Acta Informatica

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 267–286 | Cite as

Reasoning with examples: propositional formulae and database dependencies

  • Roni Khardon
  • Heikki Mannila
  • Dan Roth


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.


Close Relation Relational Database Correct Result Integrity Constraint Boolean Formula 
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 Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roni Khardon
    • 1
  • Heikki Mannila
    • 2
  • Dan Roth
    • 3
  1. 1. Division of Informatics, University of Edinburgh, King's Buildings, Edinburgh EH9 3JZ, Scotland (e-mail: GB
  2. 2. Department of Computer Science, University of Helsinki, Finland (e-mail: FI
  3. 3. Department of Computer Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA (e-mail: US

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