Rules Format

This page describes the format of data files containing rules for use with the
Mulgara Rule Engine (Krule).


  • Running Krule
  • File Type
  • Schema
  • Structure of a Krule Model
  • Schema
    1. Resource References.
    1. Literals.
    2. URI References.
    2. Axioms.
    1. Axiom subject.
    2. Axiom predicate.
    3. Axiom object.
    3. Rules.
    1. Triggers.
    2. Query.
    1. Variables.
    2. Selection Variables.
    3. Where Clause.
    1. Constraint Operations.
    1. Constraint Conjunction.
    2. Constraint Disjunction.
    2. Normal Constraints.
    1. Simple Constraint.
    2. Transitive Constraint.
    3. Complete Rule Example.

Running Krule

The purpose of the Krule engine is to apply a set of entailment rules to a base
set of facts, producing new data based on those facts. Rules, base data, and
entailed data are all stored in RDF models (or graphs). Base data and
entailed (or output) data may be stored in the same model or in separate
models. Rule data is typically stored in its own model.

Base data is RDF data, with no restrictions. Entailed data will often look
very similar to the base data, but will depend on the rules used to generate
it. Alternately, Krule models must conform to the specification described in
this document.

To run rules from one model over another model containing base data, the
following iTQL command is used:

This command will put any entailed data into the base model.  To put entailed
data into a separate output model, then append that model to the end of the


h2. File Type

Mulgara rules are described in RDF.  This means that data can be stored in any
acceptable RDF format, including RDF-XML, N3 and NT files.  This document
describes RDF using RDF-XML.

The domain of the elements specific to Mulgara Rules is:
This is typically abbreviated to "krule".

Other important domains and their abbreviations are shown here:
  mulgara !

h2. Schema

A schema for the structure of Krule files is given in the file krule.owl.  This
should be considered the normative specification of Krule RDF.

h2. Structure of a Krule Model

A Krule model (or graph) consists of a number of rules and/or axioms.  A model
must have at least one rule or axiom to be considered a valid krule model.

Axioms are simple RDF statements that will be inserted into the model receiving
entailments during rule processing.  These statements will be inserted every
time the Krule engine is run.  There will be no effect for any statements which
already exist in the output model.

Rules perform a query against the models containing the base data and the
entailed data.  If the conditions in the query are met, then the rule will
generate new statements to be inserted into the entailment model.

If a rule creates new entailment data then those new statements may also
satisfy the query for another rule.  Those rules which may be affected by the
output of another rule should be "triggered" by that rule.  Triggers are
explicitly declared as a part of each triggering rule in the Krule model.
While this places a burden on the writer of the Krule model, this is a well
established technique for the optimal flow of an entailment process.

Beyond a small performance overhead, triggering a rule that is not required
will have no detrimental effects on the system.  Therefore, if it is too
difficult to find all possible rules which should be triggered in response to a
rule being run, then that rule should trigger all other rules.

h2. Schema

h3. 1. Resource References.

h4. 1.1. Literals.

Literals are represented with objects of type krule:Literal.  The resource will
have an rdf:value property referring to the literal value associated with it.

    <rdf:value rdf:parseType="Literal">A String</rdf:value>

h4. 1.2. URI References.

URI References are represented with objects of type krule:URIReference.  The
resource will have an rdf:value property referring to the specific resource.
This indirection allows statements to be made about the reference without
making them about the resource.

  <krule:URIReference rdf:about="#myReferenceName">
    <rdf:value rdf:resource=""/>

h4. 2. Axioms.

Axioms are RDF objects with an rdf:type of krule:Axiom.  Axioms have three
unique properties: krule:subject, krule:predicate and krule:object.

h4. 2.1.  Axiom subject.

Axiom subjects must be of the type krule:URIReference.  This resource will
refer to the resource to be used for the subject.

h4. 2.2.  Axiom predicate.

Axiom predicates must be of the type krule:URIReference.  This resource will
refer to the resource to be used for the predicate.

h4. 2.1.  Axiom object.

Axiom objects must be of the type krule:URIReference or krule:Literal.  A
krule:URIReference will refer to the resource to be used for the object.  A
krule:Literal will have an rdf:value property of the literal value to be used.

      <krule:URIReference rdf:about="#ref_rdffirst"/>
      <krule:URIReference rdf:about="#ref_rdfsdomain"/>
      <krule:URIReference rdf:about="#ref_rdfList"/>

h3. 3. Rules.

Rules are RDF objects with an rdf:type of krule:Rule.  Rules have a single
krule:hasQuery property which refers to a krule:Query object, and have an
arbitrary number of krule:triggers properties which refer to rules.  A rule
may have a krule:triggers property which refers to itself (a reflexive

h4. 3.1. Triggers.

A krule:triggers property will refer directly to another rule resource. It
indicates that when a rule is run, then the triggered rules should be tested
to see if they need to be run.

  <krule:Rule rdf:about="#rule1">
    <triggers rdf:resource="#rule2"/>
    <triggers rdf:resource="#rule3"/>
    <!-- hasQuery property not shown -->

h4. 3.2. Query.

