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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
symbolic inference
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The derivation of new facts from known facts and inferencerules. This is one of the fundamental operations of
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).
("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