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James Taylor's Decision Management

James Taylor

Trade off Complexity and Linguistic Power

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Dave McCoy had a nice little post about some upcoming research which caught my eye - Business Rule Representation: A Tradeoff of Complexity and Linguistic Power. I am intrigued by his comments and looking forward to the report but a couple of comments:

  • Where would template-driven rules fall?
    They have potentially a lot of power but reduced complexity
  • What about some of the graphical representations for individual rules?
    I mostly don't like these as they don't scale for lots of rules but they should be on the chart somewhere I think
  • How does the imprecision of natural language affect its linguistic power?
    Natural language can be very imprecise. Does that increase its linguistic power or reduce it?
  • How about structured graphical layouts for rules that allow complexity?
    Like rule sheets, for instance, that provide some elements of graphical layout but allow essentially anything to be written in them
Hopefully I will get a chance to see the report and write more...

1 Comment

Hi James

I read your post. Great questions. I posted this on my site, and will do the same here, providing three answers to your questions:

First, I did not cover every known rule representation type, so the individual rule approach you mention is not explicitly covered. However, I tried to write this research at a meta-level and talk about categories versus instances. In that case, you might be able to slot additional approaches into my defined buckets.

Template-driven rules fall in the structured-language category, in my taxonomy. They are more complex than graphical aids (trees, tables), but an easier form of language than CNL.

Ambiguity can certainly equal power - but it's a different kind of power. Ambiguity and imprecision are socio-political powers, purposefully or accidentally hiding the truth. My definition of linguistic power implies intent and capability to be clear and precise. So, by definition, imprecision is a weak point. If imprecision is used as a purposeful weapon, it is a weakness; if it is accidental, it is a weakness - as far as business rules go. For political speeches and short stories, the analysis would be radically different.


David McCoy

James Taylor blogs about decision-management technologies such as predictive analytics and business rules, discussing how they deliver agility, improve business processes and bring intelligent automation to SOA.

James Taylor

James Taylor blogs on decision management for ebizQ, and is an independent consultant on decision management, predictive analytics, business rules, and related topics.

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