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Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Artificial Intelligence) [Hardcover]

Ronald J. Brachman , Hector J. Levesque
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

17 Jun 2004 1558609326 978-1558609327
Knowledge representation is at the very core of a radical idea for understanding intelligence. Instead of trying to understand or build brains from the bottom up, its goal is to understand and build intelligent behavior from the top down, putting the focus on what an agent needs to know in order to behave intelligently, how this knowledge can be represented symbolically, and how automated reasoning procedures can make this knowledge available as needed. This landmark text takes the central concepts of knowledge representation developed over the last 50 years and illustrates them in a lucid and compelling way. Each of the various styles of representation is presented in a simple and intuitive form, and the basics of reasoning with that representation are explained in detail. This approach gives readers a solid foundation for understanding the more advanced work found in the research literature. The presentation is clear enough to be accessible to a broad audience, including researchers and practitioners in database management, information retrieval, and object-oriented systems as well as artificial intelligence. This book provides the foundation in knowledge representation and reasoning that every AI practitioner needs. The authors are well-recognized experts in the field who have applied the techniques to real-world problems. The book presents the core ideas of KR&R in a simple straight forward approach, independent of the quirks of research systems, and offers the first true synthesis of the field in over a decade.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 381 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers In (17 Jun 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558609326
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558609327
  • Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 19.3 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 700,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"This book clearly and concisely distills decades of work in AI on representing information in an efficient and general manner. The information is valuable not only for AI researchers, but also for people working on logical databases, XML, and the semantic web: read this book, and avoid reinventing the wheel!" Henry Kautz, University of Washington "Brachman and Levesque describe better than I have seen elsewhere, the range of formalisms between full first order logic at its most expressive and formalisms that compromise expressiveness for computation speed. Theirs are the most even-handed explanations I have seen." John McCarthy, Stanford "This textbook makes teaching my KR course much easier. It provides a solid foundation and starting point for further studies. While it does not (and cannot) cover all the topics that I tackle in an advanced course on KR, it provides the basics and the background assumptions behind KR research. Together with current research literature, it is the perfect choice for a graduate KR course." Bernhard Nebel, University of Freiburg "This is a superb, clearly written, comprehensive overview of nearly all the major issues, ideas, and techniques of this important branch of artificial intelligence, written by two of the masters of the field. The examples are well chosen, and the explanations are illuminating. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to review and praise a book that has sorely been needed by the KRR community." Bill Rapaport, University at Buffalo "A concise and lucid exposition of the major topics in knowledge representation, from two of the leading authorities in the field. It provides a thorough grounding, a wide variety of useful examples and exercises, and some thought-provoking new ideas for the expert reader." Stuart Russell, UC Berkeley "Brachman and Levesque have laid much of the foundations of the field of knowledge representation and reasoning. This textbook provides a lucid and comprehensive introduction to the field. It is written with the same clarity and gift for exposition as their many research publications. The text will become an invaluable resource for students and researchers alike." Bart Selman, Cornell University "KR&R is known as "core AI" for a reason -- it embodies some of the most basic conceptualizations and technical approaches in the field. And no researchers are more qualified to provide an in-depth introduction to the area than Brachman and Levesque, who have been at the forefront of KR&R for two decades. The book is clearly written, and is intelligently comprehensive. This is the definitive book on KR&R, and it is long overdue." Yoav Shoham, Stanford University

About the Author

By Dr. Ronald Brachman and Hector Levesque

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Intelligence, as exhibited by people anyway, is surely one of the most complex and mysterious phenomena that we are aware of. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book 4 Dec 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The KRR is a great book. It explains the concepts in a thorough and understandable matter that makes the concepts clear for people with a small amount of experience in discrete math.

