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Subject: Call for Participation: OASIS Quantities and Units of Measure Ontology Standard (QUOMOS) TC

To:  OASIS members & interested parties

   A new OASIS technical committee is being formed. The OASIS Quantities and Units of Measure Ontology Standard (QUOMOS) Technical Committee has been proposed by the members of OASIS listed below. The TC name, statement of purpose, scope, list of deliverables, audience, and language specified in the proposal will constitute the TC's official charter. Submissions of technology for consideration by the TC, and the beginning of technical discussions, may occur no sooner than the TC's first meeting.

   The eligibility requirements for becoming a participant in the TC at the first meeting are:

   (a) you must be an employee of an OASIS member organization or an individual member of OASIS, and
   (b) you must join the Technical Committee, which members may do by using the "Join this TC" button on the TC's home page at [c].

   To be considered a voting member at the first meeting, you must:
   (a) join the Technical Committee at least 7 days prior to the first meeting (date); and
   (b) you must attend the first meeting of the TC, at the time and date fixed below (date).

Of course, participants also may join the TC at a later time. OASIS and the TC welcomes all interested parties.

   Non-OASIS members who wish to participate may contact us about joining OASIS [b]. In addition, the public may access the information resources maintained for each TC: a mail list archive, document repository and public comments facility, which will be linked from the TC's public home page at [a].

   Please feel free to forward this announcement to any other appropriate lists. OASIS is an open standards organization; we encourage your participation.



Mary P McRae
Director, Standards Development
Technical Committee Administrator
OASIS: Advancing open standards for the information society
email: mary.mcrae@oasis-open.org 
web: www.oasis-open.org
twitter: @fiberartisan #oasisopen
phone: 1.603.232.9090

[a] [a] http://www.oasis-open.org/apps/org/workgroup/quomos
[b] See http://www.oasis-open.org/join/
[c] http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=quomos


OASIS Quantities and Units of Measure Ontology Standard (QUOMOS) Technical Committee

The name of the TC:

OASIS Quantities and Units of Measure Ontology Standard (QUOMOS) Technical Committee

Statement of purpose:

Ontologies allow the explicit specification of the multiple possible meanings of concepts so that people can recognize commonalities and differences in the semantics of the concepts that they use.

Ontologies can be used to improve the quality of standards, leading to more robust implementations of the standards and the semantic integration of multiple standards. The axiomatization of formal ontologies can also support automatic conformance-checking.

Measurement units and dimensions (or dimensionality) are essential for the meaningful communication of measurements, design specifications, scientific data, medical data, environmental data and regulations, and many commercial transactions. Confusion over measurement units can lead to disasters such as the demise of the Mars Climate Observer satellite. An ontology of measurement units and dimensions would have wide utility in many IT standards.

A number of standards projects and other large-scale projects are currently developing some kind of ontology for quantities and measurement units.  This will quickly lead to a proliferation of formal models for quantities and units that are not quite comparable. That in turn will impede consistent specifications of quantities for publication and information exchange in many industries.  A standard ontology for quantities and units, adopted at this time, can be incorporated into such projects, or used as a reference for the symbols they define, thus promoting consistent interpretation and interworking of specifications and measurements.

Measurement units include metres, feet, inches, etc. all of which have the dimension of "length", i.e., length is the "property" of which "metre" is the unit of measure. In the International System of Quantities (Units) (also called the metric system or SI) the base dimensions (units) are: length (metre), mass (kilogram), time (second), electric current (ampere), thermodynamic temperature (kelvin), amount of substance (mole) and luminous intensity (candela). Derived (or composite) dimensions are constructed by multiplying or dividing the dimensions when multiplying or dividing the corresponding quantities. Hence speed has dimension of length / time. In practice the various base dimensions may have exponents of -3 to +3. Thus the space of derived dimensions has size of 7 to the 7th power - approx. 800K possible dimensions. For each dimension there are often several alternative measurement units - thus the space of all possible measurement units is huge.

