MASSACHUSETTS INST OF TECH CAMBRIDGE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE LAB
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Informal causal descriptions of physical systems abound in sources such as encyclopedias, reports and user manuals. Yet these descriptions remain largely opaque to computer processing. This paper proposes a representational framework in which such descriptions are viewed as providing partial specifications of paths in a space of possible transitions, or transition space. In the framework, the task of comprehending informal causal descriptions emerges as one of completing the specifications of paths in transition space-filling causal gaps and relating accounts of activity varied by analogy and abstraction. Drawing on results from perceptual psychology, a specific representation for events is outlined, along with a set of operations for use in comprehending and answering questions regarding informal causal descriptions. The use of the representation and its operations is illustrated in the context of a simple description concerning rocket propulsion.
- Computer Programming and Software