Inside Case-Based Reasoning

Inside Case-Based Reasoning

Inside Case-Based Reasoning

Inside Case-Based Reasoning


Introducing issues in dynamic memory and case-based reasoning, this comprehensive volume presents extended descriptions of four major programming efforts conducted at Yale during the past several years. Each descriptive chapter is followed by a companion chapter containing the micro program version of the information.

The authors emphasize that the only true way to learn and understand any AI program is to program it yourself. To this end, the book develops a deeper and richer understanding of the content through LISP programming instructions that allow the running, modification, and extension of the micro programs developed by the authors.


In 1981, we published a book called Inside Computer Understanding. That book contained two kinds of material. First, there were substantial chapters summarizing doctoral work on various models of knowledge-based understanding developed at Yale. These chapters were written by the original researchers and described both the theoretical aspects of their work and the practical details. Second, each chapter was accompanied by miniature or "micro" versions of each AI program discussed. These Lisp programs ranged from 5 to 15 pages long, including substantial commentary, and were augmented by a series of exercises for the reader. The intent was that the programs would capture the bare essentials of the doctoral work, while still be short enough and simple enough to be easily understood and modified by anyone with only a cursory introduction to AI programming.

We first developed this approach of substantial description plus micro program for a 4-week cognitive science summer school, given at Yale in 1978, with the support of the Sloan Foundation's program in Cognitive Science. Our students then were professors and graduate students from psychology, linguistics, and anthropology. After only one week of Lisp lessons and lectures on our models of understanding, they were capable of running, modifying, and extending the micro programs we had developed. From this hands-on experience, they gained a far richer and deeper understanding of our work than would have been possible in a whole semester of classroom lectures.

Inside Computer Understanding aimed for the same audience of knowledgable, motivated readers with an interest in AI and how it really works, but not an expertise in AI. Inside Computer Understanding reached an even larger audience than we expected, thanks to several events that occurred at the same time as the appearance of the book. First, there was the arrival of powerful personal computers that brought computer power to cognitive scientists who formerly had little or no access to computers. Happily, the fact that we'd chosen to use a very small subset of Lisp for pedagogical purposes meant that it was quite feasible to transfer our micro programs to personal computers.

Second, there was the explosion in interest in Artificial Intelligence, espe . . .

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