Theoretical basis for hierarchical incremental knowledge acquisition
Human experts tend to introduce intermediate terms in giving their explanations. The expert's explanation of such terms is operational for the context that triggered the explanation; however, term de"nitions remain often incomplete. Further, the expert's (re) use of these terms is hierarchical (similar to natural language). In this paper, we argue that a hierarchical incremental knowledge acquisition (KA) process that captures the expert terms and operationalizes them while incompletely de"ned makes the KA task more e!ective. Towards this we present our knowledge representation formalism Nested Ripple Down Rules (NRDR) that is a substantial extension to the (Multiple Classi"cation) Ripple Down Rule (RDR) KA framework. The incremental KA process with NRDR as the underlying knowledge representation has con"rmation holistic features. This allows simultaneous incremental modelling and KA and eases the knowledge base (KB) development process.
Our NRDR formalism preserves the strength of incremental re"nement methods, that is the ease of maintenance of the KB. It also addresses some of their shortcomings: repetition, lack of explicit modelling and readability. KBs developed with NRDR describe an explicit model of the domain. This greatly enhances the reuseability of the acquired knowledge.
This paper also presents a theoretical framework for analysing the structure of RDR in general and NRDR in particular. Using this framework, we analyse the conditions under which RDR converges towards the target KB. We discuss the maintenance problems of NRDR as a function of this convergence. Further, we analyse the conditions under which NRDR o!ers an e!ective approach for domain modelling. We show that the maintenance of NRDR requires similar e!ort to maintaining RDR for most of the KB development cycle. We show that when an NRDR KB shows an increase in maintenance requirement in comparison with RDR during its development, this added requirement can be automatically handled using stored past seen cases.