Section: Scientific Foundations

Graph-based Knowledge Representation and Reasoning

Besides logical foundations, we are interested in KRR formalisms that comply, or aim at complying with the following requirements: to have good computational properties and to allow users of knowledge-based systems to have a maximal understanding and control over each step of the knowledge base building process and use.

These two requirements are the core motivations for our specific approach to KRR, which is based on labelled graphs. Indeed, we view labelled graphs as an abstract representation of knowledge that can be expressed in many KRR languages (different kinds of conceptual graphs —historically our main focus—, the Semantic Web language RDF (Resource Description Framework), its extension RDFS (RDF Schema) expressive rules equivalent to the so-called tuple-generating-dependencies in databases, some description logics dedicated to query answering, etc.). For these languages, reasoning can be based on the structure of objects, thus based on graph-theoretic notions, while staying logically founded.

More precisely, our basic objects are labelled graphs (or hypergraphs) representing entities and relationships between these entities. These graphs have a natural translation in first-order logic. Our basic reasoning tool is graph homomorphism. The fundamental property is that graph homomorphism is sound and complete with respect to logical entailment i.e. given two (labelled) graphs G and H, there is a homomorphism from G to H if and only if the formula assigned to G is entailed by the formula assigned to H. In other words, logical reasonings on these graphs can be performed by graph mechanisms. These knowledge constructs and the associated reasoning mechanisms can be extended (to represent rules for instance) while keeping this fundamental correspondence between graphs and logics.