Knowledge acquisition is a difficult and time-consuming task, and as error-prone as any human activity. The task of automatically improving an existing knowledge base using learning methods is addressed by a new class of systems performing theory refinement. Until recently, such systems were limited to propositional theories. This paper presents a system, FORTE (First-Order Revision of Theories from Examples), for refining first-order Horn-clause theories. Moving to a first-order representation opens many new problem areas, such as logic program debugging and qualitative modelling, that are beyond the reach of propositional systems. FORTE uses a hill-climbing approach to revise theories. It identifies possible errors in the theory and calls on a library of operators to develop possible revisions. The best revision is implemented, and the process repeats until no further revisions are possible. Operators are drawn from a variety of sources, including propositional theory refinement, first-order induction, and inverse resolution. FORTE has been tested in several domains including logic programming and qualitative modelling.
Machine Learning, Vol. 19, 2 (1995), pp. 95-131.

Raymond J. Mooney Faculty mooney [at] cs utexas edu
Bradley Richards Ph.D. Alumni bradley [at] ai-lab fh-furtwangen de