A Structured View of Real-Time Problem Solving

  • Jay K. Strosnider
  • C. J. Paul


Real-time problem solving is not only reasoning about time, it is also reasoning in time. This ability is becoming increasingly critical in systems that monitor and control complex processes in semiautonomous, ill-structured, real-world environments. Many techniques, mostly ad hoc, have been developed in both the real-time community and the AI community for solving problems within time constraints. However, a coherent, holistic picture does not exist. This article is an attempt to step back from the details and examine the entire issue of real-time problem solving from first principles. We examine the degrees of freedom available in structuring the problem space and the search process to reduce problem-solving variations and produce satisficing solutions within the time available. This structured approach aids in understanding and sorting out the relevance and utility of different real-time problem-solving techniques.