Spider diagrams: a diagrammatic reasoning system

John Howse, F. Molina, John Taylor, S. Kent, J. Gil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spider diagrams combine and extend Venn diagrams and Euler circles to express constraints on sets and their relationships with other sets. These diagrams can be used in conjunction with object-oriented modelling notations such as the Unified Modelling Language. This paper summarises the main syntax and semantics of spider diagrams. It also introduces inference rules for reasoning with spider diagrams and a rule for combining spider diagrams. This system is shown to be sound but not complete. Disjunctive diagrams are considered as one way of enriching the system to allow combination of diagrams so that no semantic information is lost. The relationship of this system of spider diagrams to other similar systems, which are known to be sound and complete, is explored briefly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-324
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Visual Languages and Computing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2001


  • Diagrammatic reasoning
  • Visual formalisms


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