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Unifying Class-Based Representation Formalisms

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The notion of class is ubiquitous in computer science and is central in many formalisms for the representation of structured knowledge used both in knowledge representation and in databases. In this paper we study the basic issues underlying such representation formalisms and single out both their common characteristics and their distinguishing features. Such investigation leads us to propose a unifying framework in which we are able to capture the fundamental aspects of several representation languages used in different contexts. The proposed formalism is expressed in the style of description logics, which have been introduced in knowledge representation as a means to provide a semantically well-founded basis for the structural aspects of knowledge representation systems. The description logic considered in this paper is a subset of first order logic with nice computational characteristics. It is quite expressive and features a novel combination of constructs that has not been studied before. The distinguishing constructs are number restrictions, which generalize existence and functional dependencies, inverse roles, which allow one to refer to the inverse of a relationship, and possibly cyclic assertions, which are necessary for capturing real world domains. We are able to show that it is precisely such combination of constructs that makes our logic powerful enough to model the essential set of features for defining class structures that are common to frame systems, object-oriented database languages, and semantic data models. As a consequence of the established correspondences, several significant extensions of each of the above formalisms become available. The high expressiveness of the logic we propose and the need for capturing the reasoning in different contexts forces us to distinguish between unrestricted and finite model reasoning. A notable feature of our proposal is that reasoning in both cases is decidable. We argue that, by virtue of the high expressive power and of the associated reasoning capabilities on both unrestricted and finite models, our logic provides a common core for class-based representation formalisms.


Unifying Class-Based Representation Formalisms

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

The notion of class is ubiquitous in computer science and is central in many formalisms for the representation of structured knowledge used both in knowledge representation and in databases. In this paper we study the basic issues underlying such representation formalisms and single out both their common characteristics and their distinguishing features. Such investigation leads us to propose a unifying framework in which we are able to capture the fundamental aspects of several representation languages used in different contexts. The proposed formalism is expressed in the style of description logics, which have been introduced in knowledge representation as a means to provide a semantically well-founded basis for the structural aspects of knowledge representation systems. The description logic considered in this paper is a subset of first order logic with nice computational characteristics. It is quite expressive and features a novel combination of constructs that has not been studied before. The distinguishing constructs are number restrictions, which generalize existence and functional dependencies, inverse roles, which allow one to refer to the inverse of a relationship, and possibly cyclic assertions, which are necessary for capturing real world domains. We are able to show that it is precisely such combination of constructs that makes our logic powerful enough to model the essential set of features for defining class structures that are common to frame systems, object-oriented database languages, and semantic data models. As a consequence of the established correspondences, several significant extensions of each of the above formalisms become available. The high expressiveness of the logic we propose and the need for capturing the reasoning in different contexts forces us to distinguish between unrestricted and finite model reasoning. A notable feature of our proposal is that reasoning in both cases is decidable. We argue that, by virtue of the high expressive power and of the associated reasoning capabilities on both unrestricted and finite models, our logic provides a common core for class-based representation formalisms.


The Divide-and-Conquer Subgoal-Ordering Algorithm for Speeding up Logic Inference

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

It is common to view programs as a combination of logic and control: the logic part defines what the program must do, the control part -- how to do it. The Logic Programming paradigm was developed with the intention of separating the logic from the control. Recently, extensive research has been conducted on automatic generation of control for logic programs. Only a few of these works considered the issue of automatic generation of control for improving the efficiency of logic programs. In this paper we present a novel algorithm for automatic finding of lowest-cost subgoal orderings. The algorithm works using the divide-and-conquer strategy. The given set of subgoals is partitioned into smaller sets, based on co-occurrence of free variables. The subsets are ordered recursively and merged, yielding a provably optimal order. We experimentally demonstrate the utility of the algorithm by testing it in several domains, and discuss the possibilities of its cooperation with other existing methods.


Propositional Independence - Formula-Variable Independence and Forgetting

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Independence -- the study of what is relevant to a given problem of reasoning -- has received an increasing attention from the AI community. In this paper, we consider two basic forms of independence, namely, a syntactic one and a semantic one. We show features and drawbacks of them. In particular, while the syntactic form of independence is computationally easy to check, there are cases in which things that intuitively are not relevant are not recognized as such. We also consider the problem of forgetting, i.e., distilling from a knowledge base only the part that is relevant to the set of queries constructed from a subset of the alphabet. While such process is computationally hard, it allows for a simplification of subsequent reasoning, and can thus be viewed as a form of compilation: once the relevant part of a knowledge base has been extracted, all reasoning tasks to be performed can be simplified.


New Polynomial Classes for Logic-Based Abduction

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

We address the problem of propositional logic-based abduction, i.e., the problem of searching for a best explanation for a given propositional observation according to a given propositional knowledge base. We give a general algorithm, based on the notion of projection; then we study restrictions over the representations of the knowledge base and of the query, and find new polynomial classes of abduction problems.