Re: Competency Questions #ontology #rdf


This is a very important question! The following is my opinion, and other might have a different perspective.

Questions over what can really substitute for what (e.g. for coal this is sulfur content, energy density, but also in general lignite takes totally different handling than bituminous) are long known to be difficult questions; similarly, the correct way of modelling markets with multiple providers, trade, and re-export is also tricky. They are tricky because in most cases we have to make value judgments in what we think is the best model, without really being able to get the "right" answer.

As such, these decisions should be done by the system modelling software (see my recent blog post), and should not be addressed in the data format. We want to be able to try multiple approaches, and be able to quantify the effects of different choices. Instead, the data format should be able to represent different kinds of coal, their origin locations, trade patterns (trade is an activity, the same as other activities), and the properties of these coals. The data format can also give the volume of specific kinds of coals consumed by various activities in a region. The system model is responsible for taking this large set of data points, and creating a balanced view of a possible world.

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