Inference Web in Action: Lightweight Use of the Proof Markup Language

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Abstract

The Inference Web infrastructure for web explanations together with its underlying Proof Markup Language (PML) for encoding justification and provenance information has been used in multiple projects varying from explaining the behavior of cognitive agents to explaining how knowledge is extracted from multiple sources of information in natural language. The PML specification has increased significantly since its inception in 2002 in order to accommodate a rich set of requirements derived from multiple projects, including the ones mentioned above. In this paper, we have a very different goal than the other PML documents: to demonstrate that PML may be effectively used by simple systems (as well as complex systems) and to describe lightweight use of language and its associated Inference Web tools. We show how an exemplar scientific application can use lightweight PML descriptions within the context of an NSF-funded cyberinfrastructure project. The scientific application is used throughout the paper as a use case for the lightweight use of PML and the Inference Web and is meant to be an operational prototype for a class of cyberinfrastructure applications.