Causal and Teleological Reasoning in Circuit Recognition
Author(s)Kleer, Johan De
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This thesis presents a theory of human-like reasoning in the general domain of designed physical systems, and in particular, electronic circuits. One aspect of the theory, causal analysis, describes how the behavior of individual components can be combined to explain the behavior of composite systems. Another aspect of the theory, teleological analysis, describes how the notion that the system has a purpose can be used to aid this causal analysis. The theory is implemented as a computer program, which, given a circuit topology, can construct by qualitative causal analysis a mechanism graph describing the functional topology of the system. This functional topology is then parsed by a grammar for common circuit functions. Ambiguities are introduced into the analysis by the approximate qualitative nature of the analysis. For example, there are often several possible mechanisms which might describe the circuit's function. These are disambiguated by teleological analysis. The requirement that each component be assigned an appropriate purpose in the functional topology imposes a severe constraint which eliminates all the ambiguities. Since both analyses are based on heuristics, the chosen mechanism is a rationalization of how the circuit functions, and does not guarantee that the circuit actually does function. This type of coarse understanding of circuits is useful for analysis, design and troubleshooting.