An Introduction to the Syntax and Content of Cyc

AAAI Spring Symposium: Formalizing and Compiling Background Knowledge and Its Applications to Knowledge Representation and Question Answering, pp. 44-49, 2006.

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A primary goal of the Cyc project has been to build a large knowledge base containing a store of formalized background knowledge suitable for a variety of reasoning and problem-solving tasks in a variety of domains

Abstract:

From the beginning, a primary goal of the Cyc project has been to build a large knowledge base containing a store of formalized background knowledge suitable for supporting reasoning in a variety of domains. In this paper, we will discuss the portion of Cyc technology that has been released in open source form as OpenCyc, provide examples...More

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Introduction
  • The Cyc Project and Knowledge Representation

    From the beginning, a primary goal of the Cyc project has been to build a large knowledge base containing a store of formalized background knowledge suitable for a variety of reasoning and problem-solving tasks in a variety of domains.
  • The Cyc project has spent the past twenty years— approximately 900 person-years of effort—building a knowledge base that is intended to capture a broad selection of common-sense background knowledge.
  • This knowledge base, or “KB,” is intended to support unforeseen future knowledge representation and reasoning tasks.
  • Various applications—including CycSecure [Shepard et al 2005], a very early Thesaurus Manager, and Cyc’s Digital Aristotle application [Friedland et al 2004]—have been built using ontologies or slices of ontology from the Cyc KB
Highlights
  • The Cyc Project and Knowledge Representation

    From the beginning, a primary goal of the Cyc project has been to build a large knowledge base containing a store of formalized background knowledge suitable for a variety of reasoning and problem-solving tasks in a variety of domains
  • A primary goal of the Cyc project has been to build a large knowledge base containing a store of formalized background knowledge suitable for a variety of reasoning and problem-solving tasks in a variety of domains
  • The Cyc project has spent the past twenty years— approximately 900 person-years of effort—building a knowledge base that is intended to capture a broad selection of common-sense background knowledge
  • In the course of developing a large common-sense knowledge base, we have developed both an extensive taxonomy of concepts and terms, and a large, selfreflective vocabulary for describing the most common definitional needs we have encountered over time
Conclusion
  • In the course of developing a large common-sense knowledge base, the authors have developed both an extensive taxonomy of concepts and terms, and a large, selfreflective vocabulary for describing the most common definitional needs the authors have encountered over time.
  • In ResearchCyc, the authors have entered information describing a large range of lower-level topics and concepts that have the potential to be relevant as a source of domain and common-sense knowledge in a variety of fields.
  • The authors invite other researchers to make use of the ResearchCyc and OpenCyc platforms to drive knowledge-based efforts in any circumstance where they may prove useful
Summary
  • The Cyc Project and Knowledge Representation

    From the beginning, a primary goal of the Cyc project has been to build a large knowledge base containing a store of formalized background knowledge suitable for a variety of reasoning and problem-solving tasks in a variety of domains.
  • This is a small subset of the total content of Cyc, OpenCyc provides two potentially valuable resources for those interested in developing ontologies and knowledge bases.
  • The predicate genls expresses inheritance among types and structures the ontology, while disjointWith states that two collections do not share any members.
  • In addition to these predicates, which help define concepts in terms of their relation to other CycL terms, a large amount of knowledge in OpenCyc is stored in the predicate comment, the main documentation predicate.
  • The terms mentioned are intended as examples of the taxonomic knowledge available in OpenCyc, which includes a large number of predicates that serve similar roles.
  • Vocabulary exists for restricting arguments to sub-classes, for stating that the result of a functional expression bears some relationship to one of the arguments, or that the arguments of a collection must share some relationship or properties.
  • Another feature of the OpenCyc ontology is a large number of functions that allow for the compositional expression of new concepts.
  • Some examples of the existing knowledge available from the OpenCyc and ResearchCyc ontologies can help to provide an idea what kinds of information have gone into
  • Upper Ontology Examples: Event and Situation inferred knowledge (genls (BecomingFn Intoxicated) Event) For every instance of the collection VictimUnfortunatePerson, there exists an Event in which that person was the victim—i.e., an event for which these statements hold:)
  • While there is much more to say about this event—such as its historical relevance and symbolic meaning3, the definition of the conceptual work, and the historical framework of the event—the example gives some idea how the structural ontology present in the Cyc KB can be leveraged effectively in novel representations.
  • Obtaining and representing sufficient background knowledge to allow efficient representation of problemspecific domain knowledge is an issue facing researchers working in essentially all knowledge-based fields, including KR&R, question answering, and knowledge management.
  • In the course of developing a large common-sense knowledge base, we have developed both an extensive taxonomy of concepts and terms, and a large, selfreflective vocabulary for describing the most common definitional needs we have encountered over time.
  • In ResearchCyc, we have entered information describing a large range of lower-level topics and concepts that have the potential to be relevant as a source of domain and common-sense knowledge in a variety of fields.
  • We invite other researchers to make use of the ResearchCyc and OpenCyc platforms to drive knowledge-based efforts in any circumstance where they may prove useful
Funding
  • The definitional vocabulary used to express the taxonomic information in OpenCyc reflects many of the expression needs and issues encountered over the course of building the Cyc KB
  • The increases in expressivity reflect practical experience with knowledge representation and the needs of ontological engineers. These higher order features allow for such things as the introduction of ‘rule macro predicates’, which allow for compact expressions of relationships that would otherwise require rules
  • The terms mentioned are intended as examples of the taxonomic knowledge available in OpenCyc, which includes a large number of predicates that serve similar roles
  • Since one purpose of the Cyc ontology is to enable the usage of knowledge across domains, the ontology includes a wide range of categories
Study subjects and analysis
university students: 40
(relationInstanceExistsMin BurningOfPapalBull attendees UniversityStudent 40). At least forty university students attended the event. RelationInstanceExistsMin is a rule macro predicate

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