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Subject: RE: [quomos-comment] Informatics and quantity calculus


                I would like to compliment you on your fascinating article in Metrologia. Perhaps you were responsible for my receiving the link to the article: http://herald.iop.org/met/m17/sxp//link/4035 from them recently. Your arguments directly support our QUOMOS effort, where we continue to argue the case for a more formal and rigorous representation for quantities, units and dimensions, and will hopefully provide ammunition for increased participation.

                I am copying the QUOMOS committee on this email, as they might not have seen your posting to quomos-comment.


Thanks again for a thoughtful piece.



Steven R. Ray, Ph.D.

Distinguished Research Fellow

Carnegie Mellon University

NASA Research Park

Building 23 (MS 23-11)

P.O. Box 1
Moffett Field, CA 94305-0001

Email: steve.r.ray@sv.cmu.edu

Phone: (650) 587-3780

Cell:  (202) 316-6481


From: Marcus.Foster@csiro.au [mailto:Marcus.Foster@csiro.au]
Sent: Wednesday, October 20, 2010 6:21 PM
To: 'quomos-comment@lists.oasis-open.org'
Subject: [quomos-comment] Informatics and quantity calculus



I commend your attempt to produce a definitive Quantities and Units Ontology; it is a really important step to making metrological concepts understandable by software systems. The concepts of ‘quantity’ and ’unit’ seem trivial, but there are other Q&U ontologies (e.g.  SysML-QUDV , UOM , UnitDim, sciUnits ), and they all have trouble codifying metrological concepts (primarily ‘quantity’, ‘kind-of-quantity’, and ‘dimension’) and with choosing a set of base quantities (e.g. [amount] and [luminous intensity] are unnecessary; [angle] and [entity] are desirable).  I suggest this is because there are unresolved conceptual issues in the main metrology documents the SI, VIM and ISQ.  I have reviewed these metrology-related informatics issues in a recent paper. It may help you avoid some frustration.


Foster MP.2010.The next 50 years of the SI: a review of the opportunities for the e-Science age. Metrologia 47 R41-R51.

The International System of Units (SI) was declared as a practical and evolving system in 1960 and is now 50 years old. A large amount of theoretical and experimental work has been conducted to change the standards for the base units from artefacts to physical constants, to improve their stability and reproducibility. Less attention, however, has been paid to improving the SI definitions, utility and usability, which suffer from contradictions, ambiguities and inconsistencies. While humans can often resolve these issues contextually, computers cannot. As an ever-increasing volume and proportion of data about physical quantities is collected, exchanged, processed and rendered by computers, this paper argues that the SI definitions, symbols and syntax should be made more rigorous, so they can be represented wholly and unambiguously in ontologies, programs, data and text, and so the SI notation can be rendered faithfully in print and on screen.

Online at stacks.iop.org/Met/47/R41


Marcus Foster
CSIRO Information Management & Technology

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marcus.foster@csiro.au | www.csiro.au
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