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Developing sets and related membership functions from a few examples is a
basic pattern-matching activity that humans do amazingly well. It follows
from the skill of drawing out a general pattern from specifics, a type of
inference Peirce referred to as abduction. The task of guessing the sets
people have in mind from a short list of prompts can range from the easy to
the supremely difficult, which is why it makes for some fun games (think
scattergories, etc.). Are the prompts a few elements of the set? Things
they have in common (i.e., parameters in a membership function)? Part of a
definition by elimination?
As to usefulness for SNA, I think the question is best posed the other way
around: are there applications or extensions of SNA that can be used to
produce better search. To this question, I expect the answer will very
clearly become yes over the next few years.
Mark T. Kennedy, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Strategy
Department of Management and Organization
University of Southern California Marshall School of Business
e-mail: [log in to unmask]
tel 213.821.5668 | fax 213.740.3852
³Well, sir, if things are real, theyıre there all the time.²
³Are they?² said the Professor; and Peter did not know quite what to say.
-- C.S. Lewis, from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
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