Multilayered extended semantic networks (MultiNets) are both a knowledge representation paradigm and a language for meaning representation of natural language expressions thathas been developed by Hermann Helbig on the basis of earlier Semantic Networks.

MultiNet is claimed to be one of the most comprehensive and thoroughly described knowledge representation systems. It specifies conceptual structures by means of about 140 predefined relations and functions, which are systematically characterized and underpinned by a formal axiomatic apparatus. Apart from their relational connections, the concepts are embedded in a multidimensional space of layered attributes and their values. Another characteristic of MultiNet discerning it from simple semantic networks is the possibility to encapsulate whole partial networks and represent the resulting conceptual capsule as a node of higher order, which itself can be an argument of relations and functions. MultiNet has been used in practical NLP applications such as natural language interfaces to the Internet or question answering systems over large semantically annotated corpora with millions of sentences.

MultiNet is supported by a set of software tools and has been used to build large semantically based computational lexica (such as HaGenLex). The tools include a semantic interpreter WOCADI which translates natural language expressions (phrases, sentences, texts) into formal MultiNet expressions, a workbench MWR+ for the knowledge engineer (comprising modules for automatic knowledge acquisition and reasoning), and a workbench LIA+ for the computer lexicographer supporting the creation of large semantically based computational lexica.


  • Helbig, Hermann Knowledge Representation and the Semantics of Natural Language, (2006) Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York

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