On Combinations of Binary Qualitative Constraint Calculi

Qualitative constraint calculi are representation formalisms that allow for efficient reasoning about spatial and temporal information. Many of the calculi discussed in the field of Qualitative Spatial and Temporal Reasoning can be defined as combinations of other, simpler and more compact formalisms. On the other hand, existing calculi can be combined to a new formalism in which one can represent, and reason about, different aspects of a domain at the same time. For example, Gerevini and Renz presented a loose combination of the region connection calculus RCC-8 and the point algebra: the resulting formalism integrates topological and qualitative size relations between spatially extended objects. In this paper we compare the approach by Gerevini and Renz to a method that generates a new qualitative calculus by exploiting the semantic interdependencies between the component calculi. We will compare these two methods and analyze some formal relationships between a combined calculus and its components. The paper is completed by an empirical case study in which the reasoning performance of the suggested methods is compared on random test instances.

Stefan Woelfl, Matthias Westphal