Formal Ontology, Patterns and Anti-Patterns for Next-Generation Conceptual Modeling

Presented on 12 Nov at IC3K 2015

Keynote Lecturer: Giancarlo Guizzardi

Abstract: In his ACM Turing Award Lecture entitled “The Humble Programmer”, E. W. Dijkstra discusses the sheer complexity one has to deal with when programming large computer systems. His article represented an open call for an acknowledgement of the complexity at hand and for the need of more sophisticated techniques to master this complexity. This talk advocates the view that we are now in an analogous situation with respect to Conceptual Modeling. We will experience an increasing demand for building Reference Conceptual Models in subject domains in reality, as well as employing them to address classes of problems, for which sophisticated ontological distinctions are demanded.One of these key problems is Semantic Interoperability. Effective semantic interoperability requires an alignment between worldviews or, to put it more accurately, it requires the precise understanding of the relation between the (inevitable) ontological commitments assumed by different conceptual models and the systems based on them (including sociotechnical systems). This talk advocates the view that an approach that neglects true ontological distinctions (i.e., Ontology in the philosophical sense) cannot meet these requirements. The talk discusses the importance of foundational axiomatic theories and principles in the design of conceptual modeling languages and models. Moreover, it discusses the role played by three types of complexity management tools: Ontological Design Patterns (ODPs) as methodological mechanisms for encoding these ontological theories; Ontology Pattern Languages (OPLs) as systems of representation that take ODPs as higher-granularity modeling primitives; and Ontological Anti-Patterns (OAPs) as structures that can be used to systematically identify possible deviations between the set of valid state of affairs admitted by a model (the actual ontological commitment) and the set of state of affairs actually intended by the stakeholders (the intended ontological commitment).Finally, the talk elaborates on the need for proper computational tools to support a process of pattern-based conceptual model creation, analysis, transformation and validation (via model simulation).