For those who are interested: (01)
(a) in this specific topic (02)
(b) in getting informed (and be subscribed to the relevant
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ICSI is pleased to present the following talk: (01)
Computation with Information Described in Natural Language? The Concept of
GeneralizedConstraintBased Computation (02)
Presented by Professor Lotfi A. Zadeh, UC Berkeley EECS and the Berkeley
Initiative in Soft Computing (BISC) (03)
Thursday, October 20, 2005
4:00 p.m.
ICSI Main Lecture Hall
1947 Center Street, Suite 600
Berkeley, CA (04)
Abstract: (05)
What is computation with information described in natural language? Here
are simple examples. I am planning to drive from Berkeley to Santa
Barbara, with stopover for lunch in Monterey. It is about 10 am. It will
probably take me about two hours to get to Monterey and about an hour to
have lunch. From Monterey, it will probably take me about five hours to
get to Santa Barbara. What is the probability that I will arrive in Santa
Barbara before about six pm? Another simple example: A box contains about
twenty balls of various sizes. Most are large. What is the number of small
balls? What is the probability that a ball drawn at random is neither
small nor large? Another example: A function, f, from reals to reals is
described as: If X is small then Y is small; if X is medium then Y is
large; if X is large then Y is small. What is the maximum of f? (06)
Computation with information described in natural language, or
NLcomputation for short, is a problem of intrinsic importance because
much of human knowledge is described in natural language. It is safe to
predict that as we move further into the age of machine intelligence and
mechanized decisionmaking, NLcomputation will grow in visibility and
importance. (07)
Computation with information described in natural language cannot be dealt
with through the use of machinery of natural language processing. The
problem is semantic imprecision of natural languages. More specifically, a
natural language is basically a system for describing perceptions.
Perceptions are intrinsically imprecise, reflecting the bounded ability of
sensory organs, and ultimately the brain, to resolve detail and store
information. Semantic imprecision of natural languages is a concomitant of
imprecision of perceptions. (08)
Our approach to NLcomputation centers on what is referred to as
generalizedconstraintbased computation, or GCcomputation for short. A
generalized constraint is expressed as X isr R, where X is the constrained
variable, R is a constraining relation and r is an indexical variable
which defines the way in which R constrains X. The principal constraints
are possibilistic, veristic, probabilistic, usuality, random set, fuzzy
graph and group. Generalized constraints may be combined, qualified,
propagated, and counter propagated, generating what is called the
Generalized Constraint Language, GCL. The key underlying idea is that
information conveyed by a proposition may be represented as a generalized
constraint, that is, as an element of GCL. (09)
In our approach, NLcomputation involves two modules: (a) Precisiation
module; and (b) Computation module. The meaning of an element of a natural
language, NL, is precisiated through translation into GCL and is expressed
as a generalized constraint. An object of precisiation, p, is referred to
as precisiend, and the result of precisiation, p*, is called a precisiand.
Usually, a precisiend is a proposition or a concept. A precisiend may have
many precisiands. Definition is a form of precisiation. A precisiand may
be viewed as a model of meaning. The degree to which the intension
(attributebased meaning) of p* approximates to that of p is referred to
as cointension. A precisiand, p*, is cointensive if its cointension with p
is high, that is, if p* is a good model of meaning of p. (010)
The Computation module serves to deduce an answer to a query, q. The first
step is precisiation of q, with precisiated query, q*, expressed as a
function of n variables u1, ...,un. The second step involves precisiation
of queryrelevant information, leading to a precisiand which is expressed
as a generalized constraint on u1, ..., un. The third step involves an
application of the extension principle, which has the effect of
propagating the generalized constraint on u1, ...,un to a generalized
constraint on the precisiated query, q*. Finally, the constrained q* is
interpreted as the answer to the query and is retranslated into natural
language. (011)
The generalizedconstraintbased computation approach to NLcomputation
opens the door to a wideranging enlargement of the role of natural
languages in scientific theories. Particularly important application areas
are decisionmaking with information described in natural language,
economics, risk assessment, qualitative systems analysis, search,
questionanswering and theories of evidence. (012)
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