A rule's krule:hasQuery object refers to a krule:Query object.  A krule:Query
object is a direct representation of an iTQL "select" queries.  Almost all iTQL
query constructs are available to krule.

A krule query has two properties: krule:selectionVariables and

h4. 3.2.1. Variables.

Like iTQL, queries use variables to associate with sets of resources.  A
variable is represented as an object of type krule:Variable.  Variables have an
optional krule:name property.

  <krule:Variable rdf:about="#var_x">

h4. 3.2.2. Selection Variables.

The krule:selectionVariables property refers to an rdf:Seq containing three
elements, in order.  These items will be inserted as an entailed statement.
The items will be inserted as the subjects, predicates and objects of the
entailed statements, in the order of the sequence.

The items to be inserted will be of type krule:URIReference or krule:Variable.
If a krule:Variable appears in the selection variables list, then it MUST be in
the constraint construct of the where clause.

A query can only have one krule:selectionVariables property.

  <!-- enclosing Query not shown -->
      <rdf:li rdf:resource="#var_id"/>
      <rdf:li rdf:resource="#ref_rdftype"/>
      <rdf:li rdf:resource="#ref_rdfsContainerMembershipProperty"/>

h4. 3.2.3. Where Clause.

A query will have a single krule:hasWhereClause property, referring to a
constraint expression.  There are two categories of constraints: constraint
operations and normal constraints.  Both types of constraint are valid
constraint expressions and can be used as a "where" clause.

h4. Constraint Operations.

A constraint operation takes two or more subordinate constraint expressions and
joins them in some way.

h4. Constraint Conjunction.

A constraint conjunction has two or more constraint expressions as
krule:argument properties.  The results of these constraint expressions will be
joined as a conjunction (AND) according to any matching variables.

h4. Constraint Disjunction.

A constraint disjunction has two or more constraint expressions as
krule:argument properties.  The results of these constraint expressions will be
joined as a disjunction (OR).

  <!-- enclosing query not shown -->
  <!-- Simple constraints defined elsewhere -->
      <SimpleConstraint rdf:about="#myConstraint"/>
      <SimpleConstraint rdf:about="#myOtherConstraint"/>

h4. Normal Constraints.

A normal constraint is one which does not wrap arbitrary constraint
expressions.  These include the types krule:SimpleConstraint and

h4. Simple Constraint.

A simple constraint has an rdf:type of krule:SimpleConstraint.  They have three
compulsory properties: krule:hasSubject, krule:hasPredicate and

The krule:hasSubject and krule:hasPredicate properties refer to either a
krule:URIReference or a krule:Variable.  The krule:hasObject property may refer
to a krule:URIReference, a krule:Variable, or a krule:Literal.

A simple constraint also has an optional property of krule:hasModel.  This will
be a krule:URIReference that refers to another model in the system, or a
krule:Variable that will resolve to the URI of a model when the query is run.

      <Variable rdf:about="#var_a"/>
      <URIReference rdf:about="#ref_rdftype"/>
      <Variable rdf:about="#var_x"/>

h4. Transitive Constraint.

Transitive constraints have an rdf:type of krule:TransitiveConstraint.  These
have a compulsory property of krule:transitiveArgument which refers to a
krule:SimpleConstraint, and an optional property of krule:anchorArgument which
also refers to a krule:SimpleConstraint.

The transitive argument of a constraint describes the pattern of a transitive
predicate, and must have a krule:Variable in the subject and object positions.
The predicate must be a krule:URIReference.

The optional anchor argument is the same as the transitive argument, but will
have a krule:URIReference in either the subject or the object.  This resource
will start a chain of transitive statements, and restricts the returned
statements to only those found in the chain.  This is a technique known as
"backward chaining.

          <Variable rdf:about="#var_x"/>
          <URIReference rdf:about="#ref_rdfssubclassof"/>
          <Variable rdf:about="#var_z"/>
          <Variable rdf:about="#var_x"/>
          <URIReference rdf:about="#ref_rdfssubclassof"/>
          <Variable rdf:about="#rdf_topLevelClass"/>

h4. 3.3. Complete Rule Example.

This is a complete example rule from the RDFS entailment model:

  <krule:Rule rdf:about="#rdfs7a">
    <krule:triggers rdf:resource="#rdfs2"/>
    <krule:triggers rdf:resource="#rdfs3"/>
    <krule:triggers rdf:resource="#rdfs6"/>
    <krule:triggers rdf:resource="#rdfs8"/>
    <krule:triggers rdf:resource="#rdfs9"/>
            <rdf:li rdf:resource="#var_x"/>
            <rdf:li rdf:resource="#ref_rdfssubclassof"/>
            <rdf:li rdf:resource="#ref_rdfsResource"/>
              <krule:Variable rdf:about="#var_x">
              <krule:URIReference rdf:about="#ref_rdftype"/>
              <krule:URIReference rdf:about="#ref_rdfsClass"/>


The test for this rule is to seach for statements of the form:
    $x  <rdf:type>  <rdfs:Class> .

For any statements that match this pattern, a new statement will be created, saying:
    $x  <rdfs:subclassOf>  <rdfs:Resource> .

Updated by RainerWasserfuhr - about 12 years ago ยท 3 revisions