Accession Number:

ADA219003

Title:

Hypothesis Formation and Qualitative Reasoning in Molecular Biology

Descriptive Note:

Doctoral thesis

Corporate Author:

STANFORD UNIV CA DEPT OF COMPUTER SCIENCE

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1989-06-01

Pagination or Media Count:

340.0

Abstract:

This dissertation investigates scientific reasoning from a computational perspective. The investigation focuses on a program of research in molecular biology that culminated in the discovery of a new mechanism of gene regulation in bacteria, called attenuation. The dissertation concentrates on a particular type of reasoning called hypothesis formation. Hypothesis-formation problems occur when the outcome of an experiment predicted by a scientific theory does not match that observed by a scientist. I present methods for solving hypothesis formation problems that have been implemented in a computer program called HYPGENE. This work is also concerned with how to represent theories of molecular biology in a computer, and with how to use such theories to predict experimental outcomes I present a framework for performing these tasks that is implemented in a program called GENSIM. I tested both HYPGENE and GENSIM on sample problems that biologists solved during their research on attenuation. The dissertation includes a historical study of the attenuation research. THis study is novel because it examines a large, complex, and modern program of scientific research. The document treats hypothesis formation as a design problem, and uses design methods to solve hypothesis-formation problems.

Subject Categories:

  • Genetic Engineering and Molecular Biology
  • Computer Programming and Software
  • Cybernetics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE