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<p><b>Abstract</b>—Although database design tools have been developed that attempt to automate (or semiautomate) the design process, these tools do not have the capability to capture common sense knowledge about business applications and store it in a context-specific manner. As a result, they rely on the user to provide a great deal of “trivial” details and do not function as well as a human designer who usually has some general knowledge of how an application might work based on his or her common sense knowledge of the real world. Common sense knowledge could be used by a database design system to validate and improve the quality of an existing design or even generate new designs. This requires that context-specific information about different database design applications be stored and generalized into information about specific application domains (e.g., pharmacy, daycare, hospital, university, manufacturing). Such information should be stored at the appropriate level of generality in a hierarchically structured knowledge base so that it can be inherited by the subdomains below. For this to occur, two types of learning must take place. First, knowledge about a particular application domain that is acquired from specific applications within that domain are generalized into a domain node (e.g., entities, relationships, and attributes from various hospital applications are generalized to a hospital node). This is referred to as <it>within domain learning</it>. Second, the information common to two (or more) related application domain nodes is generalized to a higher-level node; for example, knowledge from the car rental and video rental domains may be generalized to a rental node. This is called <it>across domain learning</it>. This paper presents a methodology for learning across different application domains based on a distance measure. The parameters used in this methodology were refined by testing on a set of representative cases; empirical testing provided further validation.</p>
database design system, expert system, conceptual modeling, logical design, common sense reasoning, learning, domain knowledge

D. Dey and V. Storey, "A Methodology for Learning Across Application Domains for Database Design Systems," in IEEE Transactions on Knowledge & Data Engineering, vol. 14, no. , pp. 13-28, 2002.
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