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Qualitative Reasoning

Keywords: envisioning

Categories: Inference and Reasoning


Author(s): Alison Cawsey, Kevin Poulter

Qualitative reasoning involves techniques for reasoning with qualitative, rather than numerical values over time. The simplest systems just use the values `negative', `zero' and `positive' and, given a set of qualitative relations, predict all possible qualitative behaviours. It should be contrasted with Naive Physics, which seeks to model human reasoning about the physical world. More complicated systems, like those using envisioning, predict the qualitative behaviour of devices, and provide a theory of causality that can be used to produce causal explanations acceptable to humans. Qualitative reasoning applies to many areas where exact numerical reasoning is inappropriate or impossible. These include the diagnosis, control, design and explanation of physical or biological systems.


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