Ontological Foundations for Active Information Systems

Ontological Foundations for Active Information Systems

Salvatore T. March (Vanderbilt University, USA) and Gove N. Allen (Tulane University, USA)
Copyright: © 2007 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/jiit.2007010101
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While passive information systems simply record and report on the observed states of things in the world, active information systems participate in the determination and ascription of state to things. They infer conclusions based on the application of rules that govern how things in the real world are affected when defined and identified events occur. The ontological foundations for active information systems must include constructs to represent such causal rules. Conceptualizing things and events as distinct ontological categories with existence and properties and representing them as entities at the conceptual level is sufficient for this purpose. The properties of an event include data values inherent in the event and rules that define how the states of affected things are changed when the event occurs. In this manner the state-history of a thing is represented by the sequence of events that have affected it. Future states of a thing can be predicted based on proposed or conjectured events. Such a conceptualization enables a parsimonious mapping between an active information system and the real world system it is intended to model.

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