As a TA in a KRR undergrad course my experience were that the exercises can be quite obfuscating. They force the student to reason about the subject-matter at a higher level then the text demands. They uncovers interesting points, but not for a student trying to dive in for the first time having their hands full with the basic methods and terminology. So just to be clear, it is not bad in itself that the exercises are demanding, but this means that not all parts of the book are accessible to a broad audience.

tl;dr ...
I like the book, and it is a great read, but the exercises fits more advanced readers better then starting learners.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book about Knowledge Representation 4 Jan 2013
By salaboy
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Amazing book about Knowledge Representation, this book guides you throw all the ways of representing knowledge and the theory behind that.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is an Eye-Opener! 24 Nov 2004
By Conrad Barski - Published on
I love this book- It is a comprehensive introduction into knowledge representation, with enough detail to create your own knowledge representation programs.

Are you a programmer who wonders what it really means when an object *IS* another object, in the form of inheritance found in object-oriented systems? Ever confused by the nuances of multiple inheritance? Ever wonder what XML or OOP or Relational Databases have to do with each other? Ever wonder if all those A.I. programmers in the 70s actually created anything useful? Ever wonder how type systems work? Ever wonder how to store complicated and vague data into a database?

This book doesn't really have answers to these questions (nobody really does, in my opinion) but learning the information in this book is the first step you'll want to take to get closer to some answers...

It basically covers 3 main topics: FOL (traditional logic like you probably learned in college) Frames (sort of the grandaddy of OOP) and Description Logics (a really powerful synthesis of object-thinking with strict logical fundamentals)

This book has a bit of hairy mathematical notation in it, so if your not comfortable talking about things like "an object x that is an element in the domain" some of the chapters will require a bit of effort on your part. The authors are careful, however, to follow every difficult mathematical analysis with some concrete examples that ease the learning process- I often wish examples were more frequent in other theoretical tombs like this. Any computer programmer can process this text with a bit of moderate effort.

I couldn't imagine being a professional programmer and not knowing the information in this book now that I have read it. Although the topics in this book are somewhat obscure today, I think they will receive far greater appreciation in the future- especially among medical software developers. Here's your chance to be ahead of the curve in the field of knowledge representation!
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't have to be a math buff to understand 24 Jun 2005
By Scott P. Stewart - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I came across this book looking for a text that would explain the context of First Order Logic, why it is used for so many knowledge representation problems, how it is used to solve them, and its limitations. I must say that this is far and away the best book I've found to answer these questions. If you search around a little at the competition, you will find much of the text quickly turning to mathematical proofs and deductions in their explanations. While this is of course necessary and helpful, it doesn't (for me) really give an idea of how and why these methods are used practically. You can tell that these authors spent some time on ensuring consistency and fluency of the writing, which I find so very helpful.

I'm trying to think of something bad to say about it: I wish it were longer! If you read the preface you will see the authors call it an introduction, which is definitely true. Maybe they will team up again for a more in-depth text on some aspect of this subject.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok, but not enlightening 2 Jan 2010
By Un francais en angleterre - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I own an old edition of the classic Russell and Norvig (R&N) which I read 10 years ago and did not feel like going through the huge new 2009 edition to learn about current topics, so I went looking for something a bit more recent with a focus on knowledge representation, and came up with this book. I have to say unfortunately that while not a bad book, it does not cover much more than the old R&N (side note on this: R&N is very comprehensive and covers the full AI spectrum. This book seems biased toward one particular school of AI. This may or may not be bad for you: if you're not interested in the additional material in R&N, such as neural nets, you're possibly better off with this book. I doubt there are many of you in this case though) and tends to be less pedagogical. It is also more uneven regarding the depth at which topics are covered, with a fairly strong bias toward the topics where the authors appear to be active researcher. Such a bias would be ok for a more advanced textbook, but we're talking about a fairly introductory text here, and it feels a bit unbalanced. I cannot therefore recommend it highly, but I am not highly critical either, as I still managed to learn a couple of things. Below are detailed notes, which I hope might be of interest to outline the stronger points. As a side note, this is a very theoretical book, with no direct programming application or exercises. This did not bother may, but may not be clear from the other reviews.

