John F. Sowa

Artificial intelligence researcher

John Florian Sowa (born 1940) is an American computer scientist, expert in artificial intelligence and computer design, who invented conceptual graphs.



Among the formal graphical methods are Frege's (1879) Begriffsschrift, Peirce's (1909) existential graphs, and Sowa's (1984) conceptual graphs.
Jeffrey A. Schiffel (2008)
  • Taxonomy is a Greek word which means an arrangement based on any kind of law or principle.
    • Sowa (1992) cited in: Raad Al-Asady (1995) Inheritance Theory: An Artificial Intelligence Approach. p. 17
  • The word ontology comes from the Greek ontos for being and logos for word. It is a relatively new term in the long history of philosophy, introduced by the 19th century German philosophers to distinguish the study of being as such from the study of various kinds of beings in the natural sciences. The traditional term for the types of beings is Aristotle's word category, which he used for classifying anything that can be said or predicated about anything.
  • Soon, the enterprise of the information age will find itself immobilized if it does not have the ability to tap the information resources within and without its boundaries.
    • Zachman & Sowa (1992, p. 613), cited in: Nik Bessis, Fatos Xhafa (2011) Next Generation Data Technologies for Collective Computational Intelligence. p. 84

Conceptual Structures, 1984Edit

John F. Sowa (1984) Conceptual Structures - Information Processing in Mind and Machine. The Systems Programming Series, Addison-Wesley

  • A conceptual graph is a finite connected bipartite graph which consists of concepts and conceptual relations. Every conceptual relation has one or more arcs, each of which is linked to a concept. We define a multilevel conceptual graph to be a conceptual graph in which some of the concepts and conceptual relations arc sensitive.
    • p. 73 cited in: National Computer Security Conference Proceedings, 1992. DIANE Publishing Company. p. 320
  • We define a semantic network as "the collection of all the relationships that concepts have to other concepts, to percepts, to procedures, and to motor mechanisms" of the knowledge".
    • p. 76 as cited in: Jacques Demongeot (1988) Artificial intelligence and cognitive sciences. p. 179
  • To distinguish the meaningful graphs that represent real or possible situations in the external world, certain graphs are declared to be canonical.
    • p. 91. cited in: C.J. van Rijsbergen, F. Crestani, M. Lalmas (1998) Information Retrieval: Uncertainty and Logics. p. 59
  • An analysis of the concept of mind is an important philosophical issue, but the analysis cannot be reduced to programming of physiological terms... [It remarks the importance of the question] the way people think and the way computers can simulate thinking.
    • p. 359 cited in: Rajiv Kishore, Ram Ramesh (2006) Ontologies: A Handbook of Principles, Concepts and Applications in Information Systems. p. 300

Conceptual graphs for knowledge representation, 1993Edit

  • Conceptual graphs are system of logic based on the existential graphs of Charles Sanders Peirce and the semantic networks of artificial intelligence. The purpose of the system is to express meaning in a form that is logically precise, humanly readable, and computationally tractable. With their direct mapping to language, conceptual graphs can serve as an intermediate language for translating computer-oriented formalisms to and from natural languages. With their graphic representation, they can serve as a readable, but design and specification language.
    • p. 3-51. cited in: Bernhard Ganter, Gerd Stumme, Rudolf Wille (2005) Formal Concept Analysis: Foundations and Applications. p. 87
Example of conceptual graphs.

Knowledge representation, 2000Edit

John F. Sowa (2000) Knowledge representation: logical, philosophical, and computational foundations.

  • [The goal of the LOT (lattice of theories) is to create a framework] which can support an open-ended number of theories (potentially infinite) organized in a lattice together with systematic metalevel techniques for moving from one to another, for testing their adequacy for any given problem, and for mixing, matching, combining, and transforming them to whatever form is appropriate for whatever problem anyone is trying to solve
    • Cited in: Roberto Poli, Michael Healy, Achilles Kameas (2010) Theory and Applications of Ontology: Computer Applications . p. 533

Quotes about John F. Sowa =Edit

  • Conceptual graphs (CGs) (Sowa 1976; 1984) and fuzzy logic (Zadeh 1965; 1975a) are two logical formalisms that emphasize the target of natural language, each of which is focused on one of the two mentioned desired features of a logic for handling natural language. Conceptual graphs, based on semantic networks and Peirce's existential graphs, combine the visual advantage of graphical languages and the expressive power of logic.
    • Tru Hoang Cao (2010) Conceptual Graphs and Fuzzy Logic: A Fusion for Representing and Reasoning with Linguistic Information. p. 1
  • Sowa (1984) argued that 'Peirce logic', cited by its founder as 'the logic of the future', significantly enhances traditional predicate logic. One aspect of this improvement is, like conceptual graphs, the visual nature of Peirce logic.
    • David G. Schwartz, Monica Divitini, Terje Brasethvik (2000) Internet-Based Organizational Memory and Knowledge Management. p. 112
  • Sowa (1992) observed that various kinds of semantics networks had been developed for multiple purposes, ranging from modeling human cognitive mechanisms to optimizing computational efficiency. He commented that computational motivations had occasionally produced the same network as psychological purposes.
    • Tawan Banchuen (2008) The geographical analog engine The Pennsylvania State University. p. 26
  • In 1992, the Zachman framework was extended by Zachman and Sowa (1992). In addition to answering the final three questions, they introduce the conceptual graph to represent the ISA and replace the “model of the information system” with the more generic system model reference for row 3 or the designer perspective.
    • Pallab Saha (2007) Handbook of Enterprise Systems Architecture in Practice. p. 402
  • Among the formal graphical methods are Frege's (1879) Begriffsschrift, Peirce's (1909) existential graphs, and Sowa's (1984) conceptual graphs. These three are based in first-order predicate logic.
    • Jeffrey A. Schiffel (2008) Improving Knowledge Management Programs Using Marginal Utility in a Metric Space Generated by Conceptual Graphs. p. 51

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