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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Explanation-based learning for diagnosis


Diagnostic expert systems constructed using traditional knowledge-engineering techniques identify malfunctioning components using rules that associate symptoms with diagnoses. Model-based diagnosis (MBD) systems use models of devices to find faults given observations of abnormal behavior. These approaches to diagnosis are complementary. We consider hybrid diagnosis systems that include both associational and model-based diagnostic components. We present results on explanation-based learning (EBL) methods aimed at improving the performance of hybrid diagnostic problem solvers. We describe two architectures called EBL_IA and EBL(p). EBL_IA is a form fo "learning in advance" that pre-compiles models into associations. At run-time the diagnostic system is purely associational. In EBL(p), the run-time diagnosis system contains associational, MBD, and EBL components. Learned associational rules are preferred but when they are incomplete they may produce too many incorrect diagnoses. When errors cause performance to dip below a give threshold p, EBL(p) activates MBD and explanation-based "learning while doing". We present results of empirical studies comparing MBD without learning versus EBL_IA and EBL(p). The main conclusions are as follows. EBL_IA is superior when it is feasible but it is not feasible for large devices. EBL(p) can speed-up MBD and scale-up to larger devices in situations where perfect accuracy is not required.

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