The Ontology of Tasks and Methods

B. Chandrasekaran and J. R. Josephson

Much of the work on ontologies in AI has focused on describing some aspect of reality: objects, relations, states of affairs, events, and processes in the world. A goal is to make knowledge sharable, by encoding domain knowledge using a standard vocabulary based on the ontology. A parallel attempt at identifying the ontology of problem-solving knowledge would make it possible .to share problem-solving methods. For example, when one is dealing with a type of problem known as abductive inference, the following are some of the terms that recur in the representation of problem-solving methods: hypotheses, explanatory coverage, evidence, degree of confidence, plausibility, composite hypothesis, etc. Method ontology, in good part, is task- and method-specific. "Generic Tasks," "Heuristic Classification," "Task-specific Architectures," and "Task Structures" are representative bodies of work in the knowledgesystems area that have focused on problem-solving methods. However, connections have not been made to work that is explicitly concerned with ontologies. Making such connections is the goal of this paper.

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