaglini & Mario Stefanelli - 2004 - In IFOMIS Reports. Saarbrücken: IFOMIS.
    An important part of the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) is its Semantic Network, consisting of 134 Semantic Types connected to each other by edges formed by one or more of 54 distinct Relation Types. This Network is however for many purposes overcomplex, and various groups have thus made attempts at simplification. Here we take this work further by simplifying the relations which involve the three Semantic Types – Diagnostic Procedure, Laboratory Procedure and Therapeutic or Preventive Procedure. We define operators (...)
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  • Toward a Realistic Science of Environments.Barry Smith - 2009 - Ecological Psychology 21 (2):121-130.
    The perceptual psychologist J. J. Gibson embraces a radically externalistic view of mind and action. We have, for Gibson, not a Cartesian mind or soul, with its interior theater of contents and the consequent problem of explaining how this mind or soul and its psychological environment can succeed in grasping physical objects external to itself. Rather, we have a perceiving, acting organism, whose perceptions and actions are always already tuned to the parts and moments, the things and surfaces, of its (...)
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  • The Unified Medical Language System and the Gene Ontology: Some Critical Reflections.Anand Kumar & Barry Smith - 2003 - In A. Günter, R. Kruse & B. Neumann (eds.), KI 2003: Advances in Artificial Intelligence. Berlin: Springer. pp. 135-148.
    The Unified Medical Language System and the Gene Ontology are among the most widely used terminology resources in the biomedical domain. However, when we evaluate them in the light of simple principles for wellconstructed ontologies we find a number of characteristic inadequacies. Employing the theory of granular partitions, a new approach to the understanding of ontologies and of the relationships ontologies bear to instances in reality, we provide an application of this theory in relation to an example drawn from the (...)
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  • Vague Reference and Approximating Judgements.Thomas Bittner & Barry Smith - 2003 - Spatial Cognition and Computation 3 (2):137–156.
    We propose a new account of vagueness and approximation in terms of the theory of granular partitions. We distinguish different kinds of crisp and non-crisp granular partitions and we describe the relations between them, concentrating especially on spatial examples. We describe the practice whereby subjects use regular grid-like reference partitions as a means for tempering the vagueness of their judgments, and we demonstrate how the theory of reference partitions can yield a natural account of this practice, which is referred to (...)
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  • Introduction: What is Ontology For.Katherine Munn - 2008 - In Munn Katherine & Smith Barry (eds.), Applied Ontology: An Introduction. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 7-19.
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  • Vagueness and Identity. A Granular Approach.Silvia Gaio - unknown
    In this research work I take into account the relation of indistinguishability. This relation seems to be prima facie reflexive, symmetric and transitive; in short, an equivalence relation. However, there are some cases where the relation under consideration fails to be transitive. In this thesis I will discuss two of those cases: vagueness of gradabale adjectives and count nouns, and identity criteria involving perceptual phenomena. My research attempts to answer the following question: how is it possible to communicate and to (...)
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  • Epistemologia serviciilor de informaţii.Nicolae Sfetcu - manuscript
    Despre analogia existentă între aspectele epistemologice şi metodologice ale activităţii serviciilor de informaţii şi unele discipline ştiinţifice, pledând pentru o abordare mai ştiinţifică a procesului de culegere şi analiză de informaţii din cadrul ciclului de informaţii. Afirm că în prezent aspectele teoretice, ontologice şi epistemologice, în activitatea multor servicii de informaţii, sunt subestimate, determinând înţelegere incompletă a fenomenelor actuale şi creând confuzie în colaborarea inter-instituţională. După o scurtă Introducere, care include o istorie a evoluţiei conceptului de serviciu de informaţii după (...)
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  • A Taxonomy of Types of Granularity.C. Maria Keet - unknown
    Multiple different understandings and uses exist of what granularity is and how to implement it, where the former influences success of the latter with regards to storing granular data and using granularity for reasoning over the data or information. We propose a taxonomy of types of granularity and discuss for each leaf type how the entities or instances relate within its granular level. Such unambiguous distinctions can guide a conceptual modeler to better distinguish between the types of granularity and the (...)
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  • Toward Cross-Granular Querying Over Modularized Ontologies.C. Maria Keet - unknown
    To address the problems of both structured coordination of linked and modularised ontologies and to query a large dynamic ontology system, we propose a basic granularity framework and a set of functions to query such a granulated system. The granularity framework enforces a constrained and structured modularization. This facilitates automation of both dividing a large body of represented information as well as relinking the pieces. The functions enable basic cross-granular querying in a transparent and scalable way, as they rely on (...)
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  • The Logic of Systems of Granular Partitions.Thomas Bittner, Barry Smith & Maureen Donnelly - manuscript
    The theory of granular partitions is designed to capture in a formal framework important aspects of the selective character of common-sense views of reality. It comprehends not merely the ways in which we can view reality by conceiving its objects as gathered together not merely into sets, but also into wholes of various kinds, partitioned into parts at various levels of granularity. We here represent granular partitions as triples consisting of a rooted tree structure as first component, a domain satisfying (...)
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  • Interactive Fiat Objects.Juan C. González - 2013 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (2):205-217.
    The initial stage for the discussion is the distinction between bona fide and fiat objects drawn by Barry Smith and collaborators in the context of formal ontology. This paper aims at both producing a rationale for introducing a hitherto unrecognized kind of object—here called ‘Interactive Fiat Objects’ (IFOs)—into the ontology of objects, and casting light on the relationship between embodied cognition and interactive ontology with the aid of the concepts of affordance and ad hoc category. I conclude that IFOs are (...)
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