A Framework for Evidential-Reasoning Systems

John D. Lowrance, Thomas D. Garvey, Thomas M. Strat

Evidential reasoning is a body of techniques that supports automated reasoning from evidence. It is based upon the Dempster-Shafer theory of belief functions. Both the formal basis and a framework for the implementation of automated reasoning systems based upon these techniques are presented. The formal and practical approaches are divided into four parts (1) specifying a set of distinct propositional spaces, each of which delimits a set of possible world situations (2) specifying the interrelationships among these propositional spaces (3) representing bodies of evidence as belief distributions over these propositional spaces and (4) establishing paths for the bodies of evidence to move through these propositional spaces by means of evidential operations, eventually converging on spaces where the target questions can be answered.

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