Solving the Frame Problem: A Mathematical Investigation of the Common Sense Law of Inertia

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MIT Press, 1997 - Computers - 407 pages
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"Shanahan gives a clear exposition of the AI problem in general and logical AI in particular. He goes on to a clear exposition of the frame problem and many approaches to its solution. Much of this will become accepted as authoritative."
-- John McCarthy, Professor of Computer Science, Stanford University

"The frame problem is one of the central theoretical issues of artificial intelligence, and considerable progress in the study of this problem has been made over the last years. Shanahan's book provides a clear and comprehensive treatment of this work. It will be appreciated by everyone interested in the logical foundations of artificial intelligence."
-- Vladimir Lifschitz, Gottesman Family Centennial Professor in Computer Sciences, University of Texas at Austin In 1969, John McCarthy and Pat Hayes uncovered a problem that has haunted the field of artificial intelligence ever since--the frame problem. The problem arises when logic is used to describe the effects of actions and events. Put simply, it is the problem of representing what remains unchanged as a result of an action or event. Many researchers in artificial intelligence believe that its solution is vital to the realization of the field's goals.

"Solving the Frame Problem" presents the various approaches to the frame problem that have been proposed over the years. The author presents the material chronologically--as an unfolding story rather than as a body of theory to be learned by rote. There are lessons to be learned even from the dead ends researchers have pursued, for they deepen our understanding of the issues surrounding the frame problem. In the book'sconcluding chapters, the author offers his own work on event calculus, which he claims comes very close to a complete solution to the frame problem.

"Artificial Intelligence series"

  

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Contents

2
27
Towards a NonMonotonic Solution
57
Chronological Minimisation
71
Causal Minimisation
83
Introducing StateBased Minimisation
99
Generalising StateBased Minimisation
111
TailorMade Techniques
135
Narratives in the Situation Calculus
155
Logic Programs for Reasoning about Action
231
Simplifying and Extending the Event Calculus
251
Forced Separation
315
The Assimilation of Observations
331
Is the Frame Problem Solved?
363
Appendix A Proof of Theorem 9 7 5
381
Appendix B Proof of Theorem 14 5 2
389
Proof of Theorem 15 5 3
397

Incomplete Narratives and Concurrent Actions
185
The Foundations of Logic Programming
203

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About the author (1997)

Murray Shanahan is Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Computer Science at Queen Mary and Westfield College, London.

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