Kutachi Project

The emerging report from the Kutachi project. This is a collaborative project to develop a formal vocabulary for logical elegance based on intuitive perception of form.

Infons

Published: 23 Jul 2013

We rely on situation theory, described here.

It provides a means for reasoning about both facts and situations, about what we know and what we don't and about about details and big pictures. In order for the two sides (situations and facts) to work together, the facts have to be internally represented in a consistant way.

In other words, we not only have to invent a new paradigm for visualizing systems, we have to spend some time on the visualizations we already know how to do. That is, current user interfaces do well with facts and relationships among facts. In most cases, our changes to how facts are stored will be behind the scenes so that facts and situations can be related.

Our standard representation of a fact is an infon. Many of the characteristics of infons have been developed by us, but the basic idea and the inspiration for the notation comes from Stanford mathematician Keith Devlin, who works with situation theory.

It uses our inline mathematical notation which is quite simple so far as infons.

If you have an item of information that is not captured behind the scenes as infons, then it is presented in the usual way. If it is captured behind the scenes as infons, a synopsis or summary is placed in carets.

If you examine the infon itself, it is placed in double carets.

cry: baby, null; く≫

Every infon consists of exactly four elements. The first is the relation, here cry. In situations where it is possible, the relation is a verb. There are two parameters, and since this fact has only one, the second is blank (denoted by 'null'). Parameters can be other infons, or they can be situations.

The final character is the Japanese 'ku' which here denotes a collection of interpretive influences from the situations that bear. One example is that we know the situation was in the past, so the tense of cry is past tense.

At this writing, you have to create and wrangle infons manually. However, much of what is required to deal with them is shared by the work done for the so-called Semantic Web. An early goal of the FilmsFolded Project is to develop open source tools for infon management.

The Kutachi connection is that when we take the Kutachi-inspired techniques to envision situations, and we build real user interfaces, we will have to add the ability to zoom into component bits of information, shifting back and forth between forest and trees. The trees are supported by infons.

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© copyright Ted Goranson, 2013