Commercial Intelligence Rotating Header Image

Posts under ‘Formal Logic’

Dictionary Knowledge Acquisition

The following is motivated by Section 6359 of the California Sales and Use Tax.  It demonstrates how knowledge can be acquired from dictionary definitions: Here, we’ve taken a definition from WordNet and prefixed it with the word followed by a colon and parsed it using the Linguist.

Properly disambiguating a sentence using the Linguist™

Consider the following disambiguation result from a user of Automata’s Linguist™.

Smart Machines And What They Can Still Learn From People – Gary Marcus

This is a must-watch video from the Allen Institute for AI for anyone seriously interested in artificial intelligence.  It’s 70 minutes long, but worth it.  Some of the highlights from my perspective are: 27:27 where the key reason that deep learning approaches fail at understanding language are discussed 31:30 where the inability of inductive approaches [...]

Requirements for Logical Reasoning

Here is a graphic on how various reasoning technologies fit the practical requirements for reasoning discussed below: This proved surprisingly controversial during correspondence with colleagues from the Vulcan work on SILK and its evolution at The requirements that motivated this were the following:

Higher Education on a Flatter Earth

We’re collaborating on some educational work and came across this sentence in a textbook on finance and accounting: All of these are potentially good economic decisions. We use statistical NLP but assist with the ambiguities.  In doing this, we relate questions and answers and explanations to the text. We also extract the terminology and produce [...]

Helping people find clinical trials for which they are eligible

We are collaborating in the acquisition of knowledge concerning clinical trials.  Initially, we are looking at trials related to pancreatic cancer, such as A Study Using 18F-FAZA and PET Scans to Study Hypoxia in Pancreatic Cancer. At, each trial is rendered as HTML for browsing from underlying XML files which can be downloaded.  Although [...]

Neat vs. Scruffy and Watson

Recently, John Sowa has commented on LinkedIn or in correspondence with some of us at Coherent Knowledge Systems on the old adage due to Shanks concerning the Neats. vs. the Scruffies.  The Neats want nice formal logics as the basis of artificial intelligence.  This includes anyone who prefers classical logic (e.g., Common Logic, RIF-BLD, or [...]

Confessions of a production rule vendor (part 1)

If you are using one of the more popular rules engines, chances are you can blame me.  I popularized the technology of forward-chaining production rules based on the Rete Algorithm.  Others have certainly contributed; my path is the one that led to open-source implementations and many commercial products, including those of IBM, Oracle, SAP, TIBCO, [...]

Deep question answering: Watson vs. Aristotle

At the SemTech conference last week, a few companies asked me how to respond to IBM’s Watson given my involvement with rapid knowledge acquisition for deep question answering at Vulcan.  My answer varies with whether there is any subject matter focus, but essentially involves extending their approach with deeper knowledge and more emphasis on logical [...]

Financial industry to define standards using defeasible logic and semantic web technologies

Last week, I attended the FIBO (Financial Business Industry Ontology) Technology Summit along with 60 others. The effort is building an ontology of fundamental concepts in the financial services. As part of the effort, there is surprisingly clear understanding that for the resulting representation to be useful, there is a need for logical and rule-based [...]