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the word "reasoning"

From: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Date: Sat, 01 Oct 2011 13:15:43 -0400
To: Richard Cyganiak <richard@cyganiak.de>
Cc: Pierre-Antoine Champin <pierre-antoine.champin@liris.cnrs.fr>, "public-rdf-wg@w3.org" <public-rdf-wg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <1317489343.5766.172.camel@waldron>
On Sat, 2011-10-01 at 12:43 +0100, Richard Cyganiak wrote:

> (Sandro, you use the word “reasoning” a lot and I never know what you 
> mean. Can you point me to a W3C definition, or provide your own?)

As I understand it, (automated) reasoning is the use of logic
algorithms.   It's roughly synonymous with "inference", where (for RDF)
an algorithm takes some triples as input and derives some additional
triples that are (if the algorithm is sound) entailed by original ones.
More loosely, you tell the computer some true things about the world and
it uses some clever (but well-studied) code to figure out other things
that, logically, must also be true about the world.   There's also
uncertainty reasoning where you don't learn things that must be true,
but are likely to be true.

I can't find a documented distinction between "automated reasoning" and
"inference", but in conversations in the RIF and OWL WGs, I picked up
the sense that "reasoning" is a broader term, including the use of some
algorithms that don't count as inference.  Or, perhaps there's some
social reason to prefer the word "reasoning".   Pat?  Peter?

FWIW, the conformance sections of OWL and RIF specs define things like
entailment checkers and consistency checkers, which are reasoners, but I
don't think they use that word.  See, for instance:
http://www.w3.org/TR/owl2-conformance/#Entailment_Checker

    -- Sandro
Received on Saturday, 1 October 2011 19:48:34 GMT

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