A semantic link network (SLN) consists of nodes (entities, features, concepts, schemas or communities) and semantic links between nodes. This paper proposes an autonomous SLN formalism to support intelligent applications on large-scale networks. The formalism integrates the SLN logical reasoning with the SLN analogical reasoning and the SLN inductive reasoning, as well as existing techniques to form an autonomous semantic overly. The SLN logical reasoning mechanism derives implicit semantic relations by a semantic matrix and relevant addition and multiplication operations based on semantic link rules. The SLN analogical reasoning mechanism proposes conjectures on semantic relations based on structural mapping between nodes. The SLN inductive reasoning mechanism derives general semantics from special semantics. The cooperation of diverse reasoning mechanisms enhances the reasoning ability of each, therefore providing a powerful semantic ability for the semantic overlay. The self-organizing diverse scales of the SLN support the intelligent applications of the Knowledge Grid. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.