Generalization of Clauses under Implication

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Abstract

In the area of inductive learning, generalization is a main operation, and the usual definition of induction is based on logical implication. Recently there has been a rising interest in clausal representation of knowledge in machine learning. Almost all inductive learning systems that perform generalization of clauses use the relation theta-subsumption instead of implication. The main reason is that there is a well-known and simple technique to compute least general generalizations under theta-subsumption, but not under implication. However generalization under theta-subsumption is inappropriate for learning recursive clauses, which is a crucial problem since recursion is the basic program structure of logic programs.

We note that implication between clauses is undecidable, and we therefore introduce a stronger form of implication, called T-implication, which is decidable between clauses. We show that for every finite set of clauses there exists a least general generalization under T-implication. We describe a technique to reduce generalizations under implication of a clause to generalizations under theta-subsumption of what we call an expansion of the original clause. Moreover we show that for every non-tautological clause there exists a T-complete expansion, which means that every generalization under T-implication of the clause is reduced to a generalization under theta-subsumption of the expansion.

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