Dual Forgetting Operators in the Context of Weakest Sufficient and Strongest Necessary Conditions

by   Patrick Doherty, et al.

Forgetting is an important concept in knowledge representation and automated reasoning with widespread applications across a number of disciplines. A standard forgetting operator, characterized in [Lin and Reiter'94] in terms of model-theoretic semantics and primarily focusing on the propositional case, opened up a new research subarea. In this paper, a new operator called weak forgetting, dual to standard forgetting, is introduced and both together are shown to offer a new more uniform perspective on forgetting operators in general. Both the weak and standard forgetting operators are characterized in terms of entailment and inference, rather than a model theoretic semantics. This naturally leads to a useful algorithmic perspective based on quantifier elimination and the use of Ackermman's Lemma and its fixpoint generalization. The strong formal relationship between standard forgetting and strongest necessary conditions and weak forgetting and weakest sufficient conditions is also characterized quite naturally through the entailment-based, inferential perspective used. The framework used to characterize the dual forgetting operators is also generalized to the first-order case and includes useful algorithms for computing first-order forgetting operators in special cases. Practical examples are also included to show the importance of both weak and standard forgetting in modeling and representation.


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