Thus is it is clear that there is need to specify a framework for constructing derived dimensions / units from base dimensions and units.

It is therefore proposed to develop an ontology which would specify the basic concepts of quantities, systems of quantities, and systems of measurement units and scales, the various base dimensions and units of the SI system, the various metric prefixes (nano-, micro-, milli-, kilo-, ...), the rules for constructing various derived units, and the designations of the most common derived units such as joules, watts, ... The ontology should also address non-metric base and derived units that are commonly used across multiple industries.

The ontology will be represented in multiple formats, to allow exploitation via various tools - CLIF (ISO 24707) is currently proposed as the reference normative form, along with a derived OWL2/DL representation, although this may not be able to accommodate all CLIF concepts.  It will also be important to construct canonical URIs to reference the various measurement units and dimensions. Furthermore, the ontology should be linked to standard representations (names, abbreviations) for the various measurement units / dimensions, e.g., meters, m, joules, etc., as expressed in sources such as the OASIS UnitsML project, and the Healthcare Level 7 Uniform Code for Units of Measure (UCUM).

There are some anomalies which need to be addressed, notably in the area of "dimensionless units" and derived units that involve them, such as measurements of concentration, energy v. torque.  Non-linear scales will also be a concern.

Scope of the work of the TC:

The objective is to develop the draft of an international ontology standard for expressing "Quantities and Units of Measure" which will be publicly available, free of charge. The reference normative form of the ontology will be expressed in the CLIF language, with derived normative representations in OWL 2.0 DL, and UML.

The work shall include the development of a core set of ontology modules covering quantities, units, scales, dimensions, base and derived SI units and their relationships, and extension mechanisms to allow the later inclusion of non SI units and other measurement systems.  The ontology shall be independent of industry sector and applications, and based on available specifications and standards, particularly the VIM.  Where ambiguities and contradictions arise between different specifications and standards, these shall be referred back to the originating organizations for resolution.

Later ontology modules may include basic concepts for measurements and uncertainties, and for quantity specifications and tolerances.  While all applications of quantities are one or the other of these, these disciplines are more complex and may have industry-specific characteristics.

The TC will liaise and strive to coordinate its development with the work of BIPM (International Bureau of Weights and Measures), ISO/IEC 80000, VIM (International Vocabulary of Metrology), UnitsML, UCUM (Unified Code for Units of Measure) and UNECE Recommendation 20, and take into account existing quantities and units ontologies based on VIM, such as Sweet, QUDT and the QUDV component of SysML. It is expected that the scope of the QUOMOS ontology with respect to specific units will be influenced by the relationship to UnitsML and UCUM.

Consideration will be given to ensuring that the methodology used to construct the ontology can be exploited in the construction of other definitive ontologies.

A list of deliverables, with projected completion dates:

The TC will produce a core set of ontology modules covering quantities, units, scales, dimensions, base and derived SI units and extension mechanisms to allow the later inclusion of non SI units and other measurement systems.  The reference normative ontology will be expressed in CLIF, with other normative representations may be derived in OWL 2.0 DL, and supported by equivalent UML diagrams.

Further extensions may be generated using the specified mechanisms.

Specification of the IPR Mode under which the TC will operate:


The anticipated audience or users of the work:

The proposed ontology will be applicable to any developer or user of information models or applications that require an unambiguous definition of units in a digital form that can be utilised by a wide range of applications, including document markup and data exchange. It will also highlight logical inconsistencies and ambiguities that need to be addressed.

The language in which the TC shall conduct business:


Non-normative information regarding the startup of the TC, which includes:
Identification of similar or applicable work that is being done in other OASIS TCs or by other organizations:

This work emerged from "OntologySummit2009: Toward Ontology-based Standards" where "A harmonized ontology of units and dimensions" was identified as a good project where ontology science and engineering can be applied to standards development. A "UoM_Ontology_Standard"
working group was subsequently formed within the Ontolog community that did the planning and technical work leading up to the formation of this TC.

