This study was conducted to develop a method for the design of computerized problem-solving aids. The method relies on the observation of problem-solving behavior and utilizes the evidences of heuristic procedures displayed by the subject as indicators of processing overloads. This information is, in turn, used to formulate problem-solving aids whose effectiveness is verified experimentally. The problems used were selected because they have a formal structure which admits many interpretations--from the design of minimal switching circuits to the dispositon of weapon systems. The subjects task was to allocate hypothetical missile-firing submarines so that a specified number of targets was covered by the fewest possible ships. This task could be formulated as a linear integer programming problem which was solvable by Gomorys algorithm. However, complete automation of the task, using this algorithm, was undesirable because the procedure was excessively time-consuming when more than a few solutions were required. Experiments indicated that the subjects processing limitations resulted in a slow and biased search for elements from which to assemble solutions. The aided system delegated the subtask of finding key elements to an automated process and let the person assemble these elements into deployments. The effectiveness of this arrangement was shown by the fact that aided subjects found more solutions and more uniformly distributed solutions than unaided subjects. Author
Paper presented at the Western States Navy Research and Development Clinic, Montana State College, Bozeman, 22-24 Jul 64.