Moving FuXi onto the Development Track

[by Chimezie Ogbuji]

I was recently prompted to consider updating FuXi to use the more recent CVS versions of both Pychinko and rdflib. In particular, I've been itching to get Pychinko working with the new rdflib API – which (as I've mentioned) has had it's API updated significantly to support (amongst other things) support for Notation 3 persistence.

Currently, FuXi works with frozen versions of cwm, rdflib, and Pychiko.

I personally find it more effective to work with reasoning capabilities within the context of a querying language than as a third party software library. This was the original motivation for creating FuXi. Specifically, the process of adding inferred statements, dispatching a prospective query and returning the knowledge base to it's original state is a perfect compromise between classic backward / forward chaining.

It frees up both the query processor and persistence layer from the drudgery of logical inference – a daunting software requirement in its own right. Of course, the price paid in this case is the cumbersome software requirements.

It's well worth noting that such on-demand reasoning also provides a practical way to combat the scalability limitations of RDF persistence.

To these ends, I've updated FuXi to work with the current (CVS) versions of rdflib, 4Suite RDF, and pychinko. It's essentially a re-write and provides 3 major modules:

  • (the core component – a means to fire the pychinko interpreter with facts and rules from rdflib graphs)
  • (provides utility functions for the parsing and scuttering of remote graphs)
  • (defines Versa extension functions which provide scutter / reasoning capabilities)

Versa Functions:


This function takes a Versa expression as a string and evaluates it after executing FuXi using any rules associated with the current graph (via a fuxi:ruleBase property). FuXi (and Pychinko, consequently) use the current graph (and any graphs associated by rdfs:isDefinedBy or rdfs:seeAlso) as the set of facts against which the rules are fired.


This function returns the class(es) – rdfs:Class or owl:Class – of the given list of resources. If the current graph has already been extended to include inferred statements (via the reason function, perhaps), it simply returns the objects of all rdf:type statements made against the resources. Otherwise, it registers, compiles, and fires a set of OWL/RDFS rules (a reasonable subset of owl-rules.n3 and rdfs-rules.n3 bundled with Euler) against the current graph (and any associated graphs) before matching classes to return.


This essentially overrides the default 4Suite RDF implementation of this 'built-in' Versa function which attempts to apply RDFS entailment rules in brute force fashion. It behaves just like class with the exception that it returns instances of the given classes instead (essentially it performs the reverse operation).


This function attempts to apply some best practices in the interpretation of a network of remote RDF graphs. In particular it uses content negotiation and Scutter principles to parse linked RDF graphs (expressed in either RDF/XML or Notation 3). The main use case for this function (and the primary motivation for writing it) is identity-reasoning within a remsotely-hosted set of RDF Graphs (FOAF smushing for example)

The FuXi software bundle includes a short ontology documenting the two RDF terms: one is used to manage the automated association of a rule base with a graph and the other identifies a graph that has been expanded by inference.

I have yet to write documentation, so this piece essentially attempts to serve that purpose, however included in the bundle are some unittest cases for each of the above functions. It works off a small set of initial facts.

Unfortunately, a majority of the aforementioned software requirement liability has to do with Pychinko's reliance on the SWAP code base. Initially, I began looking for a functional subset to bundle but later decided it was against the spirit of the combined body of work. So, until a better solution surfaces, the SWAP code can be checked out from CVS like so (taken from ):

$ cvs login
password? anonymous
$ cvs get 2000/10/swap

The latest 4Suite CVS snapshot can be downloaded from,
Pychinko can be retrieved from the Mindswap svn repository, and rdflib can also be retrieved from it's svn repository.

Chimezie Ogbuji

via Copia