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Abduction in semantic space: towards a logic of discovery.

Bruza, Peter; Song, Dawei; McArthur, Robert


Peter Bruza

Dawei Song

Robert McArthur


Diminishing awareness is a consequence of the information explosion: disciplines are becoming increasingly specialized; individuals are becoming ever more insular. This paper considers how awareness can be enhanced via abductive knowledge discovery the goal of which is to produce suggestions which can span disparate islands of knowledge. Knowledge representation is motivated from a cognitive perspective. Words and concepts are represented as vectors in a high dimensional semantic space automatically derived from a text corpus. Information flow computation between vectors is proposed as a means of suggesting potentially interesting implicit associations between concepts. Information flow is applied to computational scientific discovery by attempting to simulate Swanson's Raynaud-fish oil discovery in medical texts. Both automatic and semi-automatic attempts were studied and compared against suggestions computed via semantic association. Even though this work is preliminary and speculative in nature, there is some justification to believe that appropriate suggestions (hypotheses) can be "abduced" from semantic space.


BRUZA, P., SONG, D. and MCARTHUR, R. 2004. Abduction in semantic space: towards a logic of discovery. Logic journal of the IGPL [online], 12(2), pages 97-109. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 31, 2004
Online Publication Date Mar 31, 2004
Publication Date Mar 31, 2004
Deposit Date Mar 13, 2009
Publicly Available Date Mar 13, 2009
Journal Logic journal of the IGPL
Print ISSN 1367-0751
Electronic ISSN 1368-9894
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 2
Pages 97-109
Keywords Abduction; Knowledge discovery; Scientific discovery
Public URL


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