Artificial Intelligence Review

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 17–33

Mixed-initiative problem solving with decision trees



We present a mixed-initiative approach to problem solving based on decision trees in which the user can answer unknown to any question she is asked by the intelligent system, or answer questions anywhere in the decision tree without waiting to be asked. Also in contrast to the traditional decision-tree approach, more than one of the rules in a decision tree may contribute to the solution of a problem for which the user is unable to provide a complete description. As shown by our results, increased coverage of incomplete problem descriptions is an important benefit for some decision trees. However, a potential risk in allowing a problem-solving dialogue to continue when relevant test results are not available is that no solution may be possible no matter what additional information the user can provide. This problem is addressed in our approach by using meta-level reasoning to recognize when no solution is possible.


Mixed-initiative interaction Decision trees Coverage Meta-level reasoning 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aha DW, Breslow L, Muñoz-Avila H (2001) Conversational case-based reasoning. Appl Intell 14: 9–32MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aha DW, McSherry D, Yang Q (2005) Advances in conversational case-based reasoning. Knowl Eng Rev 20: 247–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allen JE (1999) Mixed-initiative interaction. IEEE Intell Syst 6: 14–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Asuncion A, Newman DJ (2007) UCI machine learning repository. University of California, Department of Information and Computer Science, Irvine, California.
  5. Bergmann R, Cunningham P (2002) Acquiring customers’ requirements in electronic commerce. Artif Intell Rev 18: 63–193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cendrowska J (1987) PRISM: an algorithm for inducing modular rules. Int J Man-Machine Stud 27: 349–370MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cheetham W (2005) A mixed-initiative call center application for appliance diagnostics. In: Aha DW, Tecuci G (eds) Proceedings of the AAAI-05 fall symposium on mixed-initiative problem-solving assistants. AAAI/MIT PressGoogle Scholar
  8. Cox M (2005) Metacognition in computation: a selected research review. Artif Intell 169: 104–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Göker MH (2003) Adapting to the level of experience of the user in mixed-initiative web self-service applications. ICCBR-03 workshop on mixed-initiative case-based reasoningGoogle Scholar
  10. Lenat D, Davis R, Doyle J, Genesereth M, Goldstein I, Schrobe H (1983) Reasoning about reasoning. In: Hayes-Roth F, Waterman D, Lenat D (eds) Building expert systems. Addison-Wesley, ReadingGoogle Scholar
  11. McLaren B, Ashley K (2001) Helping a CBR program to know what it knows. In: Aha DW, Watson I (eds) Case-based reasoning research and development. LNAI, vol 2080. Springer, Berlin, pp 377–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. McSherry D (1999) Strategic induction of decision trees. Knowl Based Syst 12: 269–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. McSherry D (2001) Interactive case-based reasoning in sequential diagnosis. Appl Intell 14: 65–76MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. McSherry D (2003) Mixed-initiative intelligent systems for classification and diagnosis. In: Proceedings of the 14th Irish conference on artificial intelligence and cognitive science, pp 146–151Google Scholar
  15. Quinlan JR (1986) Induction of decision trees. Mach Learn 1: 81–106Google Scholar
  16. Shimazu H, Shibata A, Nihei K (2001) ExpertGuide: a conversational case-based reasoning tool for developing mentors in knowledge spaces. Appl Intell 14: 33–48MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Thompson CA, Göker MH, Langley P (2004) A personalized system for conversational recommendations. J Artif Intell Res 21: 393–428Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Computing and Information EngineeringUniversity of UlsterColeraineNorthern Ireland, UK

Personalised recommendations