Steps in constructing problem solving methods

Problem Solving Models Building Steps
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 723)


We propose a general approach that explicates the construction process of problem solving methods (PSMs) employed in knowledge-based systems. As akey point we employ the notion of a competence theory of a problem solving method. Illustrations are taken from the diagnostic Cover-and-Differentiate method used in MOLE and from various forms of abductive diagnosis. It is then shown how a rational construction of problem solving methods results from successive conceptual refinement and operationalization steps with respect to the competence theory. Our proposed Specification-Conceptualization-Operationalization method for PSMs provides top-down support for method construction, starting from an informal problem statement to an operational inference structure suitable for knowledge-based reasoning. Also, it gives some clues as to how PSMs have to be indexed or annotated in a library of generic and reusable components, in order to support ‘bottom-up’ or compositional modelling and design.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ECN and University of TwenteZG Petten (NH)The Netherlands
  2. 2.Social Science InformaticsUniversity of AmsterdamWB AmsterdamThe Netherlands

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