First, a link:
Here is a link to the "Chinese room" argument: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Room
Here are some points to ponder on the recent topics:
0 (don't need to answer on blog): We talked a lot about syntax and semantics. Using English as the example, think of (a) whether
an ungrammatical sentence can have semantics (b) a sentence with "no meaning" can be grammatically correct.
Consider the famous example: "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously." (Check out
http://rakaposhi.eas.asu.edu/f06-cse471-mailarchive/msg00090.html for the history of that sentence...)
1. We talked about the fact that XML is a syntactic standard and doesn;t have semantics. Do relational databases have
semantics? (And if so, then won't a conversion of a relational database to an XML form preserve those semantics?)
Consider the case of the use of the database by someone who knows and understands the database schema as well as a
lay user that doesn't
[In thinking about semantics, it is useful to think in terms of the "worlds" that are consistent with a data/knowledge base.
You will say that a formal sentence has semantics if you can enumerate worlds where it is going to be true (or alternately,
given a completely specified world, you can tell whether or not that sentence is "true" in that world. As you add more and more
sentences to a knowledge base, you constrain the number of worlds that are consistent with it.]
2. Here is a question that one of the students asked after the class: We said XML can be viewed either as ordered or unordered.
From a DB perspective, we would like to see it as unordered and from an IR perspective we would like to see it as ordered.
The question is what, if any, is the disadvantage of assuming that XML is always ordered? More specifically what is the loss from the
database side if we unilaterally decide that XML is ordered whether or not it was intended in such a way?