Semantic reasoning is the ability of a system to infer new facts from existing data based on inference rules or ontologies. In simple terms, rules add new information to the existing dataset, adding context, knowledge, and valuable insights. This is a form of Semantic AI. The rules are declarative in nature (I.e., they do not describe an algorithm for their computation, they only declare the desired logic of connections in the data) and the process of inferring new facts happens either through pre-materialization, query rewriting or a combination of both.
Reasoning can help keep your data consistent and speed up your applications by minimizing the amount of information processing that needs to happen outside your database’s reasoning engine, as well as the number of write operations needed. It also brings analysis closer to the data layer, meaning deeper insights can be gathered from a given data set with far less computational effort.
A semantic reasoning engine (otherwise known as a semantic reasoner, inference engine, or rules engine) is a piece of software designed to perform reasoning—to apply rules to a data set and conduct semantic inference as we’ve described.