Brachman, R. J.

SIGART Newsletter 70 (special issue on knowledge representation)


"In the fall of 1978 we decided to produce a special issue of the SIGART Newsletter devoted to a survey of current knowledge representation research. We felt that there were twe useful functions such an issue could serve. First, we hoped to elicit a clear picture of how people working in this subdiscipline understand knowledge representation research, to illuminate the issues on which current research is focused, and to catalogue what approaches and techniques are currently being developed. Second -- and this is why we envisaged the issue as a survey of many different groups and projects -- we wanted to provide a document that would enable the reader to acquire at least an approximate sense of how each of the many different research endeavours around the world fit into the field as a whole.It would of course be impossible to produce a final or definitive document accomplishing these goals: rather, we hoped that this survey could initiate a continuing dialogue on issues in representation, a project for which this newsletter seems the ideal forum. It has been many months since our original decision was made, but we are finally able to present the results of that survey. Perhaps more than anything else, it has emerged as a testament to an astounding range and variety of opinions held by many different people in many different places.The following few pages are intended as an introduction to the survey as a whole, and to this issue of the newsletter. We will briefly summarize the form that the survey took, discuss the strategies we followed in analyzing and tabulating responses, briefly review the overall sense we received from the answers that were submitted, and discuss various criticisms which were submitted along with the responses. The remainder of the volume has been designed to be roughly self-explanatory at each point, so that one may dip into it at different places at will. Certain conventions, however, particularly regarding indexing and tabulating, will also be explained in the remainder of this introduction."ACM SIGART Newsletter No. 70