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Approaches to measuring inconsistent information

Hunter, A; Konieczny, S; (2004) Approaches to measuring inconsistent information. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) , 3300 LNCS 191 - 236.

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Abstract

Measures of quantity of information have been studied extensively for more than fifty years. The seminal work on information theory is by Shannon [67]. This work, based on probability theory, can be used in a logical setting when the worlds are the possible events. This work is also the basis of Lozinskii's work [48] for defining the quantity of information of a formula (or knowledgebase) in propositional logic. But this definition is not suitable when the knowledgebase is inconsistent. In this case, it has no classical model, so we have no "event" to count. This is a shortcoming since in practical applications (e.g. databases) it often happens that the knowledgebase is not consistent. And it is definitely not true that all inconsistent knowledgebases contain the same (null) amount of information, as given by the "classical information theory". As explored for several years in the paraconsistent logic community, two inconsistent knowledgebases can lead to very different conclusions, showing that they do not convey the same information. There has been some recent interest in this issue, with some interesting proposals. Though a general approach for information theory in (possibly inconsistent) logical knowledgebases is missing. Another related measure is the measure of contradiction. It is usual in classical logic to use a binary measure of contradiction: a knowledgebase is either consistent or inconsistent. This dichotomy is obvious when the only deductive tool is classical inference, since inconsistent knowledgebases are of no use. But there are now a number of logics developed to draw non-trivial conclusions from an inconsistent knowledgebase. So this dichotomy is not sufficient to describe the amount of contradiction of a knowledgebase, one needs more fine-grained measures. Some interesting proposals have been made for this. The main aim of this paper is to review the measures of information and contradiction, and to study some potential practical applications. This has significant potential in developing intelligent systems that can be tolerant to inconsistencies when reasoning with real-world knowledge. © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004.

Type:Article
Title:Approaches to measuring inconsistent information
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Computer Science

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