The derivation of new facts from known facts and inference rules. This is one of the fundamental operations of artificial intelligence and logic programming languages like Prolog.
Inference is a basic part of human reasoning. For example given that all men are mortal and that Socrates is a man, it is a trivial step to infer that Socrates is mortal. We might express these symbolically:
man(X) => mortal(X). man(socrates).
(“if X is a man then X is mortal” and “Socrates is a man”). Here, “man”, “mortal” and “socrates” are just arbitrary symbols which the computer manipulates without reference to or knowledge of their external meaning. A forward chaining system (a production system) could use these to infer the new fact
simply by matching the left-hand-side of the implication against the fact and substituting socrates for the variable X.
noun, Sociology. 1. a theory that human interaction and communication is facilitated by words, gestures, and other symbols that have acquired conventionalized meanings.
noun 1. a specialized language dependent upon the use of symbols for communication and created for the purpose of achieving greater exactitude, as in symbolic logic or mathematics.
- Symbolic link
file format (SYLK) A Microsoft file format for spreadsheets, (not to be confused with symbolic link). SYLK format existed in one form or another in as early as 1987, and was part of Excel v1.0. It is is an outgrowth of VisiCalc DIF file format. SYLK format is ascii text and represents information about both […]
noun 1. a modern development of formal logic employing a special notation or symbolism capable of manipulation in accordance with precise rules. symbolic logic noun 1. another term for formal logic