Reasoning Modeled as a Society of Communicating Experts
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This report describes a domain independent reasoning system. The system uses a frame-based knowledge representation language and various reasoning techniques including constraint propagation, progressive refinement, natural deduction and explicit control of reasoning. A computational architecture based on active objects which operate by exchanging messages is developed and it is shown how this architecture supports reasoning activity. The user interacts with the system by specifying frames and by giving descriptions defining the problem situation. The system uses its reasoning capacity to build up a model of the problem situation from which a solution can interactively be extracted. Examples are discussed from a variety of domains, including electronic circuits, mechanical devices and music. The main thesis is that a reasoning system is best viewed as a parallel system whose control and data are distributed over a large network of processors that interact by exchanging messages. Such a system will be metaphorically described as a society of communicating experts.