The Use of Equality in Deduction and Knowledge Representation
Author(s)McAllester, David Allen
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This report describes a system which maintains canonical expressions for designators under a set of equalities. Substitution is used to maintain all knowledge in terms of these canonical expressions. A partial order on designators, termed the better-name relation, is used in the choice of canonical expressions. It is shown that with an appropriate better-name relation an important engineering reasoning technique, propagation of constraints, can be implemented as a special case of this substitution process. Special purpose algebraic simplification procedures are embedded such that they interact effectively with the equality system. An electrical circuit analysis system is developed which relies upon constraint propagation and algebraic simplification as primary reasoning techniques. The reasoning is guided by a better-name relation in which referentially transparent terms are preferred to referentially opaque ones. Multiple description of subcircuits are shown to interact strongly with the reasoning mechanism.