SIGIR ’94 pp 122-130 | Cite as

A Probabilistic Terminological Logic for Modelling Information Retrieval

  • Fabrizio Sebastiani


Some researchers have recently argued that the task of Information Retrieval (IR) may successfully be described by means of mathematical logic; accordingly, the relevance of a given document to a given information need should be assessed by checking the validity of the logical formula dn,where d is the representation of the document, n is the representation of the information need and “→” is the conditional connective of the logic in question. In a recent paper we have proposed Terminological Logics (TLs) as suitable logics for modelling IR within the paradigm described above. This proposal, however, while making a step towards adequately modelling IR in a logical way, does not account for the fact that the relevance of a document to an information need can only be assessed up to a limited degree of certainty. In this work, we try to overcome this limitation by introducing a model of IR based on a Probabilistic TL, i.e. a logic allowing the expression of real-valued terms representing probability values and possibly involving expressions of a TL. Two different types of probabilistic information, i.e. statistical information and information about degrees of belief, can be accounted for in this logic. The paper presents a formal syntax and a denotational (possible-worlds) semantics for this logic, and discusses, by means of a number of examples, its adequacy as a formal tool for describing IR.


Information Retrieval Modal Logic Predicate Symbol Probabilistic Information Denotational Semantic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabrizio Sebastiani
    • 1
  1. 1.Istituto di Elaborazione dell’InformazioneConsiglio Nazionale delle RicerchePisaItaly

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