Qualitative Knowledge, Casual Reasoning and the Localization of Failures
This report investigates some techinques appropriate to representing the knowledge necessary for understanding a class of electronic machines -- radio receivers. A computational performance model - WATSON - is presented. WATSONs task is to isolate failures in radio receivers whose principles of operation have been appropriately described in his knowledge base. The thesis of the report is that hierarchically organized representational structures are essential to the understanding of complex mechanisms. Such structures lead not only to descriptions of machine operation at many levels of detail, but also offer a powerful means of organizing "specialist" knowledge for the repair of machines when they are broken.