Braid: Weaving Symbolic and Statistical Knowledge into Coherent Logical Explanations

Aditya Kalyanpur, Tom Breloff, David Ferrucci, Adam Lally, John Jantos

Traditional symbolic reasoning engines, while attractive for their precision and explicability, have a few major drawbacks: the use of brittle inference procedures that rely on exact matching/unification of logical terms, an inability to deal with uncertainty, and the need for a precompiled rule-base of knowledge (the "knowledge acquisition" problem). These issues are particularly severe for the Natural Language Understanding (NLU) task, where we often use implicit background knowledge to understand and reason about text, resort to imperfect/fuzzy alignment of concepts and relations during reasoning, and constantly deal with ambiguity in representations. To address these issues, we devise a novel FOL-based reasoner, called Braid, that supports probabilistic rules, and uses the notion of custom unification functions and dynamic rule generation to overcome the brittle matching and knowledge-gap problem prevalent in traditional reasoners. In this paper, we describe the reasoning algorithms used in Braid-BC (the backchaining component of Braid), and their implementation in a distributed task-based framework that builds proof/explanation graphs for an input query in a highly scalable manner. We use a simple QA example from a children's story to motivate Braid-BC's design and explain how the various components work together to produce a coherent logical explanation.

Knowledge Graph

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