Topic: definition by example

topics > computer science > Group: information

meaning and truth

abstraction by resemblance
ease of learning
information retrieval with queries
loosely structured data
naming by pointing or recognition
people better than computers
problem of classifying information
program construction by walk-through
set definition by extension or intension


Definition by example is an effective way of communicating a concept, request, or procedure. The example may be a prototype for a class. We typically learn by example, and often seek examples to help clarify a concept. An example is highly effective when learning to perform a task or write a program.

Wittgenstein held that sentences and concepts are pictures or images. He arrived at this idea by seeing the diagram of an accident. He retained it in his later philosophy.

Abstraction is the process of defining a universal from particulars.

Query by example is a widely used method for querying a database. Demonstrational interfaces for procedure definition have been less effective. In a less restrictive domain, the system can not generalize the query.

Counter-examples limit the domain of a theory or an imprecise concept.

Definition by example shouldn't work. How can one know when something else matches the example? This may be a clue to the essence of language. (cbb 4/94)

Subtopic: prototypes up

Quote: can represent a set by its essential properties or by a prototypical example [»liebH11_1986]
Quote: while a set is defined by its members or defining characteristics, difficult to do in practice; we typically create new concepts from examples [»liebH11_1986]
Quote: if use prototypical examples for sets, describe other members by how they differ from the prototype
Quote: prototypes are good for expressing defaults; e.g., Fred is like Clyde but white, instead of, Fred is an exceptional, white elephant [»liebH11_1986]

Subtopic: by example up

Quote: the advanced beginner can easily learn situational elements by example; this is a severe limitation on computer intelligence [»hallH_1992]
Quote: operator definition includes operand names, a description, and examples [»bennRK6_1968, OK]
Quote: add assertions which give the correct result for an example execution; machine-checked; made program easier to understand [»morrJH_1980]
Quote: scripting in Balsa was originally for demos but became important for developing worked-out examples, visualizations, and dynamic modes [»browMH1_1985]
Quote: help can be further explanation of system prompt, previous error message, or examples of correct response [»rellN3_1981]
Quote: NetBook links are typed by relationship such as example, critique [»graySH2_1989]
Quote: with Subtext, every function is an example of its execution; every node has a value [»edwaJ10_2005]

Subtopic: examples are helpful up

Quote: students did better with modifying an example program that created a simple widget [»pausR10_1992]
Quote: research supports the use of examples for program comprehension and production; faster, fewer attempts, more accurate, used as template [»mcleSG5_1998]
Quote: developing heuristics by analogy appears to be better than specialization and generalization; e.g., find examples before proofs [»lenaDB10_1982]
Quote: a programmer may consider specific examples and then try to guarantee that the program works similarly for the whole input domain [»gellM5_1978]
Quote: use examples to test API design; test usability, documentation, usefulness; API validated by its users [»mcleSG5_1998]

Subtopic: meaning as picture up

Quote: can represent the meaning of a word by a picture that corresponds to the word, or by the use of the word (again a picture) [»wittL_1939]
Quote: 'choose a yellow ball' might bring up a yellow image, or a feeling of recognition on seeing a yellow ball [»wittL_1958]

Subtopic: picture not needed for meaning up

Quote: we can form no idea of our distance from the sun; yet we don't doubt the calculation nor avoid using it for further inferences [»fregG_1884]

Subtopic: demonstrational interface up

Quote: demonstrational interfaces let the user construct a program by performing actions on example objects [»myerBA8_1992]
Quote: in Lisa List, data formatting and querying done by example; can build expressions [»stewG3_1983]
Quote: query by example to search for Hypertext nodes with matching attributes [»begeML10_1988]
Quote: GIBIS queries by example of proto-node with structure and content partially specified [»conkJ12_1987]

Subtopic: counter-examples up

Quote: a theorem applies to a restricted domain; so counter-examples are exceptions to the conjecture instead of monsters [»lakaI_1976]
Quote: monster-barring: since the theorem was proved, counter-examples can be barred; e.g., a pair of nested cubes is not a polyhedron [»lakaI_1976]
Quote: handle a partially defined predicate by specifying its extension (true for these) and anti-extension (false for these); e.g., three-valued logic

Related Topics up

Group: meaning and truth   (18 topics, 634 quotes)

Topic: abstraction (62 items)
Topic: abstraction by resemblance (13 items)
Topic: classification (65 items)
Topic: ease of learning (38 items)
Topic: information retrieval with queries (18 items)
Topic: loosely structured data (20 items)
Topic: naming by pointing or recognition (13 items)
Topic: people better than computers (35 items)
Topic: problem of classifying information (42 items)
Topic: program construction by walk-through (26 items)
Topic: recognition (50 items)
Topic: set definition by extension or intension (18 items)
Topic: taxonomy
(16 items)

Updated barberCB 4/04
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