Catalogue of Artificial Intelligence Techniques

   

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IS-A Hierarchy

Aliases: Inheritance Hierarchy, Type Hierarchy

Keywords: property inheritance

Categories: Knowledge Representation


Author(s): Karen Sp\"arck Jones

Strictly a straightforward manifestation of class membership, found useful in knowledge representation because property specifications for classes need only be explicitly indicated once, i.e., at the highest level, since they are automatically inherited by subclasses. IS-A relationships are often found in a Semantic Net. This form of IS-A relationship must be clearly distinguished from IS-A relationships between individuals and the classes of which they are members. This second version of the IS-A relationship is also found in semantic nets. The characteristic of semantic nets whereby properties of nodes connected by transitive links are inherited by adjacent nodes is called property inheritance, and so the IS-A link is a property inheritance link.


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