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The Knowledge Engineering Review, Vol. 20:4, 431433. 2006, Cambridge University Press Printed in the United Kingdom

Summary: The Knowledge Engineering Review, Vol. 20:4, 431­433. 2006, Cambridge University Press
Printed in the United Kingdom
Book Reviews
Knowledge in action: Logical foundations for specifying and implementing dynamical systems
by Raymond Reiter, MIT Press, 0-262-18218-1, 448 pp., $60.00/£38.95
When I started out as a newly hatched PhD student, back in the day, one of the first articles I read
and understood (or at least thought that I understood) was Ray Reiter's classic article on default
logic (Reiter, 1980). This was some years after the famous `non-monotonic logic' issue of Artificial
Intelligence in which that article appeared, but default logic was still one of the leading approaches,
a tribute to the simplicity and power of the theory. As a result of reading the article, I became
fascinated by both default logic and, more generally, non-monotonic logics. However, despite my
fascination, these approaches never seemed terribly useful for the kinds of problem that I was
supposed to be studying--problems like those in medical decision making--and so I eventually lost
interest. In fact non-monotonic logics seemed to me, and to many people at the time I think, not
to be terribly useful for anything. They were interesting, and clearly relevant to the long-term goals
of Artificial Intelligence as a discipline, but not of any immediate practical importance.
This verdict, delivered at the end of the 1980s, continued, I think, to be true for the next few years
while researchers working in non-monotonic logics studied problems that to outsiders seemed to be
ever more obscure. However, by the end of the 1990s, it was becoming clear, even to folk as


Source: Alpaydın, Ethem - Department of Computer Engineering, Bogaziçi University


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences