Multilayered Extended Semantic Networks as a Knowledge Representation Paradigm and Interlingua for Meaning Representation

Hermann Helbig, University at Hagen, Germany


The talk gives an overview of Multilayered Extended Semantic Networks (abbreviated MultiNet), which is one of the most comprehensively described knowledge representation paradigms used as a semantic interlingua in large-scale NLP applications and for linguistic investigations into the semantics and pragmatics of natural language. As with other semantic networks, concepts are represented in MultiNet by nodes, and relations between concepts are represented as arcs between these nodes. Additionally to that, every node is classified according to a predefined conceptual ontology forming a hierarchy of sorts, and the nodes are embedded in a multidimensional space of layer attributes and their values. MultiNet provides a set of about 150 standardized relations and functions which are described in a very concise way including an axiomatic apparatus, where the axioms are classified according to predefined types. The representational means of MultiNet claim to fulfill the criteria of universality, homogeneity, and cognitive adequacy. In the talk, it is also shown, how MultiNet can be used for the semantic representation of different semantic phenomena. To overcome the quantitative barrier in building large knowledge bases and semantically oriented computational lexica, MultiNet is associated with a set of tools including a semantic interpreter WOCADI for automatically translating natural language expressions into MultiNet networks, a workbench LIA for the computer lexicographer, and a workbench MWR for the knowledge engineer for managing and graphically manipulating semantic networks. MultiNet has been used in practical applications like Natural Language Interfaces to the Internet (NLI-Z39.50), Semantic Recognition of Duplicates and Plagiates (SemDupl), Readability Checkers (DeLite), and in the commercial search engine SEMPRIAŽ Search. Among the newest projects, where MultiNet and its language technology are employed as cornerstones, is a semantically based translation system 'German . Chinese' (Europhon project).

About the Speaker

Prof. Hermann Helbig received in 1968 M.S. in Physics from the University of Leipzig (Diploma in Quantum Theory). From 1968 to 1969 he was research assistant at the University of Leipzig. From 1970 to 1989 he was researcher in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Computational Linguistics (CL) (Robotron, Dresden, Head of the AI Laboratory). He has the following accomplishments: (1) Creation of the word-class controlled functional analysis (Development of a semantically driven parser); (2) Development of the Natural Language Interface NLI-AIDOS; (3) Development of the Question-Answering System FAS-80. In 1976 he received the Ph.D. in Computer Science (Promotion, Dr.rer.nat., in the field of AI). In 1986 he completed Habilitation (Dr.rer.nat.habil.) in the field of Knowledge Representation. He accomplished the following: (4) Creation of the knowledge representation paradigm 'Multilayered Extended Semantic Networks' (MultiNet). From 1988 to 1992 he was Lecturer for Artificial Intelligence at the TU Dresden. From 1989 to 1992 he was Senior researcher at SRS Dresden and Siemens-Nixdorf. He accomplished the following: (5) Development of Man-Machine Interfaces and Geographic Information Systems. From 1992 to 2008 he received Full Professorship at the University in Hagen, and became Head of the Chair: Intelligent Information and Communication Systems. The main research results of the chair (http;// are: (6) Creation of the largest semantically oriented computational lexicon (HaGenLex) in Germany; (7) Logical foundations of the MultiNet paradigm; (8) Natural language interface NLI Z39.50 to the Internet; (9) Workbench for the knowledge engineer MWR+; (10) Workbench for the computer lexicographer LIA+; (11) Virtual electronic laboratory VILAB for supporting courses in AI and Computational Linguistics. Since 2008 he was Emeritus, Head of the Working Group .Intelligent Information and Communication Systems. From 1997 to 2002 he had sabbatical stays at ICSI and lectured in Berkeley, CA, at the University of New York at Buffalo (USA), and at the Universities of Edinburgh, Sheffield and London (Great Britain). In 2006 he had sabbatical visits and lectured at CMU Pittsburgh, Universites of Toronto (Canada) and Rochester NY, and at MIT.