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Journal of Logic and Computation, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp. 319-350: Abstract.

Expressive number restrictions in description logics

F Baader and U Sattler

RWTH Aachen (University of Technology), Theoretische Informatik, Ahornstrasse 55, D-52074 Aachen, Germany. E-mail: {baader,uli}@cantor.informatik.rwth-aachen.de

Number restrictions are concept constructors that are available in almost all implemented Description Logic systems. However, they are mostly available only in a rather weak form, which considerably restricts their expressive power. On the one hand, the roles that may occur in number restrictions are usually of a very restricted type, namely atomic roles or complex roles built using either intersection or inversion. In the present paper, we increase the expressive power of Description Logics by allowing for more complex roles in number restrictions. As role constructors, we consider composition of roles (which will be present in all our logics) and intersection, union, and inversion of roles in different combinations. We will present two decidability results (for the basic logic that extends ALC by number restrictions on roles with composition, and for one extension of this logic), and three undecidability results for three other extensions of the basic logic. On the other hand, with the rather weak form of number restrictions available in implemented systems, the number of role successors of an individual can only be restricted by a fixed non-negative integer. To overcome this lack of expressiveness, we allow for variables ranging over the non-negative integers in place of the fixed numbers in number restrictions. The expressive power of this constructor is increased even further by introducing explicit quantifiers for the numerical variables. The Description Logic obtained this way turns out to have an undecidable satisfiability problem. For a restricted logic we show that concept satisfiability is decidable.

Key words: Knowledge representation, description logics, number restrictions

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