Knowledge Structures

Knowledge Structures

Knowledge Structures

Knowledge Structures

Excerpt

The story of this book goes back to the mid-1970s, when a collaboration began at Yale between the computer science and psychology departments, anchored by the joint work of Roger Schank and Robert Abelson. In 1977, these collaborators produced the book, Scripts, Plans, Goals, and Understanding, and initiated the Yale Cognitive Science Program. The book hypothesized a conceptual framework for a set of "knowledge structures" used by both people and certain computer programs to comprehend social behavior, as presented in simple stories. The Cognitive Science Program, financed first by the Sloan Foundation and later by the System Development Foundation, brought together students, faculty, and postdocs in artificial intelligence and in cognitive (and social) psychology, with occasional input from linguists and philosophers as well. Joint lectures, seminars, training courses, and bull sessions helped create an environment with a novel perspective on how humans understand their social world.

The artificial intelligence people, under the guidance of Roger Schank, devised computer programs which demonstrated some aspect of "understanding" of pieces of text from human interest stories, news clippings, conversations, etc. The intent of these programs was expressly psychological; the attempt was to model the way human understanding processes might work. Among the many outstanding individuals participating were Wendy Lehnert, Chris Riesbeck, Robert Wilensky, Jaime Carbonell, Mike Lebowitz, Gerard DeJong, Janet Kolodner, Michael Dyer, Lawrence Birnbaum, Mark Burstein, Gregg Collins, and Natalie Dehn. Many of these names will be encountered later in this volume.

Meanwhile, the psychologists in the group were busy arguing with the . . .

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