Domain language

To analyse, discuss and solve problems, everybody uses language. And so will you, when solving your specific problem. This is called a domain language, because it is specific for a problem (or class of problems) you are trying to solve.

In Ampersand, you make that language explicit by defining relations between concepts. This language consists of relations and concepts. These are used to express facts.

Relations & Concepts

A fact is a statement that is true. This video clip illustrates the idea.

Let us consider a fact "Joe Smith lives in New York." from an Ampersand perspective. In Ampersand, we can analyse this as follows:

  • Let Person and City be concepts
  • Joe Smith is an atom of the concept Person and New York is an atom of the concept City.
  • Let us use the relation livesIn[Person*City] to contain our fact.
  • livesIn is the relation name and [Person*City] is the signature of this relation.
  • If the pair (Joe Smith,New York) is an element of this relation, Ampersand considers the statement Joe Smith livesIn New York to be true. So all pairs in a relation represent facts.

Properties of relations

In many cases, there can be restrictions on the population of a relation, called properties.

The following properties can be specified on any relation r[A*B]

& property semantics
UNI univalent For any a in A there can only be one b in B in the population of r.
INJ injective For any b in B there can only be one a in A in the population of r.
SUR surjective For any b in B there must be (at least) one a in A in the population of 'r`.
TOT total For any a in A there must be (at least) one b in B in the population of 'r`.

There are additional relations that can be specified on endo relations. An endo relation is a relation where the source and target concepts are equal. r[A*A].

& property semantics
SYM symmetric For each (a,b) in r, (b,a) is in r.
ASY antisymmetric If (a,b) and (b,a) are both in r, then a = b
TRN transitive If (a,b) and (b,c) are both in r, then (a,c) is in r.
RFX reflexive For each a in A, the pair (a,a) is in the population of r
IRF irreflexive For each a in A, the pair (a,a) is not in the population of r
PROP - shortcut for the combination of symmetric and antisymmetric.

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