Formalizations of functions within the dolce ontology

In this paper we give formalizations of two engineering concepts of technical functions and present in more general terms the project of supporting engineering functional reasoning by means of ontological analyses. The concepts that we formalize are the concepts of function as defined in the Functional Representation approach by Chandrasekaran and Josephson and in the Functional Basis approach by Stone and Wood. These two concepts represent two main ways of understanding functions in engineering: the first by means of the behavior of artifacts, and the second by means of operations on flows as preformed by artifacts. Both formalizations are given within the foundational DOLCE ontology. Our choice to formalize existing concepts of functions within a single foundational ontology, is one strategy towards the goal of ontological analyses of functions. This goal of enabling the development of tools for automated functional reasoning, may be realized by other strategies as well, such as defining a single formalized concept of function, either for replacing existing concepts or for use as a reference to which existing concepts should be related. We compare these strategies briefly and discuss the merits and shortcomings of our strategy. © Organizing Committee of TMCE 2010 Symposium.

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Borgo, Stefano
Carrara, Massimiliano
Garbacz, Pawe?
Vermaas, Pieter E.
Delft University of Technology, Delft, NLD
Proceedings of the Eighth International Symposium on Tools and Methods of Competitive Engineering, edited by I. Horva?th, F. Mandorli, and Z. Ruza?k, pp. 113–126. Delft: Delft University of Technology, 2010
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