The only relevant work in OASIS is the UnitsML activity to provide a markup language for units.  The QUOMOS work should be complementary, in providing an ontological representation for Units of Measure, and may provide resolution of ambiguities in the definition of units adopted from elsewhere.

The work needs to be based on the fundamental internationally agreed definitions from BIPM and the agreed understanding of derived units, as defined in the ISO/IEC 80000 series of standards.  Additional derived units from efforts such as UCUM and known requirements from other groups may also be taken into account.  Existing agreements on international trade from the UN should also be taken into consideration.

Requirements are being actively sought from prospective user organisations in ISO, IEC and UNECE, and the TC welcomes other relevant contributions.

In order to obtain the broadest possible perspective, the initiative has been reported to the Management Group of the MoU on eBusiness between ISO/IEC/ITU/UNECE, at its 12-13 October meeting, with a request for contributions.

The date, time, and location of the first meeting, whether it will be held in person or by telephone, and who will sponsor this first meeting:

The first meeting will be held by teleconference on Thursday 21 January 2010, from 18.30-20.30 UTC

The projected on-going meeting schedule:

The TC will meet by teleconference every two weeks or as decided by the group after it is launched.  Additional face-to-face meetings may be held by consensus.

The names, electronic mail addresses, and membership affiliations of at least Minimum Membership who support this proposal and are committed to the Charter and projected meeting schedule:

* Ed Barkmeyer (edbark@nist.gov) NIST
* Jerry Smith (jerry.smith@disa.mil) US DoD
* Frank Olken (folken@nsf.gov) LBNL
* Peter Yim (peter.yim@cim3.com) 
* Howard Mason (howard.mason@baesystems.com) BAE Systems
* Pat Hayes (phayes@ihmc.us) 
* Steve Ray (steve.r.ray@sv.cmu.edu) Carnegie Mellon

The name, electronic mail address, membership affiliation, and statement of support for the proposed Charter from the Primary Representative.

* Dr David Flater (dflater@nist.gov) NIST
:I hereby confirm the commitment of NIST to support the proposed OASIS QUOMOS TC, as described in the draft charter cited: November 20, 2009 (including subsequent non-substantive modification of that charter).  NIST appoints Edward Barkmeyer (edbark@nist.gov, +1-301-975-3528) as a technical expert in the area and an active participant in the work of the proposed Technical Committee, and will support his participation.

* Jerry Smith (jerry.smith@disa.mil) US DoD
:We've reviewed the draft and concur.  DoD is a member of OASIS, I am the voting representative, and we want to participate in this new TC.

* Mary Ann Piette (mapiette@lbl.gov) LBNL
:Frank (Olken) - Sounds ok to me! In the buildings area there are tremendous measurements issues, measurement of energy, measurement of services building systems provide, measurement of satisfaction, measurement of indoor air quality and many more! - Mary Ann

* Howard Mason (howard.mason@baesystems.com) BAE Systems
:BAE Systems supports the development of the proposed ontology standard, which should form part of our overall standards toolbox.

* Eric Nyberg (ehn@cs.cmu.edu) Carnegie Mellon
:Carnegie Mellon supports the development of the proposed UoM ontology standard.

The name of the Convener who must be an Eligible Person:
* Howard Mason (BAE Systems)

The name of the Member Section with which the TC intends to affiliate, if any:
* None

The TC anticipates evaluating the following sources as potential contributions to the propsoed ontology:
* BIPM (International Bureau of Weights and Measures)
* VIM (international Vocabulary for Measurement)
* UnitsML
* UCUM (Unified Code for Units of Measure)
* UNECE Recommendation 20
* sciUnits component of the SWEET ontologies
* QUDV component of SysML

Optionally, a draft Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document regarding the planned scope of the TC, for posting on the TC's website.
* None

Optionally, a proposed working title and acronym for the specification(s) to be developed by the TC.
* Quantities and Units of Measure Ontology Standard (QUOMOS)

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