Artificial Intelligence Techniques and Methodology
Two closely related aspects of artificial intelligence that have received comparatively little attention in the recent literature are research methodology, and the analysis of computational techniques that span multiple application areas. We believe both issues to be increasingly significant as Artificial Intelligence matures into a science and spins off major application efforts. It is imperative to analyze the repertoire of AI methods with respect to past experience, utility in new domains, extensibility, and functional equivalence with other techniques, if AI is to become more effective in building upon prior results rather than continually reinventing the proverbial wheel. Similarly, awareness of research methodology issues can help plan future research buy learning from past successes and failures. We view the study of research methodology to be similar to the analysis of operational AI techniques, but at a meta-level ; that is, research methodology analyzes the techniques and methods used by the researchers themselves, rather than their programs, to resolve issues of selecting interesting and tractable problems to investigate, and of deciding how to proceed with their investigations. A public articulation of methodological issues that typically remain implicit in the literature may provide some helpful orientation for new researchers and broaden the perspective of many AI practitioners.
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