A Modal Representation of Graded Medical Statements

Hans-Ulrich Krieger, Stefan Schulz

In: Proceedings of the 20th Conference on Formal Grammar. Conference on Formal Grammar (FG-2015) August 8-9 Barcelona Spain Proceedings werden zusätzlich in 2016 bei Springer als Buch erscheinen 8/2015.


Medical natural language statements uttered by physicians are usually graded, i.e., are associated with a degree of uncertainty about the validity of a medical assessment. This uncertainty is often expressed through specific verbs, adverbs, or adjectives in natural language. In this paper, we look into a representation of such graded statements by presenting a simple non-standard modal logic which comes with a set of modal operators, directly associated with the words indicating the uncertainty and interpreted through confidence intervals in the model theory. We complement the model theory by a set of RDFS-/OWL 2 RL-like entailment (if-then) rules, acting on the syntactic representation of modalized statements. Our interest in such a formalization is related to the use of OWL as the de facto standard in (medical) ontologies today and its weakness to represent and reason about assertional knowledge that is uncertain or that changes over time. The approach is not restricted to medical statements, but is applicable to other graded statements as well (e.g., in technical diagnosis).


gradedmodals.pdf (pdf, 388 KB )

German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz