Plan Recognition in a Programmer's Apprentice

Unknown author (1977-05)

This report describes research done at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Support for the Laboratory's artificial intelligence research is provided in part by the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense under the Office of Naval Research contract N00014-75-C-0643.

Working Paper

Brief Statement of the Problem: Stated most generally, the proposed research is concerned with understanding and representing the teleological structure of engineered devices. More specifically, I propose to study the teleological structure of computer programs written in LISP which perform a wide range of non-numerical computations. The major theoretical goal of the research is to further develop a formal representation for teleological structure, called plans, which will facilitate both the abstract description of particular programs, and the compilation of a library of programming expertise in the domain of non-numerical computation. Adequacy of the theory will be demonstrated by implementing a system (to eventually become part of a LISP Programmer's Apprentice) which will be able to recognize various plans in LISP programs written by human programmers and thereby generate cogent explanations of how the programs work, including the detection of some programming errors.