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Toward a Formal Theory of Information Structure

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Abstract

The aim of this chapter is to present a formal theory of the structure of information that will support a variety of statements about documents in various media, their internal structure, and how they function in the world at large. We begin by sketching an approach to anchoring symbolic systems in human cognition and discuss various levels of intentionality that occur. We then consider compositionality in different symbolic systems and the sometimes complex coreference relations that arise from that. This theory is the basis of a program for translating natural language into logical form, and this is described. Then the theory is applied to the specific case of diagrams as information-bearing objects, and a logical theory of Gantt charts is constructed as an illustration. Finally there is a discussion of issues raised with respect to various modalities and various manifestations of symbolic artifacts.

Keywords

  • Noun Phrase
  • Seat Belt
  • Parse Tree
  • Gantt Chart
  • Coherence Relation

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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Acknowledgments

We have profited from discussions with and work by Eduard Hovy, Nishit Rathod, Midhun Ittychariah, and Paul Martin. The opinions expressed here, however, are entirely our own. This material is based in part upon work supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), through the Department of the Interior, NBC, Acquisition Services Division, under Contract No. NBCHD030010. It was also supported in part by DARPA’s “Learning by Reading: The Möbius Project” (NBCHD030010 TO #0007), and in part under the IARPA (DTO) AQUAINT program, contract N61339-06-C-0160.

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Correspondence to Jerry R. Hobbs .

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Hobbs, J.R., Mulkar-Mehta, R. (2013). Toward a Formal Theory of Information Structure. In: Küppers, BO., Hahn, U., Artmann, S. (eds) Evolution of Semantic Systems. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-34997-3_6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-34997-3_6

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