A New Perspective on the Mereotopology of RCC8

Authors Michael Grüninger, Bahar Aameri

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Michael Grüninger
Bahar Aameri

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Michael Grüninger and Bahar Aameri. A New Perspective on the Mereotopology of RCC8. In 13th International Conference on Spatial Information Theory (COSIT 2017). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 86, pp. 2:1-2:13, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2017)


RCC8 is a set of eight jointly exhaustive and pairwise disjoint binary relations representing mereotopological relationships between ordered pairs of individuals. Although the RCC8 relations were originally presented as defined relations of Region Connection Calculus (RCC), virtually all implementations use the RCC8 Composition Table (CT) rather than the axioms of RCC. This raises the question of which mereotopology actually underlies the RCC8 composition table. In this paper, we characterize the algebraic and mereotopological properties of the RCC8 CT based on the metalogical relationship between the first-order theory that captures the RCC8 CT and Ground Mereotopology (MT) of Casati and Varzi. In particular, we show that the RCC8 theory and MT are relatively interpretable in each other. We further show that a nonconservative extension of the RCC8 theory that captures the intended interpretation of the RCC8 relations is logically synonymous with MT, and that a conservative extension of MT is logically synonymous with the RCC8 theory. We also present a characterization of models of MT up to isomorphism, and explain how such a characterization provides insights for understanding models of the RCC8 theory.
  • RCC8
  • mereotopology
  • spatial reasoning
  • ontologies


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