Hoist: A Second-Generation Expert System Based on Qualitative Physics

J. Douglas Whitehead, John W. Roach

Abstract


This article describes a causal expert system based on hypothetical reasoning and its application to the maintenance of the lower hoist of a Mark 45 turret gun. The system, Hoist, performs fault diagnosis without the use of a repair expert or shallow rules. Its knowledge is coded directly from a structural specification of the Mark 45 lower hoist. The technology reported here for assisting the less experienced diagnostician differs considerably from normal rule-based techniques: It reasons about machine failures from a functional model of the device. In a mechanism like the lower hoist, the functional model must reason about forces, fluid pressures, and mechanical linkages; that is, it must reason about qualitative physics. Hoist technology can be directly applied to any exactly specified device for the modeling and diagnosis of single or multiple faults. Hypothetical reasoning, the process embodied in Hoist, has general utility in qualitative physics and reason maintenance.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1609/aimag.v11i3.845

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