Reasoning with examples: Propositional formulae and database dependencies

Roni Khardon, Heikki Mannila, Dan Roth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For humans, looking at how concrete examples behave is an intuitive way of deriving conclusions. The drawback with this method is that it does not necessarily give the correct results. However, under certain conditions example-based deduction can be used to obtain a correct and complete inference procedure. This is the case for Boolean formulae (reasoning with models) and for certain types of database integrity constraints (the use of Armstrong relations). We show that these approaches are closely related, and use the relationship to prove new results about the existence and size of Armstrong relations for Boolean dependencies. Furthermore, we exhibit close relations between the questions of finding keys in relational databases and that of finding abductive explanations. Further applications of the correspondence between these two approaches are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-286
Number of pages20
JournalActa Informatica
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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