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Review of Conceptual Structures: Information Processing In Mind and Machine

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000128670D
Original Publication Date: 1987-Dec-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Sep-16
Document File: 7 page(s) / 29K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Stephen W. Smoliar: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

The July 1976 issue of the IBM Journal o f Research and Development contained a fascinating article which, at the time of its appearance, seems to have had little impact on the artificial intelligence community (perhaps because of the medium in which it appeared). The article was entitled "Conceptual Graphs for a Data Base Interface;" and the author was John F. Sowa of the IBM Systems Research Institute. The abstract for this paper was brief and to the point: A data base that supports natural language queries is not really natural if it requires the user to know how the data are represented. . This paper defines a formalism, called conceptual graphs, that can describe data according to the user's view and access data according to the system's view. In addition, the graphs can represent functional dependencies in the data base and support inferences and computations that are not explicit in the initial query.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Review of Conceptual Structures: Information Processing In Mind and Machine

Stephen W. Smoliar

1Sl Reprint Series This report is one in a series of reprints of articles and papers written by ISI research staff and published in professional journals and conference proceedings. For a complete list of lSl reports, write to

Document Distribution USC/Information Sciences Institute

4676 Admiralty Way Marina del Rey, CA 90292-6695 USA

Table of Contents

1. Publication: The Scourge of Timeliness 1

2. Contributions 2

2.1. Knowledge Representation 2

2.2. Cognitive Science 4

2.3. Expert Systems 4

2.4. Education 4

2.5. Reading 5

3. Conclusions 5

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1. Publication: The Scourge of Timeliness

The July 1976 issue of the IBM Journal o f Research and Development contained a fascinating article which, at the time of its appearance, seems to have had little impact on the artificial intelligence community (perhaps because of the medium in which it appeared). The article was entitled "Conceptual Graphs for a Data Base Interface;" and the author was John F. Sowa of the IBM Systems Research Institute. The abstract for this paper was brief and to the point: A data base that supports natural language queries is not really natural if it requires the user to know how the data are represented. . This paper defines a formalism, called conceptual graphs, that can describe data according to the user's view and access data according to the system's view. In addition, the graphs can represent functional dependencies in the data base and support inferences and computations that are not explicit in the initial query.

University of Southern California Page 1 Dec 31, 1987

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Review of Conceptual Structures: Information Processing In Mind and Machine

In other words, Sowa had undertaken to use a graph structure to model the underlying semantics of a data base. The objective of this semantic model was to provide a bridge between "what the user wanted to know" and "what the data base could provide." The graph was structured in such a way that its nodes represented "concepts" and its edges were labeled. by "conceptual relations." Sowa's intent was to use these graphs to represent both the concepts modeled by a data base schema and the concepts of interest to a user. He then developed a set of rules for the manipulation of these graphs through which one could transform a user's query, represented as a conceptual graph, into a valid data base query, similarly represented. The example he presented required a modest amount of inferencing and served to illustrate most of the machinery he had discussed.

The paper was a model of scientific publication. It pursued a well-defined course of reasoning in a straightforward manner. The writing style was clean and direct; and the reader who was curious to learn more was informed in a footnote that a book on the subject, entitled Conceptual ,Structures: Information Pr...