Semantically Sound Inheritance for a Formally Defined Frame Language with Defaults

Robert Nado, Richard Fikes

Most frame languages either are glaringly deficient in their treatment of default information or do not represent it at all. This paper presents a formal description of a frame language that provides semantically sound facilities for representing default information and an efficient serial algorithm for inheriting default information down class-subclass and class-member hierarchies constructed in that language. We present the inheritance algorithm in two forms. In the first form, the algorithm provides justifications to a TMS, which then manages the inherited information. In the second form, the algorithm performs its own, special-purpose truth maintenance and therefore is useable in a system that does not, include a general-purpose TMS.

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