Spatial Properties and Relations

Survey of Knowledge Base Content

  Just as Cyc has many ways of representing aspects of time, Cyc has many ways of describing spatial properties and relationships.  Fortunately, the ideas that we present in this lesson are familiar and much of the vocabulary is self-documenting, so we won’t add much explanation.

Spatial Properties and Relations

  Cyc has various ways of expressing relative location, such as those listed on this slide.

Notice how many different shape attributes Cyc has -- 63!  These include attributes like #$ArcShaped, #$Linear-Planar, #$Round, and #$Amorphous.

Types of Spatial Symmetry include things like bilateral and radial.

You can specify direction and orientation with ideas like “in front of” and “above,” but Cyc requires specifics like #inFrontOf-Directly and #$inFrontOf-Generally.

Cyc differentiates between various senses of “between.”  For example, you can specify the distance between two objects on a line and you can specify the distance between two objects on a path (a path which might bend or even be circular like a track).

Senses of ‘In’

  What do people mean when they use the word ‘in’?  Use the questions on this and the two following slides as a guide when making decisions as to what sense of ‘in’ to use in a given situation.

Senses of ‘In’
Senses of ‘In’
Senses of ‘Part’

  The list of predicates on this slide represents represents different aspects of “being a part of somethig.”  The predicate #$parts is the most general predicate in this list.

#$subInformation is totally abstract.  It means that one piece of information is part of another.  For example, “Jim and Mary went to the store” has “Mary went to the store” as a part of its information.

#$physicalDecompositions allows you to refer to an arbitrary physical chunk of an object.  This is distinct from #$physicalPortions which refers to a portion that contains a representative sample of everything in the whole.  So a physical portion of a salad with five ingredients might have representatives of all five ingredients, whereas a physical decomposition might have only one, two, or three of the ingredients.

#$physicalParts is what most people think of when they think of an object’s parts.  This is used to refer to the physically-separable parts of an object, even if the parts are glued or welded together, such that each part has its own identity (i.e. the wheels of a car, the tail of a dog, the fingers on a hand, etc.).

#$anatomicalParts refers to parts like physical parts, but anatomical parts each have their own anatomical function (i.e. the throat of a dog, the nervous system of a person, the eye of a bird).


  Similar to physical objects, organizations also have parts.  Cyc has a large number of terms to describe organizations.  This slide shows a sampling of those terms, most of which are self-explanatory.

Notice that both predicates and functions are listed here.  #$PolicyFn denotes the collection of all policies of an organization.


This concludes the lesson on spatial properties and relations.