The Evolution of Procedural Knowledge

Unknown author (1975-01-16)

Work reported herein was conducted at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology research program supported in part by the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense and monitored by the Office of Naval Research under Contract Number N00014-70-A-0362-0005.

Working Paper

A focus on planning and debugging procedures underlies the enhanced proficiency of recent programs which solve problems and acquire new skills. By describing complex procedures as constituents of evolutionary sequences of families of simpler procedures, we can augment our understanding of how they were written and how they accomplish their goals, as well as improving our ability to debug them. To the extent that properties of such descriptions are task independent, we ought to be able to create a computational analogue for genetic epistemology, a theory of procedural ontogeny. Since such a theory ought to be relevant to the teaching of procedures and modelling of the learner, it is proposed than an educational application system be implemented, to help to clarify these ideas. The system would provide assistance to students solving geometry construction problems.