The "Open World Assumption" is a term from knowledge base systems. It characterizes knowledge base systems that assume the information stored is incomplete relative to the universe of discourse they intend to describe. This incompleteness may be due to the inability of the maintainer to provide sufficient information or due to more fundamental problems of cognition in the system’s domain. Such problems are characteristic of cultural information systems. Our records about the past are necessarily incomplete. In addition, there may be items that cannot be clearly assigned to a given class. [...] In particular, absence of a certain property for an item described in the system does not mean that this item does not have this property. For example, if one item is described as Biological Object and another as Physical Object, this does not imply that the latter may not be a Biological Object as well. Therefore complements of a class with respect to a superclass cannot be concluded in general from an information system using the Open World Assumption.

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A quote saved on Feb. 26, 2013.


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