Steps in Constructing Problem-Solving Methods
We propose a general approach that explicates the construction process
of problem solving methods (PSMs) employed in knowledge-based systems.
As a key 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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