The introduction sets the scene well and provides a useful conceptual background. How the following chapters are articulated against the principles discussed in the introduction is not always straightforwardly clear though. In that sense, the authors may fall a bit short of their overall goal.

The second chapter (the language of first order logic) is unlikely to be big news for anybody schooled in undergraduate mathematics, but I understand the material must be included for the sake of completeness and autonomy. The third chapter is entitled "expressing knowledge" and in my view does not really do justice to the topic, as demonstrated by the matter covered in the afterthought section "other sorts of facts": these "other facts" include statistical and probabilistic facts, default and prototypical facts, intentional facts (beliefs etc...). The book deals with some of these later to be fair.

At this point in the book, all that has been achieved is to show how one can use first order logic (FOL) to deal logically with some problems that a six years old can probably solve without the need for the framework. Chapter 4 shows that it is possible to teach FOL to a computer and to have him assess the truth of a statement formulated in FOL given a number of others FOL statements. The algorithm is not completely trivial but not overly complex either. Unfortunately, the time taken to deal with such tasks is potentially very large for problems not amazingly complex if one allows FOL statements of arbitrary structured. Chapter 5 is dedicated to the exploration of Horn clauses, which are basically a type of FOL statement for which algorithms are available that converge faster. This motivates the need to embed some hints on how to reason with a given problem within computer languages. Chapters 6 and 7 explore this respectively in the context of PROLOG and of the so-called "production rules systems". As one gets familiar with the above approaches, a number of limitations become clear and the subsequent chapters are about moving away somewhat from FOL. Chapter 8 introduces object oriented representation, using a formalism a bit on the heavy side for a concept that's actually fairly clear. Give or take a few examples, a reader of R&N is on familiar ground up to this point in the book. The next chapters, respectively on description logics and inheritance cover material that was less familiar to me and might be a reason to dig into this book. It shows a couple of neat ideas (taxonomies, inheritance networks) and how reasoning with such data structures can be difficult when one encounters contradictions. This motivates the need to clarify the concept of "default", which is done in chapter 11, another good chapter in my view. Chapter 12 includes an introduction to probabilities that probably ranks with chapter 2 as something most readers don't really need. It also covers fairly superficially bayesian networks, influence diagrams and the Dempster Shafer theory. In all honesty given the brisk pace at which this is all done, I don't think it's really possible to get much out of what's covered here.

The concepts in the next chapter (Explanation and Diagnostic) were newer to me. While not straigthforward to implement, it seems the core approach of the authors is here at an advantage over other more opaque techniques.

The next two chapters ("Actions" and "Planning") deal with topics that are closer to the preoccupation of standard AI. As they're both good topics to motivate the AI endeavour, introducing them earlier might have made more sense.

The last chapter is about "the tradeoff between expressiveness and tractability". The authors look back at the big picture that had been evoked during the introduction, but which had to some extent taken the back seat during most of the time. Fairly uncontroversially, they point out that being able to deal with very expressive languages is desirable, but typically fraught with tractability issues. One senses that the

PS: I bought the Kindle edition of the book, and as unfortunately too frequent, it suffers from some navigational issues: the table of content does not link correctly to the materials referenced (links are off by a few pages) and citations are not hyperlinked, which makes it less than user-friendly to determine what book or article stands behind the reference [137]. This is something the publishers really ought to sort out, as I cannot think of any good justification for such sloppiness.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Kind of Cryptic 14 Feb 2012
By Tim Barthel - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The authors present symbols without saying what they mean or how to read them. I had similar material in a previous class and it was much easier to understand simply due to writing style.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complete knowledge representation book 16 May 2009
By Gabriele - Published on
This book easily introduce the most important knowledge representation techniques, with a clear style and lots of examples. It is complete yet not disorganized. A must for everyone who wants to become a knowledge engineer.
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