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DATETIME  December 2010

DATETIME December 2010

Subject:

Re: precision

From:

"Edward C. Zimmermann" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Discussion of the Developing Date/Time Standards <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 14 Dec 2010 09:32:40 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (143 lines)

On Thu, 9 Dec 2010 17:24:43 -0500, Denenberg, Ray wrote
> I want to try to break some of the recent discussion into smaller 
> chunks. Can we focus in this thread on precision.  To be honest, I 
> don't really understand the issue, at least, not the requirement. Or 
> perhaps, not the use case.
> 
> Anyway ...
> 
> I said 
> '{1960,1961,1962,1963} - this means in effect "all of the
>  (discrete) years, 1960 through 1963".  It DOES NOT mean "the
> (continuous) interval 1960 through 1963"'

From a purely logical view:

{1960,1961,1962,1963,1964,1965,1966,1967,1968,1969}
is a decade: 10 years.

It can be viewed as:
- an interval 1960 to 1969 with a precision of year
- a date with the precision of decade
There is a subtle difference.

The interval 1960-01-01/1969-12-31 is explicitly precise to day.
That any day included in 1960-01-01/1969-12-31 is also included
in 1960/1969 does not always mean that they say the same thing.

We've talked about predicates "approx, questionable etc." and should
the following all be the same:
- {1960,1961,1962,1963,1964,1965,1966,1967,1968,1969}
- the 1960s
- 1960/1969
- 1960-01-01/1969-12-31

then the application of the predicate should say the same thing, right?
Do they? I think not.

We talked earlier about seasons. It too is, I think, not really an interval
but a precision.

The sentence "we've been discussing seasons since around Fall" is similar
but not semantically 



> And Ed replied:
> But it is, in fact, the continuous interval 1960 through 1963 with 
> precision of year.
> 
> A use case I have in mind is "year of publication". You want to 
> record the years a book was published. Say it was published in each 
> of the years 1960, 1961, 1962, and 1963.

If we know that a book was a journal was issued once in each of 1960, 1961,
1962 and 1963 how would we express that in conversation? I would say the
journal was "published annually from 1960 through 1963". If its published
twice a year its "published semi-annually from 1960 through 1963". If its
published at least once but sometimes more often it was "published
multi-annually from 1960 through 1963". If we don't know how often but know
that at least one issue was published in 1960 and 1963 we would probably
simply say "published from 1960 through 1963".
The Phil Silvers TV show ran on the CBS (Columbia Broadcasting Service)
network from 1955 to 1959 for a total of 143 episodes. It aired once a week
except during the Summer TV season pause. Since TV seasons start in the Fall
and end with Summer and a few episodes during the year can often fall aside
due to other special broadcasts one can't talk of "every week" nor "every
month".
Mike Todd appeared on the Phil Silvers as a guest. That show was first aired
2 April 1957. Here was have a precision of day--- if I knew the time slot I
could express its date with the precision of hour or even minute.
The more knowledge I have the more precise I can state the date of the initial
airing of the show--- its publication.
The Milton Berle Show aired on ABC for 1 TV season and was canceled after
only 17 episodes. It ran from Fall 1966 to 6 January 1967.
We can, with sufficient knowledge and want of precision, express the airing
dates: 1966-09-09, 1966-09-16, 1966-09-23, ... , 1967-01-06
If I know that 1 episode was aired in Jan 1967 but did not know the date or
time I would say it was "aired in Jan 1967". That's an implicit precision
of month. Perhaps I don't even know it was only 1 but only that the show ran
from 1966 to 1967. I might even know that it was 17 episodes but not know
when exactly they aired--- it was btw. Fridays at 21:00 (up against the Man
from UNCLE).

> Do you see this as a "continuous interval with precision of year"?   
> I don't, because, for one thing, I'm not really certain what that 
> means. Perhaps you could supply a better use case than "years of 
> publication" to illustrate.

The more we go back in time--- or project into the future--- and the less
predicative knowledge we have the more imprecise, I conjecture, our dates
become. To what precision is the date to which the Great Pyramid of Giza
was completed? One currently estimates it at around 2560 BCE. The reign,
however, of Cheops is, however, unclear. Manetho's Aegyptiaca puts the
reign as 63 years. Most current scholars suggest a much shorter reign.
Is the statement "Cheops reigned from 2589 to 2566 BCE" approximate,
questionable or perhaps less less precise than the sentence "Richard Nixon
was President of the United States from 1969 to 1974".

Knowledge carries its own paradigm of precision: the limits of measurement and 
readability.
 

> We can perhaps find a way to impose a precision indicator, but first 
> I would like us to ascertain that it is both meaningful and 
> required. And I would like to understand a use case or two to back 
> it up.
> 
> --Ray

At the heart of things I also don't want us to confuse dates with intervals.
If I say something occurred in the 1960s I don't want to have to use intervals
just as I don't have to use intervals to talk about 12 Sept 1933 (which is
again saying something different from  1933-09-12T00:00Z/1933-09-12T23:59Z).

I suggest we in generally have the following precisions:
- second
- minute
- hour
- day
- week
- month
- year
- decade
- century

Second, minute and hour we might want to reduce to "time".

There are, of course, other possible precisions such as "Sabbatical" (7 year),
seasonal etc.




--

Edward C. Zimmermann, NONMONOTONIC LAB
Basis Systeme netzwerk, Munich Ges. des buergerl. Rechts
Office Leo (R&D):
  Leopoldstrasse 53-55, D-80802 Munich,
  Federal Republic of Germany
http://www.nonmonotonic.net
Umsatz-St-ID: DE130492967

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