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Development and application of a metric on semantic nets

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4 Author(s)
R. Rada ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Liverpool Univ., UK ; H. Mili ; E. Bicknell ; M. Blettner

Motivated by the properties of spreading activation and conceptual distance, the authors propose a metric, called distance, on the power set of nodes in a semantic net. Distance is the average minimum path length over all pairwise combinations of nodes between two subsets of nodes. Distance can be successfully used to assess the conceptual distance between sets of concepts when used on a semantic net of hierarchical relations. When other kinds of relationships, like `cause', are used, distance must be amended but then can again be effective. The judgements of distance significantly correlate with the distance judgements that people make and help to determine whether one semantic net is better or worse than another. The authors focus on the mathematical characteristics of distance that presents novel cases and interpretations. Experiments in which distance is applied to pairs of concepts and to sets of concepts in a hierarchical knowledge base show the power of hierarchical relations in representing information about the conceptual distance between concepts

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IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics  (Volume:19 ,  Issue: 1 )