Understanding Linkages

Howard E. Shrobe

Mechanical linkages are used to transmit and transform motion. In this paper we investigate what it means for a program to "understand" a linkage. Our system extracts its understanding by analyzing the results of a numerical simulation of the mechanism, finding interesting qualitative features, looking for symbolic relationships between these features and conjecturing a causal relationship between them. Our system is capable of understanding a variety of mechanisms, producing explanations very much like those in standard texts.


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