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Ontology (from the Greek ὄν, genitive ὄντος: "of that which is", and -λογία, -logia: science, study, theory) is the philosophical study of the nature of being, existence or reality as such, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations. Traditionally listed as a part of the major branch of philosophy known as metaphysics, ontology deals with questions concerning what entities exist or can be said to exist, and how such entities can be grouped, related within a hierarchy, and subdivided according to similarities and differences. Ontology asks in what sense the items in those categories can be said to "be".

In the context of information technology, an ontology formally represents knowledge as a set of concepts within a particular domain, and the relationships between those concepts. An ontology is like a mind map except that it is described using open Internet standards so that the concepts are all described in a universally shareable way. All the organisations in the Platform network are aligned with the common vision and so they all inherit some default aspects to their ontology called the Foundation Ontology which is a basic system involving alignment and deployment processes.

At OrganicDesign we're developing an ontology called the Foundation Ontology which is similar to an enterprise architecture framework, but designed specifically for small groups, community organisations and projects which are aligned with the common vision of unification. Each of these organisations becomes what we call a Platform, and together they all form the Platform network, a peer-to-peer network that contains a single unified ontology.

Enterprise architecture framework

An Enterprise Architecture Framework is a framework for an Enterprise Architecture which defines how to organize the structure and views associated with an Enterprise Architecture.

The three components of the enterprise architecture framework are:

  • Views: provide the mechanisms for communicating information about the relationships that are important in the architecture
  • Methods: provide the discipline to gather and organize the data and construct the views in a way that helps ensure integrity, accuracy and completeness
  • Training/Experience: support the application of method and use of tools

Because the discipline of Enterprise engineering and Enterprise Architecture is so broad, and because enterprises can be large and complex, the models associated with the discipline also tend to be large and complex. To manage this scale and complexity, an Architecture Framework provides tools and methods that can bring the task into focus and allow valuable artifacts to be produced when they are most needed.

Architecture Frameworks are commonly used in Information technology and Information system governance. An organisation may wish to mandate that certain models be produced before a system design can be approved. Similarly, they may wish to specify certain views be used in the documentation of procured systems - for example the U.S. Department of Defense stipulates that specific DoDAF views be provided by equipment suppliers for capital project above a certain value.

Operations research

Operations research (also referred to as decision science, or management science) is an interdisciplinary mathematical science that focuses on the effective use of technology by organizations. In contrast, many other science & engineering disciplines focus on technology giving secondary considerations to its use.

Employing techniques from other mathematical sciences — such as mathematical modelling, statistical analysis, and mathematical optimisation — operations research arrives at optimal or near-optimal solutions to complex decision-making problems. Because of its emphasis on human-technology interaction and because of its focus on practical applications, operations research has overlap with other disciplines, notably industrial engineering and management science, and draws on psychology and organisation science. Operations Research is often concerned with determining the maximum (of profit, performance, or yield) or minimum (of loss, risk, or cost) of some real-world objective. Originating in military efforts before World War II, its techniques have grown to concern problems in a variety of industries.

See also