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(artificial intelligence)
A large knowledge-based system.

Cyc is a very large, multi-contextual knowledge base and inference engine, the development of which started at the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC) in Austin, Texas during the early 1980s.

Over the past eleven years the members of the Cyc team, lead by Doug Lenat, have added to the knowledge base a huge amount of fundamental human knowledge: facts, rules of thumb, and heuristics for reasoning about the objects and events of modern everyday life.

Cyc is an attempt to do symbolic AI on a massive scale. It is not based on numerical methods such as statistical probabilities, nor is it based on neural networks or fuzzy logic. All of the knowledge in Cyc is represented declaratively in the form of logical assertions. Cyc presently contains approximately 400,000 significant assertions, which include simple statements of fact, rules about what conclusions to draw if certain statements of fact are satisfied, and rules about how to reason with certain types of facts and rules. The inference engine derives new conclusions using deductive reasoning.

To date, Cyc has made possible ground-breaking pilot applications in the areas of heterogeneous database browsing and integration, captioned image retrieval, and natural language processing.

In January of 1995, a new independent company named Cycorp was created to continue the Cyc project. Cycorp is still in Austin, Texas. The president of Cycorp is Doug Lenat.

The development of Cyc has been supported by several organisations, including Apple, Bellcore, DEC, DoD, Interval, Kodak, and Microsoft.

Unofficial FAQ.
References in periodicals archive ?
Douglas Lenat begins the Cyc project, an ambitious attempt to create a common-sense knowledge base that can eventually become self-educating.
Building Large Knowledge Based Systems: Representation and Inference in the Cyc Project.
Besides professoring at Carnegie Mellon University and Stanford, he was principal scientist at the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC), where he founded the Cyc Project in 1984--something he called "ontological engineering" to distinguish it from "knowledge engineering.
His pioneering work in Machine Learning led him to chafe at the "brittleness bottleneck," and in 1984 he established the Cyc project.
He has authored several papers and technical reports, and (with coauthor Doug Lenat) a recent book: Building Large Knowledge Based systems: Representation and Inference in the Cyc Project.
MARY SHEPHERD is a sociologist and engineer, and has worked on the Cyc project since its inception.
The Cyc project (Lenat 1995) has developed a great many ways to represent commonsense knowledge, and has built a database of over a million commonsense facts and rules.
Srini Narayanan worried that the Cyc project was not adequately based on what cognitive scientists have learned about how people make commonsense inferences.
CYCL is the language used in the CYC Project, and LOOM is the language used by the server called ONTOSAURUS (Swartout et al.
Building Large Knowledge-Based Systems: Representation and Inference in CYC Project.
Lenat's CYC Project has also contributed much to our understanding of large knowledge bases and ontologies.
Twelve years ago, a comprehensive effort was begun to create a general ontology for commonsense knowledge: the CYC Project (Lenat 1995; Guha and Lenat 1994; Lenat 1990; Lenat and Guha 1990; also see www.