The Penman Upper Model

The upper model is a linguistically motivated ontology developed at the Information Sciences Institute in the late 1980s for mediating between domain knowledge and a natural language generation system. A paper describing how this works in more detail is available here; essentially, a concept is included in the upper model if it has specifiable consequences for the grammatical constructions that can be used to express it.
The 1989 Upper model (UM89) is documented in detail in:
John Bateman, Robert Kasper, Johanna Moore and Richard Whitney (1989) A general organization of knowledge for natural language processing: The Penman Upper Model. Technical Report. Information Sciences Institute. Marina del Rey, California. [scanned pdf of 1990 version]
The Penman upper model was one early source of input to the higher levels of organization of some current large-scale general ontologies, such as Pangloss. It is still used in a slightly modified form by several grammars available for the KPML natural language generation system. The upper model provides the semantic types and relations that may be used in the SPL input expressions accepted by the generator. There is also a multilingual extension of the upper model, called the Generalized Upper Model, which is being developed further.
The definition of the presently used version of the upper model (the 'merged upper model' of 1994) is available in the Loom knowledge representation language here (zipped loom file).


The Root of the UM89 Hierarchy

( the nodes underlined below can be clicked to reach
further subnetworks: this is a temporary solution)


General root of the relations subhierarchy..... Processes of 'mental processing'... The quality subhierarchy... The basic event type semantic subhierarchy... Processes of 'doing'... These kinds of objects cannot be broken up into parts... Subhierarchy for non-conscious entitities... Object subhierarchy