Intelligent Help Systems for UNIX

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Stephen J. Hegner, Paul Mc Kevitt, Peter Norvig, Robert L. Wilensky
Springer Science & Business Media, 2000 - Computers - 420 pages
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In this international collection of papers there is a wealth of knowledge on artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive science (CS) techniques applied to the problem of providing help systems mainly for the UNIX operating system. The research described here involves the representation of technical computer concepts, but also the representation of how users conceptualise such concepts. The collection looks at computational models and systems such as UC, Yucca, and OSCON programmed in languages such as Lisp, Prolog, OPS-5, and C which have been developed to provide UNIX help. These systems range from being menu-based to ones with natural language interfaces, some providing active help, intervening when they believe the user to have misconceptions, and some based on empirical studies of what users actually do while using UNIX. Further papers investigate planning and knowledge representation where the focus is on discovering what the user wants to do, and figuring out a way to do it, as well as representing the knowledge needed to do so. There is a significant focus on natural language dialogue where consultation systems can become active, incorporating user modfelling, natural language generation and plan recognition, modelling metaphors, and users' mistaken beliefs. Much can be learned from seeing how AI and CS techniques can be investigated in depth while being applied to a real test-bed domain such as help on UNIX.

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The proceedings of a workshop that we organized in Berkeley. By now, somewhat dated.

Selected pages


Intelligent Help Systems for UNIX
Intelligent Help Systems for UNIX Computational Models and Systems
An Intelligent HumanComputer Interface for Provision of OnLine Help
Virtues and Problems of an Active Help System for UNIX
The Berkeley UNIX Consultant Project
The OSCON Operating System Consultant
An Active Intelligent Assistance System
Intelligent Help Systems for UNIX Planning and Knowledge Representation
An Assumptionbased Truth Maintenance System in Active Aid for UNIX Users
What Do You Know about Mail? Knowledge Representation in the SINIX Consultant
Intelligent Help Systems for UNIX Natural Language Dialogue
Planning Intelligent Responses in a Natural Language System
Strategies for Expressing Concise Helpful Answers
Three Properties of a Good Explanation
Representing UNIX Domain Metaphors
Using Justification Patterns to Advise Novice UNIX Users

The SINIX Consultant Towards a Theoretical Treatment of Plan Recognition
Plan Realization for Complex Command Interaction in the UNIX Help Domain

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About the author (2000)

Stuart Russell" was born in 1962 in Portsmouth, England. He received his B.A. with first-class honours in physics from Oxford University in 1982, and his Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford in 1986. He then joined the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley, where he is a professor of computer science, director of the Center for Intelligent Systems, and holder of the Smith-Zadeh Chair in Engineering. In 1990, he received the Presidential Young Investigator Award of the National Science Foundation, and in 1995 he was cowinner of the Computers and Thought Award. He was a 1996 Miller Professor of the University of California and was appointed to a Chancellor's Professorship in 2000. In 1998, he gave the Forsythe Memorial Lectures at Stanford University. He is a Fellow and former Executive Council member of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence. He has published over 100 papers on a wide range of topics in artificial intelligence. His other books include "The Use of Knowledge in Analogy and Induction" and (with Eric Wefald) "Do the Right Thing: Studies in Limited Rationality."

"Peter Norvig" is director of Search Quality at Google, Inc. He is a Fellow and Executive Council member of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence. Previously, he was head of the Computational Sciences Division at NASA Ames Research Center, where he oversaw NASA's research and development in artificial intelligence and robotics. Before that he served as chief scientist at Junglee, where he helped develop one of the first Internet information extraction services, and as a senior scientist at Sun Microsystems Laboratories working on intelligent information retrieval.He received a B.S. in applied mathematics from Brown University and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California at Berkeley. He has been a professor at the University of Southern California and a research faculty member at Berkeley. He has over 50 publications in computer science including the books "Paradigms of AI Programming: Case Studies in Common Lisp, Verbmobil: A Translation System for Face-to-Face Dialog," and "Intelligent Help Systems for UNIX.

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